Now in paperback, the New York Times bestseller by one of rock's most provocative figures Scar Tissue is Anthony Kiedis's searingly honest memoir of a life spent in the fast lane.
In 1983, four self-described "knuckleheads" burst out of the mosh-pitted mosaic of the neo-punk rock scene in L.A. with their own unique brand of cosmic hardcore mayhem funk. Over twenty years later, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, against all odds, have become one of the most successful bands in the world. Though the band has gone through many incarnations, Anthony Kiedis, the group's lyricist and dynamic lead singer, has been there for the whole roller-coaster ride. Whether he's recollecting the influence of the beautiful, strong women who have been his muses, or retracing a journey that has included appearances as diverse as a performance before half a million people at Woodstock or an audience of one at the humble compound of the exiled Dalai Lama, Kiedis shares a compelling story about the price of success and excess.
Scar Tissue is a story of dedication and debauchery, of intrigue and integrity, of recklessness and redemption--a story that could only have come out of the world of rock.
Anthony Kiedis is a musician and the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Raised in Michigan, Kiedis went on to study at UCLA, but dropped out after losing interest, partially due to his abuse of hard drugs. After dropping out, Kiedis had an offer to open for a friend's band, so he got together with friends Flea, Hillel Slovak, and Jack Irons and eventually formed the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for whom he writes almost all of the lyrics.
Keidis has also pursued other projects besides music. Using the stage name Cole Dammett (adapted from his father's stage name, Blackie Dammett), he landed a number of small roles in television and film as a teenager in the late 1970s. In 2004, Kiedis published a memoir titled Scar Tissue, which peaked at #17 on the New York Times Bestseller List.
I've decided to stop here before I hate all the Peppers' music forever as a result.
***Edited to add for full transparency: I've deleted my original review and the entire comments section as I was tired of fielding comments about a memoir I didn't finish seven plus years ago. People get passionate about their favorite band, and since this is a real person and not a fictional character, I've decided it's not worth the toxicity on all sides.
So sue me...I'm a sucker for a celebrity biography, especially one packed with lurid details of drug use and ill-advised sexual escapades. And, I love the Chili Peppers, so this book was irresistible to me. I learned a little about Anthony Kiedis' song-writing process, which was nice. Unfortunately, I also learned that he is a selfish prick with a stunning lack of self-awareness. But, hey, it's only rock-n-roll, right?
This is the most self indulgent, poorly written pap I have ever had the misfortune to purchase at an airport bookshop. Despite the millions of copies sold, as proclaimed on the cover, it failed to impress.
Anthony Keidis happily retells how he wasted his life on drugs, screwed and screwed over countless women, friends and collegaues and ended up alone - not even his closest friend Flea talks to him any more.
I am annoyed by the fact that any percentage of the money I paid for this book will go to Keidis. He has done nothing for the betterment of humanity despite millions of dollars, instead he wasted it away and has seemingly no regrets.
If I can stop a single person reading this book my job is done.
When I first started reading this book I thought to myself what a self involved asshole! Which is sad because I'm a huge Red Hot Chili Peppers fan and really wanted to like him. In fact I had to have a little pep talk with myself so I could carry on reading. It went something along the lines of- "You don’t have to like the person to enjoy the book and find some worth in it." And that little talk stood me in good sted because I think I found the book even more fascinating after having accepted that Kiedis is not a very good person and seems startlingly oblivious to the fact.
He effectively wrote himself as the villain of the piece and he doesn't seem to have realized it. It’s just so interesting to me. I also just could not get over the fact that not once did he condemn his father who essentially got him into doing drugs at age 11 but would make snippy little comments about band mates and girlfriends at every turn for relatively inconsequential things.
But most amazing to me was that a man who clearly sees himself as a modern day poet wrote a 500 page book about himself and didn't include one introspective or self analytically thought!
All in all I would have given this book 5 stars had the continuous cycle of drug abuse and rehab not gotten a little monotonous.
I grew up too early for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. My college age son raves about them, calling them the new Doors which makes their lead singer Anthony Kiedis the equivalent of a modern Jim Morrison. There are some parallels between Kiedis and Morrison. Both crafted mind-numbing lyrics in the City of Light, trolling the back alleys, canyons and mountain retreats of the West Side. Both may have qualified as "erotic politicians", Morrison's clever depiction of the Doors to a stunned and befuddled media. Both were self-destructive semi-insane nihilists whose appetite for excess drove them to the edge (Morrison slipped over while Kiedis crawled back to write this engaging, moving testimonial). Having read at least 50 rock bios over the course of my life (the lifestyle, decadence and the road are can do you in.. Long Time Gone by David Crosby, Somebody to Love by Grace Slick, I'm With the Band by Pamela Des Barres and Wonderland Avenue by Danny Sugerman), I thought why not read about my son's favorite band and hopefully find some common ground for musical discussions. This book was funny, insane, tragic, inspiring ... a heartfelt confession from a rock legend. The tales from the early days of the Hollywood punk scene, the overdose death of Hillel Slovak, the bouts with rehab, the disappointments, the descriptions of lyrics and personal struggles ... all of this prompted me to buy a few CDs and give these guys a listen. This is an incredible band ... in my day our biggest rock heroes were sparse power trios like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, sometimes fronted by lead singers (Doors, Who). The RHCPs belong in the same genre. I never bought into the phenom of rap music... it always reminded me of the playground jive talk and dissin I used to hear at our heavily intergrated high school except it was set to a boring backbeat. But the RHCP converted me ... probably because the testimony of Anthony Kiedis in Scar Tissue proclaimed that there is a lot of pain and bitter experience behind the music. Not your run of the mill tribe of nihilistic LA punks. I recently learned that Flea actually went back to study at USC in his forties. A worthy read.
I'll be honest, I'm not a huge Chili Peppers fan, my kid is. My son has read this book several times and he encouraged me to read it. After all, momma loves her some Rock God grit. Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, Anthony Keidis is far from Rock God status. Don't get me wrong, he's not a bad front man, he can carry a tune and some women would consider him eye candy. However, he would never look at a woman twice because according to him, he prefers 16 year old jail bate. “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” No, Anthony wasn't cool enough to pen that quote himself, but he was pathetic enough to live it over and over and over again.
But perhaps it is unfair to judge him. I mean, he apparently suffers a severe case of LSS (that would be Lead Singer Syndrome for those of you unfamiliar with the term). Even if you are a huge fan, can we just agree that the man is unbelievably full of himself? I'm not sure how you could read this book and disagree.
What did I learn about Anthony. He had a seriously messed up childhood. Yeah, so did a lot of people. Daddy was a hip drug dealer, so what? Daddy got you high, daddy got you laid, daddy got you into the club. As weird as it may seem, that doesn't make him cool or special, hell it doesn't even make him unique. It does make him abused, but I was hard pressed to feel any sympathy for him. Maybe because he was too proud of his cool childhood. Or maybe it was because Anthony Keidis just comes across as a dick and I don't care what he went through.
The book had a hell of a lot of drugs in it. Again don't get me wrong, I would never not read something because of drug abuse. Actually, most of what I read has drug use/abuse in it. Its just a genre I enjoy reading, it seems real to me if the plot has this in it. That probably says more about me than anything else though. I've read other Rock Star bios and I've watched real world people travel the highs and lows of addiction. But I have NEVER read/heard so much bragging about one's drug use/abuse before in my entire life! In fact, some of his stories are so damned grandiose that I honestly do not believe what he is writing is what actually happened. Perhaps some of it happened to other people and Mr. Keidis thought it would be cool to incorporate it into his life story. Maybe he was so high he didn't know it wasn't him who did those things. Or maybe he has an over active imagination and invented a few scenes in the book. And honestly, he should have cut them out because this damn book goes on and on and never ends.
I wasn't a Chili Peppers fan before I read this book. I never thought Anthony was anything special. But after reading this book, I can't stand Anthony Kiedis. The man seriously acts as if the planet revolves around him. It's not like he is Flea or Frusciante for fux sake ;-)
If you like Anthony and you want to hear tall tales of his drug abuse, and you want to hear exaggerated stories of his sex life (which even his bragging couldn't make sound exciting), and you think the front man is the end all be all of a Rock band, then by all means read this book. If that doesn't interest you, I hear Keith Richards has one coming out and...well I'm sure he can tell much better stories about sex, drugs, and rock n roll.
Keidis is a narcissistic character vacuum with little to say. His autobiography is the story of a narcissistic characterless hustler, written by a narcissistic characterless hustler.
The narcissist is an emotional vacuum. In order to feel interesting, the narcissist will often fill the inner void with image, extreme behaviour, cocaine, heroin - or multiples of these things, because they act as substitutes for identity and substance.
Then the narcissist becomes a pretty, loud, cocaine/heroin/speedball influenced character vacuum. The resulting shamelessness, when accompanied by a modicum of ability and talent, can work wonders on a stage and make "rock-stars" out of the average.
Artistry aside, as much as I appreciate the body of work of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Anthony Keidis is just not an interesting person. I file this book in a long list of narcissistic, fake-ass, non-storyteller, 'autobiographers' which include Gene Simmons, Nikki Sixx, Don Felder, Tommy Lee, Bobby Blotzer and Scott Weiland, all of whose autobiographies suspiciously seem like attempts to dig their respective authors out of various financial holes. Sure, I get that a guy's gotta eat, but don't express your faded rock-star economic embarrassment in the form of bad literature.
Dude, you're supposed to be an artist. It takes serious dedication and effort for an artist to make people think books are shit.
So, where do I start? A realllllyyyyyy complicated process of reading this book, I really made up variuos reason how to escape "The Scar Tissue", that's why I read it for a really long time for me, 9 days, ouch! But, you know, the last 10 pages really worked for me. I dunno how to explain, maybe it's the Tony Kiedis charm or his Lithuanian roots, but I truly felt the change of him, the more mature and responsible version of him. But let's start from the beginning... So, it doesn't matter how cool, high or sexy you think you are, you will never reach the level of Anthony Kiedis, in a bad meaning mostly. That's the theme of this book for me. What really pissed me off while reading, is that I couldn't find the narrative structure. Let's say this book was a REALLY long picaresque: I did this; then I did that; then this; then that; oh, and repeat it. This is really the worst aspect of this book. Oh bro, it's about the Peppers! It should represent them in the best way! They write, sing and perform fascinating music, I, myself, am not a real fan of them, but I like them, I sometimes listen to their songs. I can compare this book to a really untasty candy, which has a yummy filling, but too small to get me high. The untasty piece: The story of a primitive drug addict who, lucky to him, is in a successful band and can’t keep your interest till the end of the book: it just becomes monotonous. All insane drug usage, clueless relationships with teenagers and women and pointless abstinence make a mess and leave an unpleasant taste, which lasts for the biggest part of the book for me. The tasty piece: While showing himself as a selfish, unkind and destructive person in the past, Anthony Kiedis still managed to turn into a kind, generous and lovable character (I don't say "man", 'cause there's a possibility that this book can be just too good to be true ). It just left a good feeling inside me, when I finished reading this book. All in all, it is an interesting story about a great band and its leader, but Anthony Kiedis didn't suit me as the best choice to present it. But anyway
Even though I can only relate to a fraction of what is in this book, seeing how my own life is so radically different from that of the author, I loved every minute of reading this book. This book has everything you could possibly ask for; it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me sad and it made me profoundly happy. If this book does not melt your heart, then you have a heart of stone. Someone shares his life with you in a very candid and open way, how can you not love that?
And of course, what I love even more as a Chili Peppers fan is obviously getting to know Anthony Kiedis better. I got to share the ups and the downs of a ride that's lasted for more than two decades. And we're not talking just about the music, but his life. Still, the funny thing is that what I liked the most is that the book made me listen to the music with new ears, so to speak. And the best thing of all is that some of the Chili Peppers songs that I love the most are among those that Kiedis gives you more inside information on. And now my appreciation of those songs has increased tenfold.
Rating a book a 5 has never been this easy. Too bad it only goes up to five.
I really think Anthony Kiedis is a sweetheart. Every single girl he sleeps with & writes about in this book is called some variation of a magical-pixie-angel-sex goddess-special unicorn-rainbow-fairie, and it gets to be a bit endearing. He's like this big loaf, a dumb jock, who just happens to write catchy, stupid (stupid catchy?) songs. It's amazing he's still alive & looks so great, all things considered. The more interesting story in this autobio is that of John Frusciante - when is HE gonna write his memoirs?
Drums begin at the same time as guitar. Steady rise, linear picking up of pace. The movement is coming to a massive peak, the crest of a wave about to crash over you. Bass is flirting with the rhythm in the background. Boom. It hits ya. Riff. One of the hookiest, catchiest, ear wormiest riffs of all time. Here he comes. Can’t stop addicted to the shindig, chop top, he says I’m gonna win big. Can’t Stop.
Right away with the voice. The band all begin together on this one. There is nothing but sheer anger. Hits you in the face and you want to jump up off the couch, hitting everything in sight. If you have a beer in your hand, you have to toss it at someone rather than allow them to hold it for you. One shot, all I need, I’ve got rhythm when I bleed. Right on Time.
Unreal technique on display at the beginning of this one. One of the most difficult guitar riffs to play for anyone who has ever picked up a guitar, for anyone who even knows what a simple C chord is. One of the most recognizable riffs in modern music. Vocals and harmonies are on point. Mellotron in the background – yep. Just like Strawberry Fields. Come to decide that the things that I tried, were in my life just to get high on. Snow (Hey Oh).
Great display of what happens after a fractured brotherhood is put together again for a second time – egos put aside, near old age, maturity at an all time high. The sissy troubles are all trifles, as they realize that love and friendship are the only two things that can carry you through the little eye of the needle. Fame and exploration of alternatives are no longer issues. Oh, I know that it’s only gold, and I come slow now for everything, the heavy wing. The Heavy Wing.
Sand. Billions of particles of sand. Each and every single one a life. Each with the potential to brush up against each other, making an impact on it. Each one is needed for the whole. Add a little bit of water to the sand and you can shape it, make of it whatever you want. Add some spirit to each life, mold it how you want. Form it how you want. Or don’t, if you can’t – but you can. How these boys have made a song that encapsulates the meaning of life, who can tell. My what a good day for a walk outside. Wet Sand.
Anthony Kiedis is not my favourite member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but his voice is clearly front and centre in my mind when I think back to the most memorable moments of my life with their music (at this point, it has been about 16 years – maybe a bit more). He is a founding member. He is responsible for the lyrics, 99% of the time. It was a crime that I hadn’t read this book yet, but I was scared to pick it up, because I knew it would contain things that were unsavoury. Things I would rather not have thought about. But that’s a stupid excuse and I’m seeing them soon, so I read it. What did it contain? Exactly what I thought it would have. Go back and read the first letter of the first five paragraphs.
Clearly, this is a must read for any fan of the Chilis. It fills in a lot of holes, talks about some fables and myths that surround the band, and gives you that sweet, sweet lore you have been craving. Anthony talks about the infamous Under the Bridge performance on SNL, how lots of William Burroughs was being read (surprising, right?), how Californication was written, how they all dressed up as the Spice Girls, lots of goodies. But that would take up about 30% of this book. The other 70% is sad. A depressing trip through the troubles of an addict. You get tired of Anthony relapsing yet again—how could he think it’s possibly a good idea to look for black tar heroin to take off the edge for a weekend? The problem is, this is the truth for many addicts. Logical reasoning is often out the window. And each repeated instance of relapse doesn’t lessen your sadness. Addiction is a beast.
He is sober now. The book came out in 2004, and the band has since reshuffled and reformed. The original members are together. They seem like they have it figured out. I do wish the best for them going forward, as they are such a massive part of my life – they are one thing (among many) that make my life worth living. The reading experience itself wasn’t superb, but reading it was necessary.
First and foremost, this book is very easy to read. Whereas some books I have read I needed to be in a certain mood to enjoy them, I read this book at a variety of different times. The writing isn't very difficult to follow, as this book reads like someone telling you their life story.
At 500 pages, it really does not leave much of Anthony Kiedis' life out. At times it is slow and drags just a bit and others the the plot kind of gets redundant (like when it describes him kicking heroin and cocaine only to relapse again and again). This isn't because of the writing because you do realize that this of course is how his life was at that point. I personally felt bad for the guy and couldn't help but feel horrible for the guy when he struggled to get his life back together.
The book isn't all horrid descriptions of drug addiction, however. At the heart of the story is how music ran strong through this guy's life as he grew as a person. That and the brotherhood between the members of the band he is still a part of. The book is about friendship and how the ups and downs over the years shaped the band and how they inspired the amazing songs they produced.
My only real concern is that Antony Kiedis 'quit' doing drugs 'for the last time' fairly late into the book. While I'm sure he's become a much stronger person over the past couple decades, I of course worry about the man relapsing. The last time he talked about using in the book was only a few years ago. I just hope he stays safe and the Chili Peppers keep making music.
The audiobook quality was pure crap. I was also upset that Kiedis didn't narrate his own autobiography. And I was not a fan of the narrator they used. It seemed every other sexual encounter Kiedis had was "the most amazing, the most profound, etc" he ever had. That shit got old fast. The way this was written was very matter of fact. This is what happened, then this, then this. There was no real feeling of remorse or regret for all the drug use and fucked up behavior and infidelity.
BUT with all that being said, I could not put this book down. I was so engrossed in his story it was ridiculous. Every time he mentioned a specific interview or performance or basically any incident that was caught on camera I was immediately on YouTube watching it. This was a crazy ride and I loved every second of it.
basically, anthony kiedis has been one of my celeb crushes through the years. this book pretty much ended that. i felt a little dirty after some of the sections. THAT kind of dirty... like i needed to go scrub the images from my mind each time i put the book down!
the stories were intriguing, i had no idea of some of the horrible things this guy has done. (or if i did have an idea, i was always able to brush it off!) i'm really surprised at how far he's been able to go in life with all the craziness that is described in the book.
The only problem I found while reading this book was the fact that Kiedis is such a lucky pretentious fuck. The Red Hots are definitely not known for his voice, try the funky band, and by that I mean Flea. It's Flea. So basically Kiedis' memoirs are pretty much by the books for a 90's Rock Star--plenty of drugs, and plenty of women. These sections never cease to be at least somewhat entertaining. The main complaint with the book overall is Kiedis' constant, almost boastful, commentary. It's as if he tries to invoke jealousy in the reader simple because he lived it, you read it. But with a compelling enough story(with all that money and drugs it's got to be worth a few pages) I'd recommend.
Are you kidding me?? I would re-title this book PHONEY BALONEY TONY. Anthony is full of sh*t from beginning to end. Do I believe he lost his virginity at age TWELVE? Nope. We would have been spared reading all those depressing bull-crap chapters if he simple said "I relapsed back into heroin 100 times all the while treating my friends, family and women like dirt". I laughed out loud when I read the part about Tony going to meet the Dali Lama, he was told that the Dali was booked for 3 years so it would not be possible! Well... low and behold Tony finds himself in a place where off in the distance the Dali is walking with his body guards, the Dali see's Tony and make a beeline over to him, cups his hands and lavishes him with blessed gifts. The Dali insists that a picture be taken with them both on Tony's camera. Tony is then invited to a prayer meeting which is ONLY for those who have studied for 50 years, but of coarse Tony is invited and is seated in the front row, then leaves after the first lesson, WTF. What a big fat LIAR, gee, maybe if you posted that picture I would have bought this load of horse crap. I also got a kick out the time he was in his car infront of a seedy Motel trying to score heroin when he sees a family "down on their luck" pull into the Motel, they had a Red hot chili pepper bumper sticker and the young kids were all wearing RHCP t-shirts (this made Tony Baloney feel sad) WHATEVER, liar, liar pants on fire. I was never a RHCP fan to begin with, I guess I am not into verbal diarrhea, I did find it interesting that Tony was constantly praised by his English teacher for being such a creative writer and was told he had very special talents, I guess his lyric's "hey-o, listen what I say-o" or rhyming Mississippi with Hippie is proof of his genius! LOL. I believe this is the first bio that I had could not bring myself to reading the last chapter (btw, I really wanted to like him) what an arrogant, bullshitting asshole this jerk is. I will be drop-kicking this pile of poo into the blue box!
Anthony Kiedis, I didn’t know you at all when I picked up this book that belongs to my 20 year old daughter. I did know that both she and my 24 year old son love Red Hot Chili Peppers and I knew you were in it. That’s all. I now know you were/are? a raging heroin/coke addict, you had sex with every female you wanted to + more (probably) and you were a pretty good rocker—when you weren’t in a hotel shooting heroin, which seemed like 90% of the time. Also, as I read your well-written (ghost-written) book, I was glad you went chronologically through your life. I wish the photos in the book had, too. I found myself trying to remember where I’d seen some girl’s photo, and thinking, “Wait, that should be in the 3rd grouping of photos because he’d screwed her after so-and-so. I like to keep things straight. My major impressions:
• Your father should’ve been incarcerated for giving you drugs at 12 • You father should’ve been incarcerated for giving you his girlfriend to have sex with when you were 13 • Your have a strong ego, or so it seems, always. I do think that losing Hillel and worrying that you aren’t a good singer, and having to fire band members, and contracting hepatitis weren’t easy things. I appreciated the way you spoke of these things, because they made you, a real monster in a way, more human. What I don’t understand is why some people feel they don’t have to abide by the simple rules of society that say drugs are a bad idea, and sleeping with a ton of women is a bad idea. • I found the way you said things with girlfriends “wasn’t working out” and then broke up with them only added to my feeling that you think a lot of yourself. I don’t recall you ever trying hard to patch things up. But then, you were too busy trying to get your next fix. I guess you did mention several times that druggies only care about drugs, and that you don’t care about other people when you’re drug-hungry, and it’s those moments of insight into how you affect the world at large that made me like you and have sympathy for a very unsympathetic person.
Also, I didn’t get the sense that you were upset about being such a disappointment to your mother, who seems, along with your sister and stepfather, to have been a well-adjusted, stable citizen and person. The impression I got was that she was in denial of sorts, so she didn’t have that much to say about your lifestyle? Not sure. I think I recall reading how they were present for one of your interventions. Well, anyway, you owe her flowers every day of her life now. And apologies. I’m sure it broke her heart for you to have gone the way you did on Life’s path. I wonder if she regrets sending you to your dad’s each summer. I sure would. Surely she was aware your father did drugs and girls. So perhaps you don’t owe her the flowers and apologies. Maybe she owes them to you.
Well, I guess all I have to say (haha, I’ve already said a lot) is this: I was not a fan of yours when I picked up the book, not even knowing you. My music years were not the 80’s, as by the mid-80’s I was having babies, listening to Barney and Mr. Rogers with them, ensconced in a cookie-cutter neighborhood and playing at Gymboree and in parks while you were scoring with dealers and women and living in your lonely mansions. I hear you have a little son now. I hope his life pans out completely different from yours.
And finally, I want you to know I’m a fan of your music now. You can sing. You can also be sober. I’m a little surprised that it took you decades to figure that out. But then, some of us are slow learners and for that I forgive you. Carry on, and please, stay “on the wagon.” You have a good family, a little boy and a ton of fans who want you to!
And thanks for the insights into the 3 lifestyles of yours (sex, drugs, rock n roll) I knew very little about. I feel so much better about MY life now!
A pretty fascinating, no-holds-barred look into the life of the vocalist of one of my favourite bands. This is possibly the first ever memoir.autobiography I've come across where the author not only admits how awful he may have been at points, but also makes no excuses for it. This actually ended up with me feeling much more sympathetic towards him than if he'd just been saying how awful he'd been with no attempt at apology, OR constant explanations along the lines of "yes I was awful but only because i=of the drugs" etc. Anthony seems to have become totally at peace, self aware and completely grown up while retaining a wonderful child-like innocence which is pretty amazing considering how wild his life has been.
There were a few negatives for me. I do think that parts of the near endless sex could have been removed - not in the interests of toning it down, at all, but merely because they served no purpose to telling his story. After a while it became repetitive and boring. I think I've mentioned this before but writing about sex should never come across as dull unless that is completely 100% the intended effect, which I'm pretty sure is the opposite of what's being described here. Also, though interesting to know about his "relationship" with Flea's sister, I think a little more tact around his oldest friend could have been exercised. Sounds like Flea was pretty pissed off about that ending up in the book. Memoirs and autobiographies do to automatically have to include those kinds of details about other people's families!
Still, fascinating read. I can see why the book is so popular.
I can't read another page of this. He cannot get thru a single paragraph without telling you how awesome he is at everything, stealing from somewhere or being a complete dickhead to people, doing some kind of drugs because it makes him all spiritually enlightened, fucking a bunch of random girls and cheating on his "soulmate" who he loves more than anything. I could rant for awhile about this book but I won't waste my time. I'll sum it up with "Anthony Kiedis is a massive douchebag, screw him and his terrible book."
2 Stars for Scar Tissue (audiobook) by Anthony Kiedis read by Rider Strong.
I saw a interview with music producer Rick Rubin recently. In it he mentioned his time working with the Chili Peppers and he made it sounded really special time. Then I noticed that this autobiography was available and I thought it would be interesting to see what it was like working with Rick Rubin. Overall the stories were kind of disappointing. They didn’t seem have much depth to them. It just felt like Anthony Kiedis was looking for some sympathy or trying to spin things to look like he wasn’t such a narcissist. I can’t believe that he had someone else read his story. Maybe he could stay sober that long. What a disgrace.
While it was an easy read, it really wasn't very well written or structured. The more interesting incidents are not really covered in much detail, their meaning is never explained or delved into but anything involving drugs gets the full treatment to the detriment of all else.
Anthony Kiedis comes across as a self-centered idiot whose drug-abuse from such an early age has almost certainly damaged his brain in some way. As a child he was a disrespectful bully and petty criminal, as an adult he was a drug-addicted jerk and by the way he had so much sex! When he isn't repeatedly regailing us with tails of his drug abuse he occasionally sees fit to throw in a little comment about how he was better than whoever he was hanging out with at the time in some way. In addition to this his sexual conquests read with all the excitement, detail and believability of an eleven year old trying to convince his friends he had a threesome last night. It really does all come across as quite pathetic and laughable for the biography of a man well into his 40s.
Also, he is ignorant enough to believe the word "FUCK" is an acronym stemming from For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge when anyone with even the most basic knowledge of etymology knows this is pure bullshit.
I feel sorry for anyone who looks up to this pathetic failure of a man almost as much as I feel sorry for anyone who thinks this book is good. While he's probably lived a more interesting life than most, and his music would have you believe he is probably a talented and fascinating man capable of some real insight into the nature of music, addiction, celebrity, the creative process, or any number of other topics. Unfortunately none of this is the case.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
“Scar Tissue” is a rather conventional rock n' roll autobiography from the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Anthony Kiedis. For fans of the band this book was written after the album Californication, which represented the band’s resurgence and ushered in their platinum decade. My wife cautiously recommended it as “airport reading.” Her description was apt. Nonetheless, for popular music fans, the book will be enjoyable. The tome is far less tragic than comparable rock bios like “No One Here Gets Out Alive” Sugarman’s defining story of Jim Morrison and “Hammer of the Gods,” which forever established Led Zeppelin as bulging deities in the rock pantheon.
Several months ago, I read “Open,” a riveting memoir of the tortured, yet soulful sports figure Andre Agassi. Shortly thereafter, I completed Keith Richards "Life." Richards' autobiography spans at least a half-century of musical and social upheaval. At the heart of his tale is the supremely talented and persistently focused lead guitarist and principal songwriter of the Rolling Stones - dosing, smiling and procreating his way to a saccharine sweet twilight. In contrast to Agassi’s pained humanity and Richard’s victorious lightness, Kiedis comes off as a controlling bandleader flourishing mid-career propelled by a prodigious work ethic and titanic narcissism. Whereas Agassi seems so much larger than his hometown, Vegas, Kiedis is oh-so very Los Angeles. Beyond the predictable struggles with drugs, sordid vignettes with legions of model-actresses and similarly hyphenated rock sycophants (roadie-pot dealer, girlfriend-masseuse), is the story of male friendship or in popular parlance, a bromance. The bromance begins curiously enough with Spider, his lothario cum drug dealer father. Hardly a patriarch, Spider is the Senior Dude to little Tony, the Junior Dude. Like many Southern Californian offspring of Acquarian-age parents, Kiedis grows up in a non-traditional atmosphere living hand-to-mouth, loosely guided and misguided by part-time parents who vacillate from child rearing to communal kibbutzing and moments between punctuated by light criminal high jinx. This unstable foundation orphaned Anthony into the LA punk scene at an early age. Luckily, the bromance continues with childhood bros Flea and the doomed Hillel Slovak, the core of “the Chilis.” Thus, the band was formed and played together right up to their first truly exceptional album “Mother’s Milk.” Although I was a fan of RHCP during this time (early 1990s), I, like others, was more drawn to the perceived grit and power of Nirvana in a manner similar to my admiration of the Wu-Tang over the Paul's Boutique-era Beastie Boys. In retrospect, I was misguided to ignore the superior musicianship of the Chilis. This was a common mistake of any fan with roots in 70s punk. There is a natural distrust of music which fratboys are also playing.
Like many rockagraphies, Kiedis’ story follows a familiar journey: unlikely kid from the track’s Other Side makes friends, friends make band, band gets hot, orgies follow soon thereafter leading inexorably to a 12-step program and the inspiring tell-all. Kiedis admirably negotiates his way through the detritus of shattered veins, scattered needles and broken hearts. By his own admission, he is a swordsman par excellence and gushes over his conquests, yet maintains a modicum of respect for them. Like Page, Plant and Richards before him, this rock god's taste for the feminine is impeccable. The carnal options are endless. But alas by Chapter 8, the rock hero yearns for, like, more dude.....Beautiful women, good drugs and piles of money can be so tiresome indeed.
Of great interest to rock fans will be the insights into contemporary artists – most notably producer Rick Rubin (the hip hop Brian Eno), River Phoenix, Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vetter. A brief dalliance with Sinead O’Connor is both touching and pointless - like many Chili songs.
I was motivated to read the book less by Kiedis and more so by the potential presence of John Frusciante, the Chilis brilliant, mercurial guitarist. As central as Frusciante is to the band’s funk-dipped, ska-infused melody mosh, in “Scar Tissue” he is only a supporting player in Kiedis' LALAland opera. This obvious slight speaks volumes about Kiedis. In “Life,” Richards’ clearly reveres Mick in spite of their creative differences and wildly contrasting life philosophies. He is inextricably linked to Richards as muse, brother, mother and manager.
Ultimately, fans of the Chilis will find this book to be essential reading, a perfect accompaniment to Kiedis’ own lyrics and the documentary “Funky Monks” which captures the 1992 recording of Blood Sugar Sex Magik – the Chilis’ genre-busting seminal hit. After reading this bio, fans of Kiedis will likely find that Behind the Music is an endearing, inspiring musician that actually wears very little Scar Tissue in the end. I also appreciate Kiedis' remarkably original and often improvisational lyrical talent more than ever. Unlike Morrisson, I rarely find his song writing awkward or embarrassing. He seems intelligent as well as a quick wit. I will file this one away and wait anxiously for the towering Frusciante biography. Someone write it already. Enjoy rock fans.
Before picking up this book, my knowledge of Red Hot Chili Peppers was pretty minimal. I remember my sister playing Blood Sugar Sex Magik constantly when I was about 9, but since then, I completely lost track of the band. Regardless, Scar Tissue is a damn good read, if you’re interested in rock bands of any kind. I’ve found that fiction doesn’t lend itself too well to tales of rock star excess. That kind of hedonism can easily seem like pantomime – or simply dumb and contrived.
But, by virtue of being true (or, at least, whatever degree of truth we cynically expect from memoirs these days), Scar Tissue is something a reader can stay engaged with. I found it a particularly moving portrait of drug addiction. It takes Anthony yeeears – dozens of rehab stays, hundreds of promises to stay clean – before he finally kicks his drug habit.
The book also contains a fair share of car crash moments. I’m not particularly squeamish, but I recoiled in horror more than once at the things Anthony manages to do to his body over a 20 year period. Yikes. I’m also honestly not sure whether it’s titillating or uncomfortable to read Anthony’s fairly frank descriptions of his sex life, especially with some barely-legal girls. But… they’re there. With pictures!
Though his behaviour is frequently abhorrent, Anthony makes a sympathetic narrator. Apart from some New Age talk about spirituality, he's also refreshingly free from bullshit. The book is long, but extremely compelling. Though slightly harrowing in places, it's more often a fun read. Anthony lived in Hollywood through some exciting times and has some strange encounters with celebrities that are likely to delight even reluctant starfuckers.
I finished Scar Tissue a few days ago, but I keep wanting to pick it up and find there are still a few more chapters for me to read. That's the sign of a good book.
2.5 This was my second time reading this book, and let me say - I was not impressed at all. The writing is just plain bad, and if I had to read about one more sexual exploit that Kiedis had, I was going to throw this book across the room. Halfway through I realized I really didn't care much, and started skimming and skipping over chunks that truly did not matter. Yes, the pictures are cool and so is reading about the early workings of the Chili Peppers since I do love a lot of their music, but otherwise, who cares? Kiedis was his own worst enemy and yes its great that he's sober and doing well now, and at least he admits he is an egomaniac but damn. He is just incredibly full of himself from childhood to adulthood and everything in between, and it was hard to sympathize or feel bad for any of the stupid situations he got himself into. He is a predator when it comes to young girls, and the way he talks about women in this book is either based all on looks and whether he would want to have sex with them, or they were the love of his life that he just couldn't stop cheating on and then they were crazy. Drug addiction is a monster that many people deal with and it is nothing to be taken lightly, and I felt like he just didn't bring enough attention to the seriousness of it all. Hillel dies from an overdose and then he launches into a story that has nothing to do with Hillel, other friends die and then he launches into stories of sex with his woman of the day/week/month. Its hard to say how much of this was actually Kiedis' doing, since Larry Sloman helped write it, but either way, I've read books with a lot more heart on these topics than this one, and its interesting how much your point of view changes as you get older.
A long and self indulgent memoir but one that is surprisingly insightful especially about L.A., Drugs, Sex, Music, Rehab and then more Sex and then more L.A. There is no doubt there would have been no Under the Bridge or Californification without those life experiences. There is a lot of name-dropping in this book and when Kiedis penned this memoir at age forty it didn't seem to me like he had grown up yet.
Odd facts. Cher once babysat Anthony Kiedis. His dad was a drug dealing musician. Courtney Love once picked up a strung out Kiedis when she was on her way home from stripping. He did not hold a high opinion of her. Keidis attended classes at UCLA for more than a year. This is remarkable to me since he was already a drug addict in high school and UCLA has some pretty serious academic chops.