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Acid for the Children

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The strange tale of a boy named Flea starts in Rye, NY. It was all very normal. But soon his parents divorced and his mother Patricia remarried a jazz musician. Flea's stepfather frequently invited musicians to his house for jam sessions which sparked Flea's interest in music. The family moved to Los Angeles, where Flea became fascinated with the trumpet, idolising musicians like Miles, Dizzy, and Louis.

But the family soon fell apart. 'I was raised in a very violent, alcoholic household,' Flea later said. 'I grew up being terrified of my parents, particularly my father figures. It caused [me] a lot of trouble later in life.' He began smoking weed at 13 and became a daily user of harder drugs. He was on the streets by 14 and soon after, met another social outcast and drug user named Anthony Kiedis. They formed a band that would become the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Acid for the Children is pure, uncut Flea, with nothing left unsaid.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2017 Michael Balzary (P)2017 Hachette Audio

390 pages, Paperback

First published November 5, 2019

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About the author


18 books342 followers
Michael Peter Balzary, better known by his stage name Flea, is an Australian-born American musician and occasional actor. He is best known as the bassist, co-founding member, and one of the composers of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers with whom he was inducted in 2012 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,746 reviews
Profile Image for britt_brooke.
1,247 reviews93 followers
November 14, 2019
Flea refers to this as his origin story. It begins with his parents and ends just before RHCP. Unsurprisingly, he’s a gifted story teller. And this is a must on audio! His narration is fantastic and quirky. Flea is way more than a genital sock donning bass player, he’s a massive reader, devout Vonnegut fan, and a quality human. I wish to be his friend. I sincerely hope he writes a follow up.

Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,056 reviews30k followers
November 24, 2019
I am a Chili Peppers fan, and Flea has always been an intriguing person, so when I learned he was writing an autobiography, I definitely wanted to read it! Flea’s life begins differently than you would expect: calm and typical, until his parents split. It’s then that his mom’s new boyfriend exposes him to music, musicians, and a bohemian lifestyle, which inspires him to get into music, too. Acid for the Children is a wild ride. There’s coming-of-age, insight, and entertainment from beginning to end.

Thank you to the publisher for the free copy.

Many of my reviews can also be found on instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for The Nerd Daily.
720 reviews342 followers
October 23, 2019
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Beth Mowbray

Michael Balzary. You probably know him as Flea, bassist and co-founder of the iconic band Red Hot Chili Peppers. Observing him in the public eye, playing intensely energetic rock shows for over three and a half decades, one may think Flea is just your typical “rock star” – an over-the-top persona. However, after reading his memoir, it is clear this would be a monumental misrepresentation and oversimplification of a quite complex human soul.

In Acid for the Children, Flea shares, in great detail, the first 20 years or so of his life, from his childhood all the way up to the inception of the band that would forever change his world (and that of rock music). As readers may expect, this memoir has no shortage of wild and crazy tales. From family and friends to music and drugs, this book covers it all. (Even the influence of literature on Flea’s life from a very young age! Did you know that he is an avid bookworm, influenced by the likes of Vonnegut and Bukowski?!) The short chapters, filled with little vignettes – specific scenes he recalls from his past – keep the book moving forward at a good pace, providing the life highlights of a man who surely has many more tales to tell and adventures left to experience.

Readers are, however, likely to be surprised by the deeply touching nature of the narrative. Flea moves on from simply telling these stories to create a much richer context by embedding them in the surrounding emotions, the impact of the events, and even sharing insights that are only visible now looking back into his past. He examines how his childhood experiences have caused him to struggle with finding a sense of self and loving others, explores how using drugs opened him up to a new spiritual world (at least initially) and helped him feel free to express himself.

Reading this book is akin to having a conversation with the man himself: candid and stripped down, like hearing Flea speak his own story aloud, just as a memoir should be. There is a lyrical lilt to Flea’s prose. His voice is clear and authentic, without a tinge of pretension. His enthusiasm for life, the way that he has always been unapologetically himself, is evident through his writing. Despite being a self-defined “outsider,” his purity of heart shines through, as he is clearly an individual full of kindness and empathy who seeks interconnectedness with those around him and with the universe on a larger scale. Perhaps most importantly, this memoir is utterly thought-provoking. It challenges assumptions. It reflects on the past, shining a light on how decisions have a ripple effect throughout our days. And it meditates on the beauty inherent in both life and those who walk through it with us.

I highly recommend picking it up! You are certain to walk away from the reading experience feeling as if you actually know Flea himself.
Profile Image for Kristina.
12 reviews2 followers
December 2, 2019
This book is yikes city. Flea waxes poetically about all kinds of vibing with the sound, connecting with the Earth etc since he was a kid, but in a very ‘first grader who is enlightened’ vocabulary. Isnt this man sixtyish by now? Some of the book I’ve found to be endearing, but most of it is unfortunately pure gibberish - and I say this as someone who loves him and the RHCP.
He is an inconsistent writer, finishing chapters and stories in weird sudden halts, meanwhile somehow managing to remember every name of every person he has ever met.
Also according to this book and how its written: Flea never met a gay man without explaining it with ‘I met this gay man’. He apparently also never saw/met a person of color who wasnt described as such before even their name was said, or at latest in the next sentence if he was trying to be mysterious (their brown cinnamon eyes/face).
Also the book ends when hes still in his twenties. A miscalculation on my part for sure for thinking Id enjoy this book much more than I did, but also maybe we didnt need every waking second od his life around ages 4-9 explained.
September 15, 2022
Flea has always been such an interesting character to me. I was super excited to read this memoir. The story itself is hard on the heart at times, his life wasn't always amazing. I sometimes felt like I had to remind myself to focus on reading. The style of writing is different, but and Flea fan will enjoy it for sure!
Profile Image for Derek Hoeksema.
38 reviews1 follower
December 4, 2019
It felt like he was holding me down and forcing me to listen to something that he thought was profound.
Profile Image for Melanie.
264 reviews131 followers
May 9, 2022
For the most part I enjoyed Flea's memoir. If you're looking for the story of the RHCP, you won't find it here. This is about his life pre RHCP. It's nice to read about a man who had a tough childhood and then goes on to become extremely successful using his own natural talent, eventually becoming a happy man.

I did feel the book was a bit disjointed at times. I had a bit of trouble following the timeline, or maybe there really wasn't a timeline? At times I felt some of his descriptions were over the top. I don't need several words to describe something, like reading a thesaurus.

One thing I did like is that he didn't try to gloss over his drug use or the crimes he committed as a kid/teen. He tells it like it was and then tells you he knew he was an asshole to commit the crimes. He also explains the drugs were fun at the time but in the long run kids and/teens shouldn't do them.

I listened to the audio which is narrated by Flea, which was nice, listening to him tell me his story.
Profile Image for Petergiaquinta.
481 reviews101 followers
June 17, 2021
Long after I’m dead, someone will erect a statue of Flea in West Hollywood. He’ll be slapping that bass in mid-flight, wild-eyed, legs spread, his pants half-way down his ass, and with such a look of joy on his face that it will become a place of pilgrimage for young and old alike.

Even those benighted folks who have never even heard of the Red Hot Chili Peppers will visit this shrine to be inspired and blessed by the radiant transcendence that is Flea. Devotees will climb up to touch the Hendrix tattoo; selfies will be snapped abundantly; tokens of love and remembrance will be left at the statue’s base, and some of the more faithful will visit wearing only a single sock.

Think I’m wrong about that? Well, maybe.

But wait and see, because Flea is truly a remarkable human being filled with such energy, joy and compassion, and those three qualities radiate through every page of his childhood memoir, Acid for the Children. Flea views the world through a lens that makes me ashamed of my own cynical viewpoint. Here, he describes his childhood years in a series of short, fairly chronological reminiscences up to the point where the band that becomes the Chili Peppers is coming together. And each one of these short pieces is informed by a loving goodness that just leaks right through the language, even when he is writing about some pretty bleak topics—his junkie step-father who could fly into bewilderingly violent rages, the drugs and neglect and abuse he was surrounded by as a kid in Hollywood, an encounter with a prostitute on his high school graduation night, his teenage stint with the LA punk band Fear—whatever he is writing about, Flea fills it with a sense of love and wonder that radiates through the entire book.

The last “music” book I read was long ago, the Doors tribute No One Gets Out of Here Alive, and as much as I am surrounded by music, I’m not really interested in reading about it, especially overblown rock and roll biographies. That’s not what this book is, not at all. This is a book about childhood, the wonder and the fear found there. It’s a book about the pleasures of reading, the loneliness of being different, the terrors that go along with discovering what the world is about. It’s almost Wordsworthian in places, although Flea had no Lake District to inform his young mind. Some readers have said that Flea’s writing style is highly influenced by the jazz music he grew up listening to and playing, and I think they are right. There is something improvisational and flowing about the way he writes, and when you read about how he was influenced by his step-father’s bebop, it will make sense. But I also felt there was something reminiscent of Richard Brautigan in Flea’s writing, too. Underneath it all, something reminded me of the simple joyful writing of Troutfishing in America.

At the end of Acid for the Children, Flea leaves us with several lists of books, movies, and music that are significant to him, including “Concerts that Changed My Life.” Here’s mine...

Concerts that Changed My Life

Red Hot Chili Peppers—Metro—Chicago 10/26/1985
15 reviews
November 7, 2019
What Is It: Considering he's been naked on magazine covers and played concerts while wearing nothing but a sock on his junk, exposure is not something Flea fears. However, his new memoir Acid for the Children is less about the Red Hot Chili Pepper's bassist getting physically naked (although he does that a few times in the book) and more about him getting emotionally naked. Michael Peter Balzary was born in Australia to a strict father and a bohemian mother. When he was four, his parents divorced and he moved with his mother and older sister Karyn ("me with a wig") to New York City. There they lived with a jazz artist named Walter who will introduce Michael to the power of music. It will change his life forever. When he sees Walter playing for the first time at a party he proclaims, "If Moses had parted the seas right in front of me, or my dog started speaking the Queen's English, it would not have been this miraculous." It is when the family moves again to LA that Michael "started living the life of a street kid" and serendipitously meets Anthony Kiedis in driver's ed. The book ends before the Chili Peppers become famous, because this book isn't about the life of a rock star. Acid for the Children is about how books, divorce, karate, anger, drugs, love, basketball and most of all music, turned a boy named Michael into a rock star named Flea.

Why Is It Good: I'll admit that when I first heard Flea was releasing a memoir, I doubted his writing abilities. It was difficult to believe that the guy who once wore a dick-sock was capable of genuine self-reflection. I was wrong. Flea's prose has a shaggy, earnest charm to it. It reads the way music sounds, with sentences that shimmer and shimmy to their own unique beat. The book moves chronologically and vividly portrays settings and characters, but is less concerned with what happened in a moment, than how that moment felt. "The facts and figures aren't important to me, the colors and shapes that make up my world are; they are who I am, right or wrong." Flea frequently uses those colors and shapes to reveal fascinating insights into his own life. He feels comfortable pushing boundaries since, "No explicit art ever hurt me." He realizes that watching Walter's dysfunction helped to fuel his own since he, "equated creativity with insanity." He even confesses his own doubt in his writing abilities. "I may well be an eleven-fingered oaf slobbering over a typewriter, pounding out a thorny jumble of trash, an uneducated animal who runs on instinct and feeling. But this is my voice." It turns out that Flea's voice is as brilliant as his bass playing.

How Can It Help: "Bein famous don't mean shit." This may as well be the book's mission statement. Once again, the book doesn't cover any of his fame and fortune years. Flea is wise and experienced enough to know that no amount of either can fix a broken boy. He's wise enough to know that people contain multitudes ("I'm a wimp who cries too, so be it."). He's wise enough to know that, "Pain was something to be grateful for, not to be pursued, but inordinately valuable." He's honest enough to admit that selfishness prevented him from helping Chili Pepper guitarist Hillel Slovak, who died of a heroin overdose ("Long as I live, I will know I failed."). He's wise enough to know that he's "still evolving" and that, "Everything that is not love is cowardice." He's wise enough to be grateful for having published a book ("Thanks for reading my childhood."). Most of all though, he's generous enough to take all the solace he found in music and pay it forward to the next generation. "To all you kids out there hurting like I hurt, I'm gonna be with you there in the magic place." Whether you're hurting or not, the pages of Acid for the Children truly are a magical place.
Profile Image for Nick Craske.
119 reviews176 followers
December 15, 2019
As open, honest and expressive as his musicianship, Flea evokes the euphoric chaos of discovering music; exploring drugs and growing up fast in LA. Psychedelic, Punk'n'funkadelic. Flea channels Vonnegut and Bukowski, Byron and Eliot in his writing and writes about his youth up to the moment he steps on stage and first plays with Anthony Kiedis.
Profile Image for Jamie.
Author 26 books3,038 followers
April 25, 2021
Picture Flea, the bass player for the Red Hots.

Read the title "Acid for the Children".

What are you expecting?

I dunno, something a little more salacious than his life growing up as a young jazz musician?

I love the band, love the music, know that Flea--in addition to being a mind-blowing bass player--is also an accomplished jazz trumpetist. I was just expecting, hoping, wishing, for more about the Red Hot Chili Peppers and unfortunately this book stops just as the band is forming. A band known for incredible live shows, punk rock irreverence, and, let's be honest, some serious and tragic drug use.

Reading this book was like going to a hockey game between two lifelong rivals and there's no fight. Not only is there no fight, but the players sit down mid-ice and share tea.

It's pleasant, but not what you were expecting.
Profile Image for Marla.
187 reviews
February 22, 2020
I reluctantly, and very sadly put this book down about 2/3 the way through....

PROS: he breaks the mold in a lot of ways of what you would think a bass playing rocker would be like. I loved his writing. He is incredibly smart, sensitive and well read. I loved that he wrote with all his heart and it comes through. I loved his story and his complete honestly and amazing self awareness that few have. He’s never bitter although he could be. His longing for family and connection was so obvious it made me want to cry for the lost little boy on the streets of Hollywood and makes me take my role as a mother and protector of our family’s connections very seriously. It also made me more compassionate of little boys on the playground I may think are a “bad I influence”. Really, I kind of love him.

CONS: ultimately I’m a prude and could not take the F-words. There weren’t a lot in the beginning of the book but by the time you’re at his drugged out antics in high school the f-bombs kept coming. It affects me. And I cringed a lot at the way he explains his developing sexuality - ultimately I just didn’t want to read about it. It made me really sad to put it down because I was loving it but I know the end of the story.... he becomes the famous bass player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers - a band I loved in my youth so I felt like I could say goodbye to the book.

The take away? The way you treat people makes a difference. People need love, they need connection, they need belonging and if it doesn’t come in a family unit they will spend their whole life masking pain and looking for it elsewhere. I find that so heartbreaking.
Profile Image for Bon Tom.
846 reviews56 followers
March 20, 2020
Simply the best rocker biography I've ever read.
The right way to ingest this is audio form, read by man himself.
Reading in any other form, you're cutting yourself short.
His warm, involved, emotional voice carries as much information as words themselves.

Yes, he jumps a little around, chronologically, just as he does physically on stage, but I
guess it's just the way he is. He seems to be spur of the moment type of guy and it just comes with the territory.

The bio is brutally honest, down to the point and poetic at the same time. The man is almost as skilled with word as he is with rhythm.

And I find it stunning how much I could identify with the guy. We seem to have pretty much similar psychological setup, and I've even done some of the same shit in my youth. Not that it resulted in any kind of stardom or sublime mastery, like in his case.

Anyway, respect to the guy for all the apologies he made to people he wronged, unintentionally or otherwise. The way he lived is something of a template for as perfect life as we, imperfect human beings, are capable of: No matter the shit you've done, sooner or later you should come to your senses and make something out of it.

This is book for keeps and reading multiple times.
68 reviews22 followers
November 2, 2019
[I got an ARC via a goodreads giveaway]
This definitely was not what I was expecting from a rock ’n’ roll hall of famer. It is an unusually self-aware, non-self serving autobiography. Instead of regaling you with romanticized stories of sex, drugs, and alcohol Flea lets you into his mind as he dealt with his very dysfunctional family (severe emotional neglect among other issues) from when he ran the streets as a child to using hard drugs to show what really happens in the head of many musicians. The book is made up of short chapters (3-4 pages each), that are well written but emotionally heavy. The book ends just as the RHCP begins; so don’t expect stories from those days.
Profile Image for Michele Gardiner.
Author 2 books58 followers
November 8, 2019
I whipped right through this. Michael Balzary (Flea) is a former client in my audio business, so I knew he had a love of esoteric jazz, and that he is a deep, thoughtful man.

Here are some of my thoughts about his book:

1) Flea's chapters are short and to the point. It's a format I enjoy. Don't tell me ever freaking boring thing. What mattered? What's compelling?

2) Interesting, we both had major life-changing experiences in the late '60s. He refers to his suburban days as "normal life," as I did in my book "Craving Normal."

3) I also relate to his constant search to find his place, as the new and odd kid among the cliques: skaters/stoners/cholas/jocks.

And about his thoughts on the era we were kids and teens during (hippie movement to punk/pre AIDS to post AIDS), I have similar thoughts.

I relate to so much.

But the more I read about his youthful dynamic with Anthony Kiedis, the more I recall my own Flea/Anthony experience I wrote about in my book, a story called, "Peppers for Breakfast."

When Flea was a client in my audio business, he used to call our house, long before I knew (or connected) any of the above. Damn, the things I would love to ask him now.

He's a man of many interests. Now I understand why. I appreciate, too, his ability to appreciate even his bad experiences for making him who he is.

P.S. His childhood love of jazz and learning music is likely one reason he began his Silverlake Conservatory of Music, where my daughter took guitar lessons. Flea raises funds so children of all incomes can attend.

Profile Image for Beth Mowbray.
293 reviews19 followers
October 16, 2019
I have to admit, I knew very little about Flea - bassist for the iconic band Red Hot Chili Peppers - before reading this book. Of course I grew up listening to their music. I remember skating around outside, free as a bird, to the tune of “Aeroplane.” Driving around in my first car with the Californication album blaring. And perhaps a performance or two with the guys wearing some strategically placed socks. 😝 But I knew nothing about his life story.

In Acid for the Children Flea shares, in great detail, the first 20 years or so of his life. As you may expect, there is no shortage of wild and crazy tales. From family and friends to music and drugs, this memoir covers it all. (Even the influence of books on Flea’s life from a very young age!) The reader is, however, likely to be surprised by the deeply touching nature of Flea’s narrative. I imagine that reading this book is akin to having a conversation with the man himself: candid and stripped down, like hearing Flea speak his own story aloud, just as a memoir should be.

There is a lyrical lilt to Flea’s prose, his voice clear and authentic. I was moved by his enthusiasm for life, the way that he has always been unapologetically himself. And perhaps most surprisingly, this memoir challenged my assumptions, making me think in unexpected ways and reminding me of the beauty inherent in life and those who walk through it with us.

Many thanks to Grand Central Publishing for this giveaway win! You can find Acid for the Children in a bookstore near you on November 5th!
Profile Image for Patricija || book.duo.
490 reviews348 followers
May 22, 2021

Knyga, puikiai tinkanti tiek tiems, kurie jau supratę Flea reikšmę muzikos istorijoje, tiek tiems, kurie tik žino jį kaip „tą su tarpu tarp dantų iš RHCP“. Abiems bus ką atrasti. Ir gal antriesiems net padarys didesnį įspūdį. Tiesa, daug čia to visiškai tipiško seksas-narkotikai-rekenrolas reikalo, tai jei erzina tokie dalykai, šitą tikriausiai reikėtų aplenkt didoku ratu. Bet ei, Flea jau su pavadinimu ir viršeliu jus įspėjo, tai jei apie knygą spręsit pagal jį – labai nesuklysit. Bet ne tik rokenrolas čia: ir ekologija, ir meditacija, ir džiaugsmas, ir literatūra, ir svarbiausia: labai, LABAI daug meilės gyvenimui ir žmonėms jame. Esu skaičiusi apie daug rokerių, o ir šiaip daug meno žmonių, bet joks kitas nepasirodė toks šviesus, pilnas meilės ir skaudulius siejantis tik su savo paties blogais sprendimais.

Ne kartą skaitydama pagalvojau, kad knyga turėtų patikti tiems, kas džiūgavo perskaitę Patti Smith autobiografiją – šioji panaši. Tiesa, Flea neturi tokio nuoseklumo, o ir jo paties susikuriamos taisyklės vietomis kelia šypseną: Flea taip įtikinamai pasakoja apie vaikystę, kad beveik pamiršti, jog kalbiesi ne su vaiku. Vietomis tekstas prailgsta, o ir neatrodo, kad autorius baisiai stengiasi skaitytoją įtraukti, nes visa knyga – atsiminimų rinktinė, vietomis priartėjanti prie „smagu tik jei ten pats dalyvavai“ emocijos. Vis dėlto, daug malonių atradimų muzikos gerbėjams (ne šiaip paklausantiems, bet tikrai ja kvėpuojantiems). Muzikos bendrai, ne RHCP. Pastariesiems gali tekti nusivilti, bet laukit antrosios knygos – šioji pasibaigia kaip tik prieš legendinės grupės susikūrimą. Ir šiaip, retas kuris moka apie tamsius laikus pasakoti taip šviesiai, kaip kad Flea.

Jeigu skaitant apie Patti gyvenimą truputį gruzas ir truputį pyktis, tai čia daug juoko, „haha, pimpaliukas“ bajerių, daug atsiprašymų – savęs paties, gamtos, šeimos, draugų, buvusių mylimųjų. Flea stebina tokiu atvirumu, kad net širdį spaudžia. Bet atvirumas tuo pat metu toks naiviai šviesus, kad sunku patikėti, jog knygą rašančiam žmogui ant nosies šešiasdešimtmetis. Knyga, kurią drąsiai galima skaityti ne nuosekliai kasdien, o vis pasiimant ir padedant į šoną. Mano skoniui vietomis per daug padrika, per daug nuklystanti į nereikšmingas smulkmenas. Bet tuo pat metu suteikusi labai daug džiaugsmo ir ramybės, net ir žiaurumo, skausmo ir baimės akivaizdoje. Rekomenduoti drįsčiau gal nebent tokiems užkietėjusiems muzikos mylėtojams kaip aš, bet jums rekomendacijų gi ir nereikia – patys apie ją jau girdėjot ir paskaitysit, jei susidomėsit. Kitiems turbūt lentynoje nebūtina.
Profile Image for Biljana.
305 reviews71 followers
December 7, 2019
Svi koji me poznaju znaju koliko volim Red Hot Chili Peppers, njihovu muziku, istoriju i cjelokupnu auru koja okružuje ovaj bend koji je na sceni skoro četiri decenije.

Zbog toga je prikaz knjige Acid for the Children jedan od najtežih, ali i najdražih. Jer, kako ostati objektivan kada je knjigu napisao čovjek koji je 1983. sa Anthony Kiedisem oformio RHCP, čija muzika me, bez pretjerivanja mogu reći, u određenom smislu oblikovala kao ličnost i bila tu kada nikog drugog nije bilo. Ali, hajde da pokušam.

''Tears are not sad or happy thing, they mean you care. I'm wimp who cries too, so be it.''

Michael Balzary Flea rođen je u Australiji u kojoj je proveo prvih sedam godina života, nakon čega se sa porodicom seli u Njujork. Odrastajući u velikom gradu, sa roditeljima koji su se par godina nakon dolaska u Ameriku razveli, uvijek bez istinske ljubavi i pažnje koja je djetetu njegovih godina bila potrebna, Flea pokušava da shvati dinamiku međuljudskih odnosa, roditeljskih, vršnjačkih, dinamiku bivstvovanja u nemilosrdnom svijetu.

Kada se sa majkom i očuhom Walterom preseli u Los Angeles, Flea i ovaj grad prepun smoga, palmi i toplote pronalaze zajednički jezik, i on mu se prepušta lutajući njegovim ulicama, upoznavajući nove, čudne i oštećene ljude, prepuštajući se eksperimentisanju sa supstancama koje su mu ili otvarale um ka cijelom svemiru, ili ga zakucavale za pod donoseći samo prazninu, i učeći da svira bas, koji će mu postati krila i prolaz u dubinu sopstvene du��e.

A onda, jednog dana, 1976. godine, u hodniku srednje škole upoznaje svog budućeg najboljeg prijatelja, svoju suštu suprotnost, svog spasioca, člana porodice kojeg mu je svemir dodijelio - Anthony Kiedisa.

''The universe gives us the ones we need. And the ones we deserve.''

Brojna poglavlja govore o njihovim svakodnevnim avanturama, dinamičnom odnosu u kojem su često riječima i djelima povrijeđivali jedan drugog, ali odnosu koji je oduvijek bio predodređen, koji je sam univerzum udesio, kako bi jednog mršavog, nesigurnog dječaka vinuli u neslućene visine, i pokazali mu kako je svojim radom i talentom moguće dodirnuti srca ljudi. 

''Acid for the Children'' priča je o jednom djetinjstvu, o muzici i njenoj moći da utiče na ljude (kao što je u raznim žanrovima uticala na samog autora), dotakne ih zvukom koji proizvedu nečiji prsti, ali, prije svega priča o ljubavi.
Ljubavi bez koje ništa ne bi bilo moguće, ljubavi koja se nalazi u svemu - u dobrim stvarima, u lošim iskustvima, književnosti, džezu, u samodestrukciji, gubitku, samoći.

Flijev stil pisanja je iskren i poetičan, ulice Los Angelesa postaju nam poznate, muzika dopire iz njegove sobe, malih zadimljenih klubova, iz automobila.
Poglavlje u kojem opisuje svoj čudni san atmosferom podsjeća na Bulgakovu Margaritu koja postaje vještica i leti visoko, iznad predjela i ljudi. 

Flea secira svoj tinejdžerski ego, dozvoljava sebi da se nazove idiotom zbog loših postupaka, što prema sebi, što prema drugima i predano radi na tome da shvati - postojanje, samog sebe i sebe u drugima.
A kad se ogoli ego, ostaje samo ljubav, pretočena u muziku, u riječi, u vodu, u zahvalnost, u uspomene.
Ostaje smiraj u kojem ta ljubav raste, množi se i čini ovaj tužni i prelijepi svijet mjestom gdje se zbog magije zvane muzika nikad ne osjećamo sami.

''Love. Love above the disappointment, judgment, fear, and hurt. Love to clear the fog that blinds us, and unlock the shackles that bind us. Life is naught bu a journey to achieve love.''
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,729 reviews739 followers
November 29, 2020
This book was absolutely everything I hoped it would be and more. It was just so FLEA. There’s really no other way to put it honestly because this book is written exactly how I imagine Flea would talk and it’s so perfect. It made me feel like I was sitting down, smoking a joint with him and trading life stories. It manages to capture the essence of the crazy and whimsical Flea we all know and love so well from RHCP so perfectly. Now if you’re expecting an accounting of RHCP’s career then you’ll be disappointed because this is mostly about Flea’s younger years before RHCP became the band we know today. But don’t let that deter you from reading this book because it’s so brilliant. If you’re a fan of the band and Flea then you absolutely must read this because it offers such amazing insight into the crazy, wonderful mind of one of the most BADASS bassists!
Profile Image for lunacat37.
33 reviews9 followers
February 23, 2020
I truly enjoyed this book so much. Flea is a natural at writing and his words are poetic and raw. I love the insight this book gave me into one of my favorite musicians! This book was a fun trip down memory lane into the 1970s LA street scene. Even if you’re not a huge RHCP fan, I think you’ll enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Cam.
980 reviews2 followers
February 19, 2020
Love Red Hot Chili Peppers ..... I enjoyed Flea’s story from childhood to adulthood..... I must say I’m surprised he made it to adulthood with all the drugs he pumped into his system.
Profile Image for Alex.
113 reviews
May 3, 2020
Admittedly, I was about two-thirds of the way through this when I realized it definitely wasn't going to cover anything RHCP-related. This is volume 1 of, presumably, at least 2, although I haven't heard anything about a follow-up.

Flea, like Anthony Kiedis, lived a tumultuous childhood and adolescence, to the extent that no embellishment (or, fortunately, professional book-writing experience) is necessary to convey the weirdness and wildness of his early days. I was audibly repulsed reading about how, at a party, he and a handful of others held out their arms while another party-goer went down the line injecting them all with meth (with the same needle each time, of course - this isn't Sesame Street). And that's just one of many amazing anecdotes Flea has bouncing around in his brain. He really should have died multiple times (his words, paraphrased), and that makes for a great story.

The writing style was what brought the book down a bit. It's casual, almost conversational, which isn't a bad thing - I don't demand beautiful prose from someone whose primary means of expression is through musical instruments. But it started to feel wandering and repetitive after a while. Flea dwells on things - his guardian angels, his dreams (his literal dreams, not his ambitions), his shyness - much as someone might do in conversation, for emphasis. Not that those things should have been excluded, but they didn't need to be dredged up every 20 pages or so. The book probably could have been cut down by about a third.

His constant reference to cosmic powers also rubbed me the wrong way. It's easy to believe that the universe was looking out for you all along in retrospect, but for every Flea, there are probably a thousand or more who tried exactly what he did and failed - he even acknowledges this hypothetical group, albeit briefly, as the Sea of Lost Causes. I'm glad his outlook on life leads him to pay it forward and inspire positivity, but it's a bit annoying to hear a successful person talk about how the universe had this plan for them all along, the implication being that things generally work out for everyone. It even does Flea a disservice by diminishing the significance of his innate talent, persistence, and passion.

This is a unique and enjoyable story, and I'm sure the potential volume 2 will be, as well; I just wish someone else had written it.
Profile Image for TheBookWarren.
391 reviews79 followers
April 7, 2021
4.75 Stars — I held off my review — of this childhood memoir by one of the most musically influential Australians to ever live — because I wanted to hear Flea himself read its pages as I took a breather here and there and knew it would entice my brain to shutdown for a moment. This experience took what was a warm, dark but very much light-infused narrative of a truly great mans youth, and transformed it into nothing less than a genuine powerhouse of a memoir, that rally does ave to be experienced to believe.

Michael “Flea” Balzary, was born in Melbourne, Australia. A fact this is bizarrely little-known in Australia itself. To this day Flea calls himself a “Californi-stralian”.. an apt self-homage that in a weird-microcosm portrays much of what it is that makes Flea... FLEA!!!

Beautifully composed pages from start to finish, with flourishes of elegant-yet-raw prose, Acid for the children is a bonafide-must-read for ANYONE with a remote interest in Music, Memoirs or just good darn books.

Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,975 reviews194 followers
May 21, 2022
First I'm not a the fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and till I picked up this book had't ever heard of him. This was recommended to me and an exceptional read, better even on audio. So I listened, I was quickly brought into a familiar world of growing up the 60's and 70's. These were wild, dangerous, crazy times and "Flea" tested all the offers of the times, and lived to tell the story. Emotionally distant parents, poverty, drugs, drugs, and more drugs, friendships made, lost, found and sadly death.
I walked along the same path as him through many of the 60's and 70's, Los Angeles was a wild place to grow up. As I listened to his heart opening story I learned somethings about myself as well as weeped with his pains. I loved this touching story not of a rock star but a boy, a man, in transition every moment with no known destination.
Profile Image for Nerea Knopfler.
49 reviews56 followers
September 13, 2021
Dentro de las lecturas previstas para este 2021 no entraba en mis planes leer la autobiografía del bajista de los Red Hot Chili Peppers. De la discografía del grupo no conozco más allá de las típicas canciones, y el nombre del bajista me era ajeno hasta que el libro cayó en mis manos hace unas semanas. Fui a recogerlo a una librería para un amigo, y como estábamos tardando en vernos le pregunté si le importaba que le echara un vistazo.
¿Sinceramente? Me ha volado la cabeza.
¿Es para estómagos sensibles? Depende de tu tolerancia a leer sobre drogas, su consumo, uso y abuso. Advierto que no sólo tiene que ver con ese tema, pero digamos que está muy influenciado por ellas.
¿Lo recomiendo? Sí rotundo.

Por cierto, a raíz de leer este libro me ha dado por escuchar con más tranquilidad y atención el grupo, y me está sorprendiendo mucho. Ya sé que estas cosas van justo al revés, pero ¡qué le vamos a hacer!

Dejo por aquí un fragmento que está ya por el final del libro y que me ha dejado rotita por dentro:

«Atravieso periodos en los que despierto de golpe todas las noches, arrebatado de mi sueño por una pesadilla llena de pánico. El infinito vacío de dolor al que me asomo me llena de terror. Me digo que todo va a estar bien, pero estoy al borde de un pozo sin fondo, a qué puedo caer y desaparecer para siempre. Siento unas manos frías que salen del vacío y me aprietan el cráneo. El estómago se me tensa; el sudor comienza a fluir. En mis momentos de debilidad, la intensidad del miedo me ha cegado y ha ensordecido al coro de bondad y amor. He sido un idiota y me he hecho daño.
Sólo la fe puede salvarme. Herido y deshecho, camino de vuelta hacia la luz, dispuesto a enfrentarme a la cruel mirada del mundo y a arriesgarme a amar.
Cuando conecto con la bicha abundante y bondadosa, soy el hombre más feliz de esta hermosa tierra. En esos momentos de satisfacción, rezo por poder compartirlo con todos con quienes pueda. Conozco la profunda felicidad que viene de ser una presencia edificante. Os amo mucho a todos y nunca voy a dejar de esforzarme.»
Profile Image for Greg.
1,766 reviews18 followers
April 28, 2021
Flea's take on books: read anything that's good. On people: accept everyone as they are, or do your best and apologize via a memoir. To music: listen to everything good. To drugs: why did I do that to my body? Toward platonic love: check, all groovy. To romantic love: needs work. To self-love (any type): always great. To non-sexual nudity: "ANYTHING WORTH DOING IS BEST DONE NAKED" (my quote). Today, I'm reading "Finnegan's Wake" on a nude beach, listening to Circle Jerks "Golden Shower of Hits". Thanks Flea for a blast of page-turning honesty: I had no idea.
Profile Image for Димитър Цолов.
Author 28 books258 followers
April 12, 2021
Ниската оценка, която давам на тази автобиография е абсолютно субективна - книгата е грамотно и увлекателно написана, но детството и тийн годините на Майкъл Балзари, осмислени с пушене на трева, ядене на картони и инжектиране на кокаин и метамфетамин, слабо ме вълнуват. Искаше ми се да науча повече за музиканта Флий, за стиковката на бандата, за първите концерти... Разбира се, аз съм си виновен, заглавието говори само по себе си достатъчно недвусмислено, ама... та тройка...
Profile Image for Noa.
190 reviews8 followers
April 8, 2020

Ok so Flea is a great author? Did not see that one coming. Prejudice on my part, and sometimes it's so much fun to be confronted with your own prejudice. He has a great way with words – some bits are read-out-loud-pretty – and tells his story candidly, without shying away from his own selfishness and wrongness, mistakes everyone makes when young.

I did have the problem I always have with memoirs, which is that I always think the obligatory drugs bit starts dragging real bad real fast for me. I'm more interested in the aspects of people's lives outside of the drug-fuelled rampages that often define them or at least their memoirs.

The part of this particular artist's life I'm most interested in is the part that is not in this book, and he has expressed plans to write another, if he feels his story needs that. I hope he does, but I so respect his decision to end it where he did, to tell the story he wanted without sticking to the birth-till-now-or-possibly-death-structure so many biographies and biopics cling onto as if it were a punishable offence to let it go.

Someone please do tell him three ominous dots after a sentence is enough. It is. Three. No more. No, it's fine, I promise. Three dots.

Also, if you read this, listen to Wet Sand by them. It's the best song in the history of music. So.
Profile Image for Renee.
1,472 reviews21 followers
November 15, 2019
Never have a read a memoir before where the spirit and sheer truism of the author bubbles up to the surface. Did it help that I've been a mega RHCP fan for decades? Probably, but it doesn't take away from the introspective beauty of this novel.
Acid for the Children was not written "with" someone, these are Flea's words-excitable, jazzy, regretful, disarming, and writhing away in his biological bass zone. I loved that the prose were as off-centered and as wildly unpredictable as the author himself.
The stories he tells are both chaotic and compassionate and listening to this book on audio was akin to seeing Flea on stage.
Profile Image for Gemma.
818 reviews65 followers
July 11, 2020
3.5 stars.
This wasn't quite what I expected, bad language, sex and drugs yes but I didn't expect the level of emotion expressed. The audiobook really helps capture this. There are times that were emotional to listen to, where he struggles with his raw emotion.
While I did enjoy it , I found it hard to follow in some places and felt it didnt always flow as well as it could.
I do have a slight niggle on how in depth the drug use descriptions were, I felt some of the technical descriptions were unnecessary and felt he romanticised some of the drug use. I'm struggling to rate this ,but think I will have to go with three and a half stars.
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