Flea:’ In obsession, there is joy. But if it’s safe, I’m not sure.’


The singer and actor, 58, growing out of pain and writing lessons from Patti Smith on falling in and out of love with his band

I have always seen life as a chance. If it’s to learn or to explore.

I’m never more excited than when I come across something new to get excited about. That can be anything as easy as table tennis, but I want to get really good at it if I get excited about table tennis! For me, there is no middle ground.

Whether it is mentally, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, or whatever, I am always searching for new ways to improve myself.

I love to drive. I had an unhealthy drug relationship with my generation. Now that sounds like some real old man crap, but I’m not worried about them doing that as far as the younger generation goes.

I think about how much time they’re spending in front of phones and computers.

I’m concerned about life being lost right now. I’m intrigued by relationships. From them, you learn so much. In the Himalayas, you could live in a cave and meditate for 50 years, standing on one leg in a tree stance, trying to find yourself. Or that one could get married. I’m far enough away to provide an objective view of it from childhood.

That’s the reason I’m writing in my book about it.

My childhood has ended. There’s no band [Red Hot Chili Peppers], so I haven’t written about it. The band is performing now.

I still don’t have a distance from the good and the poor of the band. I’ve been up and down about the band too many times.

“Can we keep going without repeating ourselves?”I don’t want to do this anymore, I want to grow, I don’t want to be kept captive by money or fame or power.”I don’t want to do this anymore, I want to grow, I don’t want to be held captive by money or fame or power.”

But for me, I’m not sure it’s healthy. Why am I becoming obsessed with these stuff? Is it apprehension or anxiety, or a longing to be understood? To communicate and find the beautiful things in life with the divine? I guess my story lies in trying to make myself understand that.

Definitely, my book is part of the process of coming to terms with myself. The stuff people did during my childhood were really traumatic. Stuff about myself that I didn’t like. In my life, there are moments that I think that I might have been insensitive.

That sort of action is easy to rationalize.

It’s a tool for survival. With excuses for why we acted a certain way, we try to explain it to ourselves.

But you will flourish with modesty and integrity. You’re able to get stronger. There’s a look my favorite writers have.

It takes some time, I suppose, to find that.

I thought my style was the feverish rant, but while I think there’s a time and place for that, the best writing is also entertaining to read. I was helped a lot by Patti Smith.

“She told me, “It’s like making music, Flea.

You go off and vamp occasionally.

You’ve got to play an ensemble part often.

You play solo occasionally.

You can use all those skills in writing, too.” Once I understood the parallels between the two art forms, I began to find my voice.Acid for the Children, Flea’s autobiography, is published by Headline at £10.99.

Buy it for £9.61 at guardianbookshop.com.


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