Rock Reads: Books
– Scar Tissue
By Keavin Wiggins
Right now, I feel a bit like Anthony Kiedis
may have felt after one of the extended drug binges he described in this
book. Except in my case, I'm a bit hung-over and sleep deprived from this
compulsively readable autobiography, not drugs. For the past three
nights, I sat down with the intention to read a chapter or two before going
to sleep but I'd get to the end of a chapter and tell myself "just one
more" and before you know the sun's coming up and I've spent six hours
living Anthony's life vicariously through this book.
And what a life it has been. I'll admit
at the outset that I've never been a big Red Hot Chili Peppers fan. I've
always respected them, especially for their early work, but it was just
never my thing. That didn't stop me for really enjoying this book. The
reason for that is simple. For one there is a lot more to this book
then Anthony's musical adventures and two he really is a born storyteller.
He sucks you and makes you want to see what possibly could happen next.
I've read too many rock biographies to
count, but I do count Scar Tissue among the best. It has the
human side of Mick Fleetwood's autobiography, the wild side of Motley Crue's
Dirt and the musical adventure of Hammer of the Gods. Not bad
company to be in.
Unlike most rock bios where we get a crash
course through the artist's childhood, in Scar Tissue Anthony devotes
the first 100 pages or so of the book to his early years. And those years
were anything but typical and provide some compelling and sometimes juicy
stories. From the trials of being the child of divorced parents that live
on opposite sides of the country, to his hippy drug-dealing father who
took him under his wing at a very young age and showed him the wild side
of Hollywood. Not many kids count Sonny Bono as a baby sitter and probably
only one kid on the cusp of puberty can tell the tale of sleeping with
a naked Cher or losing his virginity to his father's girlfriend or being
turned on to drugs by that same father.
In the first 100 pages or so, we learn
a lot about Anthony and the experiences that helped develop his character.
Not being a diehard RHCP fan, I discovered some facts that I never knew,
such as Anthony's child acting and his holding court at the Rainbow with
his father and hanging out with Keith Moon and Led Zeppelin back in the
heyday of the Sunset Strip.
Music junkies should even enjoy this first
quarter of the book. Those interested in the inner-workings and behind
the scenes stories of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (or any rock band) will
not be disappointed with the rest of the book. Anthony starts that portion
of the story with his friendship to Flea and how the Red Hot Chili Peppers
were born on a whim and how Anthony didn't follow the typical childhood
dreams of rock stardom and instead fell into it. A band asked Anthony and
friends to throw together a group to perform one song to open for them.
They went over so well the club asked them to return the next week and
perform two songs and the rest is history.
Anthony really gets into the dynamics of
the band, the core relationships between the members and the trials and
tribulations of the music business, as well as the progression and development
of the group from album to album. But the main focus of the second half
of the book is Anthony's battle with addiction and the rollercoaster relationships
that only an addict can have. The reader gets to relive the transition
from partying to addiction, the hell of that addiction, the early seeds
of failed sobriety attempts and Anthony finally coming to grips with himself
and his demons and finding the right path to freedom and self-discovery.
As I stated at the beginning, Scar Tissue
is a compelling read. And not just for Red Hot Chili Pepper or even music
fans. If a fiction writer or Hollywood screenplay writer tried to sell
this story, they'd probably be thrown out of the building because it is
a bit too wild to be believed. That's the beauty of it, it is true and
Anthony did a remarkable job of laying it out for all to see. So
if you're looking for a great book to read this fall and don't mind losing
some sleep, Scar Tissue should be at the top of your "must buy"
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