One would be hard pressed to find anyone remotely into alternative music that has not had an interlude with the ever-expanding oeuvre of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. With the band having had a turbulent history, each of the constituents contributed to what eventually became whole that is much bigger than its individual parts.
One of the consistent motors and characters of the band is the man going under the moniker “Flea”, i.e. Michael Peter Balzary. While his idiosyncratic channelling of funk, hard rock, psychedelic, punk and everything in between has earned him the undisputed status of being one of the most valuable bass players in rock, there is much more to his person than his rock star persona.
Being known for wearing his heart on his sleeve, it should not come as a surprise that his memoir is a tour de force of compelling stories, the nuances of which are enriched by an omnipresent openness and vulnerability, especially when is comes to his memories of early childhood and the travails that eventually lead him to appreciate be-bop, drugs and the punk scene of Los Angeles, where he meets Anthony Kiedis in high school.
The book sheds light on the relationship between Flea and Kiedis, who from the age of fourteen forward, bonded and shared formative experiences and eventually leads to the formation of the Red Hot Chili Peppers – an event the book culminates in.
What I like about Acid for the Children is that it is devoid of rock’n roll stories from the heyday of RHCP but instead focusses the narrative on the human and soul behind the wild, virtuosic and prodigious bassist persona – a narrative reminiscent of the ebbs and flows of the Beat movement that is told in his own free-floating words, which put self-exposure and his vulnerability to the fore.
Learning how Flea became Flea through the chaos of parental neglect, self-destructive excess and other obstacles thrown his way, is a poetic experience and far from your standard rock memoir - Au contraire: Channelled through his lens, Flea’s psychedelic soul-searching quests, view of the world and appreciation of music at large is inspiring and adds dimensions to a man whose words make one feel connected.
7.5 / 10
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