I’ve finally found enough time tonight to finish this off for anyone who’s interested in it… the full transcript of the Anthony’s radio show on 17th November:
Please Note: I’ve paraphrased some of the presenter’s comments (but not Anthony’s which I’ve tried to write down exactly for the most part- are a couple of times he and the presenter talk over/repeat each other and I’ve gone for continuity rather that every word in that case)
Presenter: Out of time, it was great to see you. Thanks for coming Anthony; see you soon buddy! [Joking]
Anthony Kiedis: It was great. Thank you for having me. See you guys in like five years or something.
Presenter: Talks about Fandemonium and its release date (18th November) and mentions their legion of fans and introduction by Anthony Kiedis.
Anthony Kiedis: Legions. I like that word. Legions.
Presenter: How are you, sir?
Anthony Kiedis: I’m great, thank you.
Presenter: Comparing Fandemonium with ‘Scar Tissue’ and mentions that Anthony Kiedis said this one was one was harder to write
Anthony Kiedis: Labour of love and it took a long time. And it wasn’t hard for me because I didn’t have to take the pictures or travel around and interview the fans but when the publisher said 10,000 words I was like yeah 10,000 words that’s got to be about a page and a half, right? …And then I started writing and I realised I would be there for the rest of my life and I had songs to write so I called up my good friend, Ratso (?) AKA Larry Sloman and I was like I need to start dictating, I need to start talking and I need you to help me so, and he did and he’d helped me to do Scar Tissue as well.
Presenter: Tell us the photographer’s name.
Anthony Kiedis: David Mushegain. A beautiful Armenian American… [Presenter: he does good work].You know what? He’s so good at what he does and he’s a very unique individual. He’s not in it for the money; he’s not in it for the glory. He’s just a guy who likes to be out in the world, in the mix, in the soup- meeting, talking, smelling, intermingling and he was the inspiration for this.
Presenter: Did you start with this book in mind?
Anthony Kiedis: No. I made friends with David. I started surfing; we were surf friends. I realised he was a photographer. He came on tour. We went to Japan at the very beginning of ‘I’m With You’ and we were getting ready to play our show and he was like, ‘I’m going to go out into the audience.’ And I was like you know that’s a lot of people out there and it can be a little crazy and he was like, ‘Yeah yeah.’ He came back five hours later…and was like, ‘Look at these cool pictures I took.’ And I looked at these pictures and I was like, what? Those people are out there and they’ve been there for two days and it kind of re-stimulated my connection with the fact that there are people that live and breathe and love and it’s all about music and I was so far away, and so sequestered in my little backstage area that I was like, wait a second, there’s a little bit of a phenomenon going on here and I think it’s time to celebrate those human beings that have travelled for hundreds of miles and slept in the rain and are there for the joy and the spirit and the love and that’s when the light-bulb went off. And this picture on the cover that I’m showing you, of the father and daughter in Japan, was the first picture I saw and I said we have to do a book.
Presenter: What do you know about this guy?
Anthony Kiedis: What we know about this guy is that he was a punk rocker in the early 80s; he listened to our first record, put us away for like five years until ‘Mother’s Milk’ came out and then became a bit of a devotee. And as you can see, he has the tattoo and he’s got Flea’s face on his arm and he actually has some quotes in here, umm…. if you want to pick up the book I won’t sit here and read this to you, but what I know is that this picture says a lot… And you can see the love and the passion in his posture and in his expression.
Presenter: You know it’s so interesting to hear you tell the story of your reaction to those first few photos because clearly every time you go out on stage you can see those people but it seems for a moment you are saying that you have forgotten that that crowd is made up of lots of individual people on their own journeys.
Anthony Kiedis: True. And I do feel the crowd and I feel the gratitude and I feel the energy and all of the intensity that sort of universal soul that we all share at that moment when we are playing and dancing and just communing. And I feel that on stage and I feel connected but when I’m backstage and doing set lists and vocal warm-ups and eating my silly little foods and whatnot, I forget that there are individuals that have their own stories, that have their own lives, that have their layers of where they come from, and how they came to be, what they are into and what they are like; you know what their experiences and it took a few pictures by David for me to kinda wake up and go, it’s time for me to turn the camera away from myself and put it on these people and find out who they are.
Presenter: When you are on stage do you see individual people?
Anthony Kiedis: I try not to…
Presenter: Try not to? What about if their tops are off?
Anthony Kiedis: I try to! [Presenter laughs]…. Yeah, usually only because it breaks my concentration. If I start starring at an individual, I’m thinking about them; whether they are happy or sad or naked or not. Umm… I love to see the group and stay in the musical moment so I can listen to Josh and Flea and Chad and be part of what we’re bringing to them. Yeah… the individual could distract me.
Presenter: Did the stories that David got surprise you about how important your band is to some people- they plan their summer vacations around you sometimes.
Anthony Kiedis: I’m always surprised. I may be jaded and kind of seen it and done it all in some regards but whenever I do read these things and whenever I do stop to kinda smell the individual flower of a human being along the way, it is impactful and I do take a pause and go, ‘WHAT?!’ You got on a plane with ten dollars in your pocket and slept on a park bench just so you could have this experience? And it’s helpful because as a person who’s on tour and you go from town to town and show to show and you’ve done these songs a hundred times; you might be feeling lazy or tired or selfish or whatever and just kinda wanna fold it in a little bit, but you can’t, because for them it’s the one and only time they might ever see you and it means the world to them. And it is their summer, and it’s the moment of their summer; so yes, I am surprised and if I could, I’d like to read this [ad break] .
Presenter talking about the book signing, etc.
Anthony Kiedis: And by the way, Flea will be there. And out drummer whose name I forget but he will be there…
Presenter: I think it’s Chad.
Anthony Kiedis: Yeah, Chad. There’s a great picture in here of a beautiful woman wearing a t-shirt that quite simply says, ‘I prefer the drummer’.
Presenter: You wanted to read from a section by a fan…
Anthony Kiedis: It’s a section by a girl named Valentina from Argentina aged 17; umm… and she lives in Buenos Aires. And the fans have little quotes and stories about where they are coming from and she says this; she has a very kind of doe-eyed, humble look on her face and she says; ‘Red Hot Chili Peppers, they are not just a band, they are love. I think all who hear them feel a magical connection. Their music is genuine and crazy, full of feelings, power, adrenaline, emotions that vibrate the spirit of everyone. I have friends I have met through them and their music, people I have never have imagined knowing and I am grateful to know. We’re a great family. It is hard to imagine a world without the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And I have to tell you as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers that makes me feel very good.
Presenter: I can’t imagine how that feels.
Anthony Kiedis: To say that she feels part of a family, that she’s met people that she could not have imagined without us, somewhere along the way, we did something right.
Presenter: Are you surprised to see your band still going strong after 30 years, Anthony?
Anthony Kiedis: “Yes and no. I couldn’t imagine it not being there and I still love it and I still love my mates that we play with, but at the same time if I look at it objectively, it seems impossible for four people to stay together this long doing something that involves so much emotion and ego and struggle and travel and strife and highs and lows. It’s mathematically nearly impossible.”
Presenter: says he’s a Rage Against the Machine fan and that they couldn’t do it
Anthony Kiedis: It’s harder than it looks.
Presenter: What’s the secret?
Anthony Kiedis: It’s no secret. We workhard, we do… umm… you know we do… Flea is my brother. We act like brothers. We fight like brothers. We go away from each other for periods of time like brothers. But he really is my family. We grew up together so I can’t quit him and as much as he would like to [presenter laughs], he can’t quit me. So we are kinda together no matter what and we like to play music. And writing songs is still challenging and magical and you know we went on this tour for three years and the results are in this book. We had fun.
Presenter: Is writing song is every time you start as daunting as it was in the beginning?
Anthony Kiedis: A little more so now.
Presenter: More? Because you have more to compare it to?
Anthony Kiedis: No because when you are a kid and younger and have no money or nowhere to live or no expectation, you just throw caution to the wind and you write and you don’t care. And you’re tuned into the pulse of being alive. The longer you go, you have success and become less connected. And you have a big house, now you have some people who work for you. Now you’re sequestered and isolated and less connected and you’re older and not part of the new upcoming scene; you’re part of this thing that’s been around forever. So it’s not that inspiration goes away but something does go away. Your desperation, your dirtiness of being the kid… on the street goes away… It goes away. Look at the greatest song writers ever, they kinda peter out, You’re like, wait, wait, wait… this can’t be. You’re like the greatest song-writer ever of the 60s, of the 70s, that shouldn’t change.
Presenter: You’re talking about Paul McCartney I know.
Anthony Kiedis: I’m talking about all of our favourites, all of the geniuses…
Presenter interrupts: All of the geniuses do their best work in their twenties.
Anthony Kiedis: Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. And so it is daunting when I pick up my little push pencil and I want to do something that’s revolutionary or , you know, completely gonna tear somebody’s heart open, it’s harder because I live in a very comfortable world. A little too comfortable.
Presenter: Is it hard not to repeat yourself, do you find yourself thinking that’s too much like something else.
Anthony Kiedis: Yes, I think all writers hate to repeat themselves. I don’t even like to use the same words twice.
Presenter: I guess that happens to you not on purpose.
Anthony Kiedis: It happens not on purpose and sometimes there’s continuity and I don’t mind it, you know, and if that’s really what I’m feeling and I felt that ten years ago but I’m still feeling it, I’m not going to avoid it just because I wrote about it ten years ago. I’ll write about it again hopefully with a twist, something new. But I can also say that having people like Flea, Chad and Josh in the band make it lot easier to persevere over that complacency or comfortability because they are animals and they don’t stop wanting to go someplace new.
Presenter: Who in the band challenges you the most?
Anthony Kiedis: Emotionally or musically?
Presenter: Whichever way.
Anthony Kiedis: Emotionally Flea and musically Josh. Not that Flea isn’t a musical mastermind of his own but Josh is coming from a different place and he’s very eccentric musically and he likes never ending chord progressions that would take a bit of a mathematician to understand but in the end they are these beautiful pieces of music; so he’s different and he’s coming from a different era so musically it’s challenging just to get my head around where he’s coming from but he’s also a waterfall, he’s a well, he lives it, he’s at home right now wherever he is, working on music.
[Radio presenter talking about the book signing]
Presenter: You talk about in the preface, the 10 000 words, of this book about growing up of being a fan of Jimi Hendrix, of being a fan of James Brown, Paul McCartney; have you lost your ability to fan out on other musical artists now you’re as successful as you are or are there still someone people out there that just blow your mind, that you’d be nervous to meet?
Anthony Kiedis: Nervous to meet, all the time. Yeah, I wish I wasn’t, because as I describe in those 10 000 words, it instantly puts up walls of separation when you put somebody on a pedestal, when you met them, instead of just accepting them as an equal on some level, as a human, you look at them with too much admiration, you start thinking about all these things they that did for you in your life and it’s hard to communicate, earnestly, so yeah, but it’s something I have no control over so when I see Boy Dylan walk through the party and I’d like to treat him as some average person so we can talk about whatever, I just can’t; it’s like uh uh uh uh…
Presenter: [laughs] It’s good that you’re aware of that because it gives you a little empathy for what fans of yours go through when they met you sometimes and can’t get a sentence out, right?
Anthony Kiedis: I need the empathy.
Presenter talks about meeting Magic Johnston and trying to say what he means to a Laker fan and that he said something stupid like you’re great. You can’t even start to explain what that person means to you.
Anthony Kiedis: No, that’s beautiful though… It’s beautiful, you’re humiliating experience though [laughs]. I met Mike Tyson in the early 90s when he was just on fire and I was so frozen at the sight of him walking down the Laker court, actually, that I went up to him and said, ‘We love you guys’ [presenter laughs] and I don’t know who we is and don’t know who guys was, but it was me telling him that I loved him… And Flea was there to witness to it… but he wasn’t there standing next to me at the time, maybe in spirit, but there was no justification to it.
Presenter: We’re almost out of time, Anthony. Where have you surfed in the world since we talked to you? I know you’re always looking for new spots.
Anthony Kiedis: I went to the Philippines we played a festival just outside Manila, by the way, you know Filipinos are some of the most beautiful people on earth; sweet, humble, loving, giving, rad people …And I got on a small plane and went to an island called Siargao. They said, there’s no waves this time of year, it’s windy. Best waves of my life. Electric blue water, a colour I hadn’t seen before. And yeah, Malibu all the time.
Presenter: That’s beautiful. That’s the life right there by the way. You’ve earned it but that’s cool to get to go to all of the places you get to go and then zip out for a little surfing while you’re there, you know?
Anthony Kiedis: I surfed in Brazil too on this last tour.
Presenter: Another Fandemonium plug. Before we let you go, where are you in the cycle of the Red Hot Chili Peppers world right now?
Anthony Kiedis: We have written about 30 songs and we’re trying to make them better and kind of go over arrangements and lyrics, so we’re about to start recording a record.
Presenter: Do you have a target number? 30 songs?
Anthony Kiedis: [he & presenter discuss numbers]. But we’ll par it way down but we’ll probably accidentally write ten more before we finish this process. It’s difficult. I wish that we would just write 13 and call it a day but we don’t. So we’ll start recording in December and see what happens. I feel like it’s a better collection of songs than our last record, and I was happy with our last record, but I think this is sort of Josh’s coming of age moment with the band. It’s fun.
Presenter: Congratulations on the book; it looks awesome. Perfect timing for a Christmas present for a RHCP fan.
Anthony Kiedis: Well, I’m glad you like it.
Presenter: Talks about book signing that night at The Grove. Anthony always a pleasure catching up with you. Thanks so much for coming in.
Anthony Kiedis: Thank you
Link to recording of Anthony Kiedis on KROQ