Home / Scar Tissue – by Anthony Kiedis

Scar Tissue – by Anthony Kiedis

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The singer/lyricist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has just come out with his autobiography, and I must say it is one amazing book.

The reason I find it amazing is that it exists, sort of like Samuel Johnson’s appreciation of the dog that walked, albeit poorly, on its hind legs.

You know how it’s always about sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll?

This book is about sex, DRUGS, and rock ‘n roll.

Because Kiedis’ whole life, since he was a teenager (he’s 42 now), has been an ongoing search for a drug high, only occasionally interrupted by the requirements of being in a big-time band.

What makes this book fascinating to someone as straight as me is how a person can manage to survive the drug-crazed binges and behavior that recur again and again and again.

What makes the book readable and engaging is the author’s personality, very self-deprecating and aware of his failings and never attempting to hide behind or blame others for the disasters that repeatedly befall him.

Kiedis basically says, “I’m a screw-up, but I’m really trying hard not to be.”

The “trail of tears,” as it were, of destroyed relationships both with his bandmates (themselves no novices, by any means, when it comes to self-destruction) and lovers is just endless.

I’ve always heard that druggies will do anything for a fix: this book makes that crystal (perhaps the wrong word…)-clear.

Consider the following anecdote:

    On one of these benders I ran out of drugs at four-thirty in the morning. At that point in time, I wasn’t dialed in to ATM technology; when I needed money, I’d go to a bank and take out a chunk of money on a credit card, or I’d visit an American Express office, where I could take out as much as ten thousand dollars at a shot. But for now I had no money, no stuff, and was in a frenzy to get high.

    What I did have was a beautiful white Stratocaster guitar signed by all of the Rolling Stones. Tommy Mottola had given it to me when he was trying to sign the Chili Peppers to Sony/Epic.

    I figured I could go downtown and get at least a couple hundred dollars’ worth of dope for that guitar. So I went down to those dimly lit back alleys where the men sell their wares, but there was only one guy working the street at that late hour.

    “What can I get for this?” I asked him, proffering the guitar.

    He shrugged. “Nothing.”

    “No, no, you don’t understand,” I pressed on. “This guitar is signed by the Rolling Stones.”

    “Dinero, señor, dinero,” he kept repeating. He was fresh up over the border, and he obviously couldn’t speak English and didn’t give a rat’s ass about the Rolling Stones.

    “But this is valuable,” I protested.

    He finally offered me the tiniest amount of heroin I’d ever seen.

    “No, more,” I begged, but he indicated it was that or nothing. I was so desperate that I bartered the signed guitar for some drugs that would get me high for about ten minutes.

Interspersed with crazyness like that were constant stays in rehab centers to clean up: I’d estimate Kiedis describes at least eight one-month stays, with many shorter visits.

Nothing worked for any length of time.

He did manage a five and a half year period of staying clean in the early nineties but fell back into his habit.

After more years of insanity, he managed to get clean again in 2000, and as of the book’s publication this fall, had stayed drug-free for some four years.

But he’s all too aware of how tenuous is his grip on sobriety.

Anyway, apart from this dominant theme, his book’s full of wonderful anecdotes about his dealings with just about everyone who’s anyone now or in the past twenty years in pop music.

They’re all here: Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Gwen Stefani, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, and on and on.

Here’s Kiedis on being the opening act for the Rolling Stones:

    But opening for the Stones is a crummy job anyway. I can’t recommend it to anybody. You get the offer and you think, “Historically speaking, they’re the second most important rock band in the history of music, after the Beatles. So we should have a brush with history.”

    But the fact is, the Rolling Stones audience today is lawyers and doctors and CPAs and contractors and real estate development people. This is a conservative, wealthy group. No one’s rocking out. The ticket prices and merchandise costs are astronomical. It’s more like “Let’s go to the Rolling Stones mall and watch them play on the big screen.”

    The whole experience is horrible. First you get there, and they won’t let you do a sound check. Then they give you an eightieth of the stage. They set aside this tiny area and say, “This is for you. You don’t get the lights, and you’re not allowed to use our sound system. And oh, by the way, you see that wooden floor? That’s Mick’s imported antique wood flooring from the Brazilian jungle, and that’s what he dances on. If you so much as look at it, you won’t get paid.”

Bonus: The book’s chock full of great pictures of the band, Kiedis from the time he was little on up through his formative teen years with the band, Kiedis’ ex-girlfriends – among them Ione Skye, Jaime Rishar, and many others – and friends, family, and the like.

This book is as close as I ever want to come to being in a big-time rock ‘n roll band.

Highly recommended.

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About bookofjoe

  • I’m a sucker for a good rock biography (or auto-) and this one sounds great.

    I wonder how much he talks about the music though: how they came together, his relationship with Flea, the different albums, the revolving door of guitarists (I’m imagaining there’s much about this due to the drug abuse factor), etc.

    Great review — thanks.

    Eric Berlin
    Dumpster Bust: Miracles from Mind Trash

  • Oh, and from an utterly gossip-related angle, I’m very curious to learn about the Kiedis/Dave Navarro friendship/falling out. The last I heard, Kiedis didn’t bother to RSVP Navarro’s wedding invitation (immortalized on MTV’s Navarro/Carmen Elektra reality show).

  • vinnie

    this bio is bril ill always luv the red hot chili peppers

  • Linda

    I have just finished reading this book today and must say it was one of the most amazing books I have ever read. Your review of it is spot on and it pleases me to know that people other than those of have used drugs or are using drugs currently can relate to the stories like you have.

  • Dagmar

    Although I enjoyed the book hugely, I did find Kiedis somewhat self indulgent, not in the obvious sense, but in the way he wrote. Lets just say this guy has no self esteem issues whatsoever. He often writes as if he is poud of his behaviour, particularly when it comes to the number of female conquests. Where does morality come in? Not very often in this read.

  • I am looking forward to it. One thing I have always dug about Keidis is how candid he was. Dude never shrugged a question of spoke a bad word of anyone. For a life long drug addict and life long rock star… dude is humble and appreciative.

    that is more than I can say about 95% of most rock stars out there.

  • I have just finished the book and I have to say it was one of the best books I’ve read. I have to disagree with Dagmar. I don’t think Anthony is proud of his drug use, nor do I think he is ashamed of it. He often says that he didn’t want to do the drugs but mentally thats all he wanted because of the voice inside his head saying “Go get high”. The number of female conquests are another thing. He wasn’t happy with them but he wasn’t ashamed either, over time he realized he didn’t want a girl who threw herself at him just because he was the dude in Red Hot Chili Peppers.

  • I realize you have to squeeze a whole lotta’ life in one book but……quote(by Anthony in St. Barts regarding Clair) “I’d been with her when she was using and had to forgive her and go forward…….”, from when he first met her(and found out she was using), said guote “I wished her luck and told her I hoped she’d find a way with her problems. I went back to work in Hollywood”. Adios Amigo!! Don’t get me wrong,I think he was very supportive on the financial side. What happened??

  • Lauren

    I think he was tired of supporting someone with a drug problem, when he was out there trying to not think about his own addiction, which I believe at the time he was trying to stay clean during those five years before he had gone into relapse again.

  • MaggieMac

    Lauren, I think he was tired of supporting someone financially that was so ungrateful and when he needed her support emotionally she let him down.My point being that at that time he sounded bitter. Which he had every right to, she was very self-centered. But….when he wasn’t using and she was, he wanted nothing to do with her. Hence my query, him saying he was there for her when she was using. She kicked it until she met up with him again.There obviously is more to the story than we read. Anthony is a sweet,kind, misguided soul.Look at him and his mother!

  • Lauren

    I have to agree with you totally. But the point I was trying to make in my last comment was that, when he wasn’t using she wasn’t around, when he was using, it was because she was around (most of the time), I just think that besides her being very helpless and very unappreciative, I think deep down he wanted to also get rid of her because he truly did want to stay sober but with her being there, it was hard. I don’t know.

  • Celine

    Just like the original commentor said, when I read this book, I thought it was amazing how A.K. is still alive after oh so many tries of killing himself with the help of drugs. I hope he continues to stay sober, because that band makes great music and it would be such a shame for them to come to a screeching end because Kiedis was found dead in a seedy hotel with a needle sticking out of his arm. So, AK, keep strong! You have so much to live for.

  • ddd


  • Does he talk about his sexual assault conviction?

    I think Anthony owes Iggy Pop royalty checks for stealing his image and style as well.

    That is all.

  • loonyhead

    i just finished the book yesterday…i think i enjoyed it so much because it read like he was sitting there talking to me. it was just so raw, and it made me feel every emotion i have. im very glad he chose to share his life, or story with others…it can be very theraputic and healing. i believe one of the reasons we are all here is to help and teach each other, and i did pick up some wisdom from this story. i will not share it here, because it applies to my life personaly, but i will say that i am so grateful that certain people in this world choose to share their wisdom through stories and music, and different types of art. i did love reading this book and im grateful that Mr. Keidis shared his thoughts and feelings and leasons with us all…

  • Betsy

    I have to say that this was one of the first books i have ackully read and it was the best just because it made me love the music that much more and i just related to it so much after reading it i have to say it gave me some hope that i can get better and fix the things that need to be fixed because i am having so of the same problems that anthony use to have with drugs and if i never read that book i have to say that i probley would have never tryed to look for the better in it all and i just want to say thank you for that book and that Anthony Kiedis you are the best

  • Danielle

    Wow, Scar Tissue is the best book I have ever read! he’s just so honest about everything… good and bad, what a legend. I love this guy so much and reading the book made me love their music much more than I used to :o) Anthony Kiedis is the best!

  • na

    he talks about the music a lot. Explaining basically each albums recording process and the chemistry between the band mates or lack there-of. He also writes about his and Flea’s progression in to a really close friendship.

  • Danny

    I just finished this book and I’m doing a book report on it. I was looking around on all the different reviews to see if everyone enjoyed anthony’s adventures as much as I did. Not only is this the best book I read for school, its the best preiod. Anthony is kick ass and so are the Chili Peppers!

  • The story about opening for the Rolling Stones certainly jibes with my memory of seeing the Stones in Charlotte, NC, when Blues Traveler opened for them. They had a small part of the stage, too, as if the Stones were going to make absolutely sure they would not be upstaged no matter how good the opening act is.

    And yes, it was an audience full of bankers and lawyers — the recent AmeriQuest sponsorship actually fits in with them perfectly.

    Still a great show though.

  • luis

    red hot chili peppers are awesome and this book made me like then alot more ,its amazing……………………..anthony ruleeess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • jenmon

    i just finished reading this book a couple days ago and ti was amazing. its made me think in ways i never had before and strive to be a better person. i admire the way that anthony looks at life. hes just an amazing guy. my hero.

  • Maria

    i read the book, its good but i had no idea how fucked up this dude is, all i have to say is that Anthony Kiedis is WEAK!!!!
    But anyways keep making good tunes. i also liked how he gave humbles to Pearl Jam that was cool.


  • Settit

    what a hottie…i dont know why im commenting but i WILL buy that book!!!!!

  • Nadia

    It is a book you’ll read over and over. Highly recommended.

  • Lance

    I can’t understand why he dated Claire Essex!

  • Anthony

    Thank you for taking the time to share your personal life with your fans.It takes a HUGE amount of courage and strength to publish a book of home truths about one’s self!

    Is there a chance for a Scar tissue2 or an entire band biography?


    The thing about Anthony is that his father irresponsibly exposed him to drugs at a young, impressionable age and unfortunately, helped push Anthony in the direction of unbridled drug use and addiction. As far as his conquests with women, it doesn’t take drugs, just testosterone and one healthy, horny boy. From what I have read in assorted interviews, he counts himself lucky to have survived his addictions and feels lucky to be alive, having lost at least one friend to drugs. The excellent thing is he has learned from his experiences and is continually growing and changing and making himself a better, drug-free person. So I say, HOORAY ANTHONY!!! You go guy! I wish you peace and harmony of mind, fun and fantasy, stability, and eternal youth. You inspire me.

  • krystal

    after reading all these comments about this book i will DEFINITLY buy this book. i think it sounds inspiring and i agree w/ soozq. y wood his pops introduce him to drugs i think thats wrong well i will buy this is book. anthony is so hot!

  • kayla

    i really wanna read this book, id b pretty sweet…i love <3<3<3<3 anthony...hes so awsome, im even writing a paper n school bout him on y he is my hero....I LUV U ANTHONY<3!!!!!!!!!

  • Wow… I am getting this book in a couple of days and already I can’t wait… It sounds amazing… And, it has to be, because the author, Anthony Kiedis, is SO TALENTED. I love him more than I love anyone else… He is so gorgeous, he is an amazing song writer, he makes amazing and beautiful music, and he can dance and sing up a storm!!! Read It!!!
    Chilis Rule!!!!

  • Barbie

    Wow, I still have chills. I began reading this book at the beggining of my own recovery. I know God wanted me to read it. I just sorta stumbled apon it. I’d read some of his story then bust out my NA book. It has inspired me so much, and I believe has helped me stay clean. I’d give anything to tell him thankyou. I’m so proud of him and me! Anyone who is ready to take the next step and free themselves from drug addiction please read this book. I’m only 24 so I know how lucky I am to be starting now. I don’t wan’t to die. Thankyou Scorpio man of my dreams.

  • what i fink about anthony kiedis he is always silly but lasttime his shirt blew up sometimes he got a toxic wedgie

  • CJ

    Im 12,a here is a book from my favorite celebrity,and it’s not suprising that I couldn’t put this book down.

    Cole Dammett is forever my favorite author.

  • Jessica

    I’m in love with this book.I’v read it a million times and i cry everytime i finish it.lol.i actually got “Scar Tissue” tattooed on my arm.thats really how much the book meant to me.if you have not read this book i suggest you go buy it now.(dont check it out at the library or borrow it..BUY IT.i promise you’ll want to read it over and over again.)

  • I have read this book before and it’s a very nice book. Anthony Kiedis is really frank about himself! I just hope he can write another book to record his experience in the past few years including his current 20 year old girlfriend! http://fandaily.info/celebrities/helena-vestergaard-is-anthony-kiedis-model-girlfriend-photos-pic-age-wiki-bio/