Flea Didn’t Want Memoir to Be ‘Rock Star Book’
Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea explained the challenge of writing his memoir, Acid for the Children, which will be published on Nov. 4 and features a foreword by Patti Smith.
Arriving five years after it was first announced, the volume extends to 400 pages and saw Flea setting himself the task of avoiding any standard approach to a musician’s autobiography.
“I didn’t want to write a rock star book,” he told Publishers Weekly in a recent interview. “It was about setting a challenge for myself to write something that wasn’t about the Chili Peppers and that would have to stand on its own as a piece of literature. It seemed more interesting to me, and something I could be objective about. Because my childhood is over, but the band is still going. I’ve been asked to write a memoir many times but have never wanted to do it, because I didn’t like the idea of writing a celebrity book, and I didn’t like the idea of having a ghost writer, and I didn’t want to write a book unless I was really going to sit down and write one, and give myself to it.”
He added that he didn't find it difficult to write, though it was difficult to share the results. “I fell in love with the writing process,” he said. “Every time I put my head down for an hour and wrote, when I came back up it felt so satisfying, like I was engaging a part of my creativity that I had never engaged before.”
Noting that books had been his “sanctuary” as he lived through a difficult upbringing, he explained that he "was up to no good and headed for trouble and, when I found humanity in a book, it helped me to find humanity in myself because I wasn’t getting it at home. I found purpose, meaning and love in books.”
Asked if reading influenced his music, Flea replied,“They go hand in hand. Reading is a more meditative, solitary experience, and, for me, music is a physical, communal experience, so they’re different in that way, but both are places where I feel safe. Both help me see my own shortcomings, help me come to terms with things about myself that I don’t like, help me to learn and forgive others, and to learn about myself and forgive myself.”