Reviewed by Shannon Wise
Even if you aren't a fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it's likely you know Flea. He's the energetic bassist who's almost always shirtless and always jumping around on stage. The Chili Peppers' off-stage antics and issue with addiction are almost as legendary as their fame. In Acid for the Children, Flea, nee Michael Balzary, tells the story of his early years - from his birth in Australia to a customs official father and stay-at-home mother, to his wild young days in Los Angeles. The memoir covers the very beginning of the Chili Peppers, but stops before fame sets in.
I'm not sure what I expected from this book. I knew that it was going to be different structurally, because, well ... Flea. But I didn't know what to expect. The story isn't your typical linear, chronological memoir. Flea's book is filled with anecdotes that encapsulate his very 60-70s upbringing. When he was about 8, his parents moved to the U.S. as his dad was posted in New York City. His mother embraced the free-style, hippie lifestyle, divorced his dad and stayed in the U.S., living with a sometimes jazz musician and living in the basement of his parents' house until they moved to LA.
Here are some things I learned about Flea from this book:
1. He first learned to play trumpet and eschewed rock music until high school.
2. He loves basketball.
3. He once gave a good friend a birthday gift consisting of his own poo.
4. He is a very emotional person and spent most of his adolescence expressing it in inappropriate ways.
5. He is a voracious reader.
I think the thing I like best about this book is the list of movies, books, and music that greatly influenced his life. I love books that have lists of books. His reading list is surprising and expected at the same time.
If you are interested in the Chili Peppers or rock memoirs, this book isn't too bad. I did struggle through the middle third and it seemed a bit long, but overall, I did enjoy it. I'm waiting for part 2 to see how he handles fame and money and the rockstar lifestyle. I give this book four out of five poo birthday gifts.