My Spotlight Review of Anthony Kiedis's Scar Tissue

Additional commentary by Timothy Horrigan; December 7, 2011

This was an "Showcase Review" for a while— until better reviews came along. As of the day the Red Hot Chili Peppers were inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame, 22 of 32 voters found my review useful:

Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis:

This thick book is the memoirs of a relatively young (early 40s) and not particularly mature man--- who just happens to be Anthony Kiedis, the singer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There's lots and lots of sex and drugs here, along with some rock and roll. He structures it as the traditional tale of the slow rise to stardom, followed by a few years of excess with redemption and sobriety at the end of the road. The joke is, however, that the rise to fame was pretty quick (though, thanks to drug use and bad recording contracts, fortune arrived long after fame did)--- and he has lost and found sobriety many times during a career which is now well into its third decade.

His writing (in collaboration with a ghostwriter named Larry Sloman) is engaging, his sense of humor is sharp. He names names and tells scandalous stories on everyone from Sonny & Cher to Nirvana to the Spice Girls--- especially on himself and his bandmates. I am not sure if all these stories actually happened, but even the lies have the ring of truth. This is not a masterpiece, but it's worth looking at. To quote one of the band's album titles, this book is full of blood, sugar, sex and magic.

by Timothy Horrigan; March 8, 2005

URL of original review:

I remember when the Anthony Keidis and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers were just a couple of kids with a little talent and big dreams. I first saw them in 1983 (give or take a year) at one of their first gigs, at a little joint on Sunset Boulevard (or possibly Hollywood Boulevard), somewhere on the West Side of Los Angeles, by the name of "Club Lingerie."

Club Lingerie's name was misleading: it was just a smallish space with a bar on side of the room and a stage on another: there was no lingerie on display. I went there that night to see one of my old favorites from my my misspent youth in New York City: James Chance, aka James White. He showed up without a band, so the Red Hots and a few other random musicians had to fill in for the Contortions or the Whites (as the case may have been.) The show was sloppy but awesome.

I was back in New Hampshire as soon when the Red Hot Chili Peppers eponymous debut album appeared at a little record store on Main Street in Durham, NH called the Listening Post (a predecessor to the current Durham Book Exchange.) I didn't find the LP in the racks at the Listening Post until the spring of 1985,  eight months or so after it was officially released. I think I paid $3.97 for it. I was massively depressed at the time, and I hated it. I gave their second album Freakey Styley a try only because George Clinton of P-Funk fame produced it, and I loved that one. The first album sounds just fine to me now, although Kiedis says in his book that he was disappointed by it.

Be that as it may, the Red Hot Chili Peppers have been inducted into an institution which didn't even exist in 1983: the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame. Congratulations!


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