Anthony Kiedis,
Scar Tissue
(Hyperion, 2005)

Anyone coming for an autobiography of the Red Hot Chili Peppers might be a little disappointed in Scar Tissue. Lead singer Anthony Kiedis focuses more on his personal journey through life, and especially on his formative adolescent years. The Chili Peppers are a part of his life, to be sure, but this story is truly Anthony's personal struggles to be a sober, straight-living man.

Anthony spends a significant amount of the book on his teenaged years. He was essentially his father's roommate (not his son, not his "charge") in Los Angeles from the age of 12. He experienced more drugs and debauchery before the age of 18 than most people could live through in their entire life. In describing his experiences, however, Kiedis uses an inviting tone; he never brags about his exploits or tries to paint himself in an excessively rosy light. He simply invites the reader along to explore his personal experiences and emotions.

Scar Tissue is truly a book about drug addiction, about the lifelong slippery slope of trying to obtain (and maintain) sobriety. It is amazing that Kiedis can keep his dozens of periods of abuse and relapse straight in his mind, much less transform them into a compelling narrative journey for the reader. Life on drugs was in no way glamorous -- Kiedis spent many years at rock bottom, barely surviving and scrounging for his existence. He also fooled many people about his drug use, and managed to escape any arrest or scrutiny for possession. Reading about how Kiedis has to consider and seize his sobriety each and every day (he's been clean since 24 December 2000) will surely inspire anyone who is struggling with their own personal demons.

It's amazing that the Chili Peppers have been as successful as they are, considering their poor record management in the early days, the excessive personnel changes and the rampant drug abuse. I'd love to read a tell-all from Flea next!

by Jessica Lux-Baumann
23 September 2006

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