Photo Taken From Ashley Mar
I am a sucker for memoirs; I am also a sucker for rock music. I also am possibly one of the biggest fans of the bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers: Flea.
When Flea announced almost a year ago that he would be publishing a personal memoir of his life, I was ecstatic. One of my biggest heroes, opening up his ideas and mind for all to see. This meant everything I admired of him could be fair game… depending on how he wrote it, I could get a more personal glimpse into his life and how he sees the world. The thought of it all made my heart happy.
November came around, and so did its promise of turkey, the holiday season and—taking primary importance before the latter mentioned—the release of “Acid for the Children”;I had a great deal of things to look forward to. Though I would eventually receive and read the book during winter break, the Thanksgiving dinner and turkey did fulfill that promise for the time being.
The foreword for the book is written by Patti Smith, a friend of Flea’s and fellow musician, who wrote her own personal memoir 9 years before that of Flea’s. Titled “Innocence” the words written by Smith give a beautiful preview of the memoir. Smith writes of “Flea the child, the devouring adolescent” and the “frenzy of gratitude” that Flea exhibits. It shouldn’t be surprising that Smith is known for her artsy poetry and divine language composition.
“Acid for the Children” is written in a sweet, silly matter that few books could be capable of being written in. With a series of exclamation points and foreign characters, sporadic capitalizations of several words and a chapter dedicated to the brilliance of the Sony Walkman (mind you, one that is only one-paragraph long), readers should be forewarned that “Acid For The Children” is not a perfectly written book with rule-abiding language. These perfections are not what readers came for.
Readers came to discover how Flea became involved with the “Red Hot Chili Peppers” and how the stars aligned for the prominent bassist. That specific part doesn’t come into play until the later-half of the book.
“Acid for the Children” is a love letter to Flea’s childhood, reflecting upon the transition of changes throughout his time as a child. From being born in Australia to being raised in New York and toughened by the streets of Los Angeles, Flea details the many people he has met, connected with, and *almost* fought with, over the years.
With hindsight to everything, it’s easy to spot the influential moments for Flea while reading: moments like being introduced to the funk of jazz, the chaos of punk and the liberty of songwriting and fashion were all scenes written within the pages of “Acid for the Children” and could have possibly been crucial moments for the bassits’ life in retrospect.
When Flea finally meets Anthony Kiedis (his bandmate and life-long best friend) at around age 14 and page 161 out of the 379 page book, the rest is history. The two—including Chad Smith and the revolving guitarists in the band—would go on to produce legendary music and travel the world spreading their funkiness.
“Acid for the Children” should certainly be ranked high on reading lists for 2020 and for the years to come. Though many of us may not grow up to be rock stars and astounding bassists for Grammy-award winning bands, there are many messages and subject-matters to take from within the memoir. Each message taken depends on the person reading the book.
And please, take off the grammar glasses while reading and enjoy the romanticity of Flea’s virtuosic writing style!
You can find the book here.