Flea, the iconic bassist and co-founder, alongside Anthony Kiedis, of the immortal Red Hot Chili Peppers finally tells his fascinating origin story, complete with all the dizzying highs and the gutter lows you'd expect from an LA street rat turned world-famous rock star.
Michael Peter Balzary was born in Melbourne, Australia, on October 16, 1962. His more famous stage name, Flea, and his wild ride as the renowned bass player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers was in a far and distant future. Little Michael from Oz moved with his very conservative, very normal family to Westchester, New York, where life as he knew it was soon turned upside down. His parents split up and he and his sister moved into the home of his mother's free-wheeling, jazz musician boyfriend - trading in rules, stability, and barbecues for bohemian values, wildness, and Sunday afternoon jazz parties where booze, weed, and music flowed in equal measure. There began Michael's life-long journey to channel all the frustration, loneliness, love, and joy he felt into incredible rhythm.
When Michael's family moved to Los Angeles in 1972, his home situation was rockier than ever. He sought out a sense of belonging elsewhere, spending most of his days partying, playing basketball, and committing petty crimes. At Fairfax High School, he met another social outcast, Anthony Kiedis, who quickly became his soul brother, the yin to his yang, his partner in mischief. Michael joined some bands, fell in love with performing, and honed his skills. But it wasn't until the night when Anthony, excited after catching a Grandmaster Flash concert, suggested they start their own band that he is handed the magic key to the cosmic kingdom.
Acid for the Children is as raw, entertaining and wildly unpredictable as its author. It's both a tenderly evocative coming of age story and a raucous love letter to the power of music and creativity
[Flea creates] a rhythm for his prose as curt and distinct as his bass playing. - The Guardian
Acid for the Children is not an as-told-to, nor is it written "with" someone. These are Flea's words-excitable, jazzy, regretful, disarming, popping and writhing away in his biological bass zone. Insecurities to the fore: He worries that he may be producing "a thorny jumble of trash." But he's actually a lovely writer, with a particular gift for the free-floating and reverberant. He writes in Beat Generation bursts and epiphanies, lifting toward the kind of virtuosic vulnerability and self-exposure associated with the great jazz players....Flea-elegant nutcase, funk-at-high-pressure bassist, wildly cultured and culturedly wild man-has written a fine memoir. You'll put down Acid for the Children with your human sympathies expanded; you'll feel less alone. - The Atlantic
Acid For the Children's closest analog is, somewhat surprisingly, Patti Smith's Just Kids...The prose frequently mimics [Flea's] playing: occasionally beautiful, occasionally outrageous, in conversation with a small group of predecessors but unwilling to follow anyone else's rules. This is what gives Acid for the Children its considerable charm... - AV Club
[An] electric, surprisingly moving memoir...Flea is an enlightened narrator, and this passionate, smart memoir will resonate with readers whether they're fans of the band or not. - Publisher's Weekly
A wild ride through the coming-of-age wilderness of the famed rock bassist...Relentlessly honest, untamed, and often revelatory. - Kirkus
He's the iconic bassist and co-founder of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The one you couldn't take your eyes off, despite Anthony Kiedis' enormous stage presence. Flea finally reveals his fascinating story, complete with everything you'd expect - the "highs" and the gutter lows from an "LA street rat turned world-famous rock star". A must for all music fans everywhere. - Creative Boom
Its hard not to warm to his openhearted embrace of jazz, funk and his eventual bromance with bandmates. - Best Music Books of the Year, Daily Telegraph
A frenzied, beat-ish telling of his pre-RCHP existence - Strong Words