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Rock Reads: Books that Rock! 
Anthony Kiedis 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 The 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" list. 


 
 

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