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Thirty years on from the release of their eponymous debut album, funk rock pioneers the Red Hot Chili Peppers remain one of the most respected rock groups in the world.
Two years after their induction into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, bassist Flea is about to follow in the footsteps of frontman Anthony Kiedis by writing his memoirs, which will document his rise to fame in the mid-1980s and his subsequent three decades living in the spotlight.
Born Michael Balzary in Australia in 1962, Flea and Kiedis became friends in high school and formed the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the early 1980s, releasing their first album through EMI in August 1984.
Despite gaining a loyal fan base and critical acclaim, it would not be until their reworking of the Stevie Wonder classic Higher Ground in 1989 that the band would finally enjoy their commercial breakthrough, while the accompanying album Mother’s Milk would mark their first Platinum-selling record. Other hits would soon follow, with Under the Bridge climbing to number two in the Billboard Hot 100, and Give It Away, Aeroplane and Love Rollercoaster becoming regular staples of MTV.
Even as the band were enjoying their rise to fame, Flea embarked on an acting career, enjoying minor acclaim through a series of supporting roles that ranged from the Back to the Future sequels to My Own Private Idaho and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Flea is reportedly working on an as-yet-untitled autobiography that will explore the weird and wonderful world of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, while also exploring his Hollywood career and childhood.
A press release published by Time revealed that the memoir will include ‘His move from a ‘normal’ upbringing in the suburbs of New York to Los Angeles to live a bohemian life with a jazz musician step-father; his young, rebellious life on the streets of LA where he befriends Anthony Kiedis and founds the Red Hot Chili Peppers with Kiedis and two other high school friends; details about his sometimes complex friendship and collaboration with Kiedis; his myriad experiences with hard drugs; and, of course, the tumultuous creative journey of the legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers through its various incarnations over the last thirty years, according to Flea.’Red Hot Chili Peppers released their tenth studio album I’m with You in August 2011 to mostly positive reviews. Having established a new, more radio friendly sound with 1999’s Californication, Billboard noted that, ‘I’m With You is a continuation of this path; an album that doesn’t showcase many new sonic directions, but functions more like a victory lap for a veteran band. It may not make the Chilis any new fans, but it should please the countless ones they already have.’
Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone, meanwhile, Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone, meanwhile, notes how the band have adapted since once again parting ways with guitarist John Frusciante; ‘they’ve gone back to the essentials of the freaky-styley funk punk that Kiedis, Flea and drummer Chad Smith invented: fretpoppin’ grooves that open up into grand, sunny pop choruses.’