Anthony Kiedis features in a long interview with Larry Grobel that has been included in Grobel’s book, ‘Icons’. In 2010 Grobel originally published the cover feature story on Anthony Kiedis for a Polish magazine called ‘Trendy’ but until inclusion in this book, the interview hasn’t been available in English.
Kiedis also features on the cover- along with other celebrities whose ’Trendy’ interviews are included in the book e.g. Halle Berry, Kim Basinger, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster- and there are further photos of Anthony inside, including one of AK and his father, Blackie Dammett.
Q: Your memoir, Scar Tissue, came out in 2004, and the paperback edition is still featured prominently in most bookstores. Looking back, are you pleased with how the book was received and do you have any regrets about anything you wrote?
KIEDIS: While writing Scar Tissue, I had certain ideas of what I wanted to express: father and son stories, surviving my own madness, the flavor of the 1970′s and 1980′s.
By the time it became public property it took on a complete life of its own. It took on a life that was in my opinion more important than my initial intentions. The way people resonated with overcoming struggle turned out to be the sweetest note in the pages. As for regrets, yes there were a couple. But to point them out specifically would only give me regrets again. I realized in hindsight that it’s not my place to share the naked truth of others while I’m telling my own.
Q: There’s a lot of self-analysis, or at least self-awareness in Scar Tissue. What motivated you to write it?
KIEDIS: I was prompted by a friend, Guy O. I was entertaining him with stories from the eighties and he said, ‘You have to write this in a book.’ I didn’t think I was old enough to write my memoirs, but he coerced me to lose a ton of money in the stock market and as a way of making that up he found me a great book deal. He introduced me to this crazy book agent, then put all the wheels in motion. In my mind I thought I could do it in a few weeks, but it turned into a year long labor of love/get me out of this.
Q: What did you learn about yourself by writing the book?
KIEDIS: I learned more about how people perceive me and my band, because I already knew it all. It wasn’t the first time I’ve told my story, or the most intimate details of my story; I’ve gone through personal inventories and have done many cathartic conversations as a necessity to getting over drug addiction. That’s part of the process. I had already come across the patterns of my life.
Q: One pattern was that each time you broke up with a girl you went back to using drugs.
KIEDIS: Right. That was pointed out to me very painfully in a rehab one time. During what they call ‘Relapse Prevention.’ There were thirteen other absolute misfits who wanted to be clean but kept going back to using. We did ten year calendars and looked at the patterns. It was very much to do with romance.
Q: What was the most difficult part of the book to write?
KIEDIS: Just committing to it for so long. And then dealing with the book publisher, dealing with the lawyers, who called me up and said ‘We can’t use half this book unless you get permission from all these people.’ And I said, ‘Why? It’s just my opinion of what happened.’ But they said I could be sued for slander, libel, blah blah blah. So I was on the phone with lawyers for hours every day, going over stuff that happened twenty-five years ago, telling me what I can say, suggesting ways to rephrase things. It seems like you should be able to say whatever you want in a book.
Q: Did you get permission from your parents? From Flea?
KIEDIS: No, oddly enough, they only wanted permission from ex-girlfriends and celebrities. Any public figure that I had an opinion on. I jokingly referred to Posh Spice as a shopaholic from my one encounter with her. The English lawyers called to say I couldn’t call Posh a shopaholic, that’s inflammatory. My assistant got a random call from a writer from Rolling Stone who wrote a book with Dave Navarro. He said, ‘I hear Anthony says some negative things about Dave.’ It’s not true, but that’s how rumors get going.
Q: Do you mind if Navarro says something nasty about you?
Kiedis: I could care less. Anyone can say anything about me. And they have, for years. Maybe there was a time when I found it upsetting, but at this point it’s water off a duck’s back. It’s funny to see how twisted people’s concepts are.
Q: Did your mother and father read your book?
KIEDIS: Pops read it, and I was OK with that. Mom was not allowed to read the book. I didn’t think she could handle it. I didn’t see how any good could come from her going through that book. She doesn’t have the emotional fabric to laugh it off. She’d take it to heart too strongly. I’d rather she didn’t. She had to live through it once already; I don’t want to drag her through it again. Anyone else, I don’t mind. They should be able to accept the ups and downs, the highs and lows that happened. It’s more the story of what can happen to a person—both the blessings and the curses, and how you end up sorting them out and getting on with things.
Q: What about your band mates—were they surprised or upset by anything you wrote?
KIEDIS: Upset them, for sure. Surprised them, no. The band dynamic creates an inherent egocentric tension because there’s this competitive brotherly love thing that’s constantly going on. It’s not possible to write a book like this without somebody in my band saying, ‘Why did you say that about me?’ Or ‘How come you didn’t say this about me?’ Or, ‘What about all that other stuff you didn’t talk about?’ Flea, because we’re so close and because our memories vary so wildly on events, had a word or two with me.
Q: You wrote about having sex with Flea’s sister, and were descriptive about her giving you head. Was Flea cool with that?
KIEDIS: I actually asked Flea before I printed it if he was OK with it. At that moment his mood was such that he said, ‘Yup, I’m fine with everything.’ When I say stuff like that, it’s not to call attention to people; it’s to say, Look, we all have our perverted side. We all have our sexual mishaps and misadventures. We all have our weaknesses and strengths, stuff that we’re ashamed of and stuff that we’re proud of. To shine a light on it is not to say, ‘Ooo, look, I got a blowjob from your sister.’ Who cares? We all do this stuff, and we don’t have to be so taboo about everything. And it’s OK to say yeah, we’re all human beings and we have these natures that we keep in the closet, but I’m not going to hide behind it.