Acid for the children A memoir


Book - 2019

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 781.66092/Flea Due Oct 17, 2023
New York : Grand Central Publishing 2019.
First edition
Physical Description
pages cm
Main Author
Flea (author)
Other Authors
Patti Smith (writer of foreword)
Review by Booklist Review

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea was born Michael Balzary in Australia. When he was four, his family moved to Rye, New York. His mother later left his father for Walter, a volatile yet loving hippie musician who introduced Flea to the rapture of playing music and moved the family to Los Angeles in the 1970s. Flea was a shy boy who loved books, jazz, and smoking pot. After meeting future bandmates Anthony Kiedis, Hillel Slovek, and Jack Irons in high school, he started doing a lot more drugs, making music, and generally being as much of a freak as possible. Flea is a surprisingly good writer and writes in bursts of memories, detailing both pivotal and mundane moments in short chapters (often ending with that shit was crazy or a similar sentiment) with equal parts pathos and humor. This is not an RHCP tell-all: the book ends with the band's first-ever live performance. Rather, RHCP fans or not, readers will find a unique coming-of-age memoir that's also an ode to books, music, and performing.--Kathy Sexton Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea recalls his youth in this electric, surprisingly moving memoir. The author, born Michael Peter Balzary in 1962 in Melbourne, Australia, moved to Los Angeles in 1972 with his mother and her erratic boyfriend. He describes his mother as unaffectionate ("there is not one instance in my life where I can ever remember her holding or cuddling me") and inattentive, which gave him opportunity to run the streets unsupervised. When he wasn't causing trouble ("I became a regular shoplifter," he admits), he was listening to music (Charlie Parker, the Beatles) and reading books (Kurt Vonnegut "parented me," he writes). In high school, he met Anthony Kiedis, the future Chili Peppers lead singer, who instantly became his "brother" and with whom he'd start making music in 1983. Flea talks about "going primal" on the bass, which he taught himself to play; liking girls; and doing drugs (including crystal meth and cocaine), but this is not a typical sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll story. The author respectfully references his first girlfriend, to whom he lost his virginity at 17, and calls drug use a "pit of sadness," adding, "You can do anything. Walk through it, don't numb or hide." Flea is an enlightened narrator, and this passionate, smart memoir will resonate with readers whether they're fans of the band or not. (Nov.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

Rock bassist Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, recalls his adolescence in this sensitive, well-written coming-of-age memoir. Flea was born Michael Peter Balzary in 1962 in Australia to a customs official father and a mother who never relished the traditional role of wife and mother. The family moved to New York for a job opportunity, but by the time Flea was seven, his conventional family fell apart. He and his older sister were shuttled off to Los Angeles to live with his mom's new hippie jazz musician boyfriend. Perhaps as a result of this family fissure, Flea admits that he has often felt out of sync with others. But this is also a memoir about friendships as Flea lovingly remembers those with whom he did connect, such as his first best friend, Stephen, with whom he spent hours reading. In high school, Flea found a kindred spirit in Anthony Kiedis, and the two embarked on drug-fueled adventures before forming the Red Hot Chili Peppers. VERDICT Readers will find much to relate to in Flea's life story and will hope that this isn't the only entry in his writing career. [See Prepub Alert, 5/5/19.]--Amanda Westfall, Emmet O'Neal P.L., Mountain Brook, AL

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

A wild ride through the coming-of-age wilderness of the famed rock bassist.Though this volume barely touches on the career of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the band whose fans will likely constitute its most ardent readership, Flea's spirit permeates the narrative, which is scattered, reflective, hedonistic, funny, scary, and occasionally redemptive. By the time it finishes, the author has just turned 20, and the band has just begun its launch. Even early on, he writes, "I knew it was all there [with the band]. I could see its path stretched out before me, but like Dorothy and Toto, I had no idea of what walking it could mean." Flea was born Michael Peter Balzary in Melbourne, Australia, on Oct. 16, 1962, preceded by an older sister, to a mother and father who would split during his early childhood. His father continued to live in Australia, where his sister would return, while his mother moved with her son to the United States. In New York City, they lived with Walter, a tempestuous jazz musician who became Flea's stepfather. Despite his erratic behavior, Walter showed the author how to "utilize the pathos of his life to create thrilling art. The anger and loneliness, the pain from feeling hurt and neglected could be fuel for the greatest gifts." For years, Flea was an outsider, and his weirdness only intensified once the family moved from New York to Los Angeles in order to further what never quite became a musical career for Walter. As a "street kid" ("not a homeless kid, not an uneducated kid, but a street kid") in LA, the author discovered a host of colorful characters and drugs, played trumpet and loved jazz, and read Vonnegut. Few of the chapters, which unfold in bursts of jazzy, sometimes irregular prose (and little attention to grammar), extend for more than a page or two, and some of them are just a paragraph. Flea was still a street kid when he bonded with future band mates Anthony Kiedis, Hillel Slovek, and Jack Irons.Relentlessly honest, untamed, and often revelatory. Perhaps a second volume is in the works? Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.