There’s an actual algebraic equation out there stating that the less I enjoy a musician’s output, the more entertaining his memoir becomes. It probably goes without saying that the bands with the corniest music have the most debauched tales to tell. That explains why the Mötley Crüe tome The Dirt is one of the most revered rock bios of all time. Also, the fact that writer Neil Strauss did all of the prosaic heavy lifting has something to do with that.
There are few musicians whose output I enjoy less than Anthony Kiedis, therefore his autobiography Scar Tissue should be completely riveting. Plus, Daniel already beat me to the Steven Tyler memoir, and that guy sets off my soul’s gag reflex.
Here are some starting observations:
The story begins with an introduction where a “beautiful young woman” (naturally) comes over to his house to inject him with some new age snake oil in order to remove “toxins” aka Hep C from his blood. Since this is Anthony Kiedis, his would be nurse removes her pink fishnet stockings (!) and ties his arm off with them (!!!) for his injection. This is par for the course for a guy who once built a vaginal fireplace. Seriously. It’s was mentioned in the The New York Times Magazine.
When he talks about his parents and their ethnic backgrounds (Lithuanian, Dutch, English, French…white, basically) he mentions how he recently discovered that he has “some Mohican blood.” This is his convenient excuse for his tacky exotification of Native American culture through corny tattoos and he even admits that this must explain his fascination with “Mother Earth.” It wouldn’t be surprising to find out he’s about as Mohican as Daniel Day-Lewis. Although, if he ever met Daniel Day-Lewis, I bet they’d have a blast bonding over what it’s like to pretend to be Native American.
His upbringing is legitimately dark. His dad was some misguided drug dealer to the stars as well as an unrepentant lowlife and hedonist. When he was in middle school, Kiedis ended up losing his virginity after his dad basically lent his son his girlfriend for the night. You figure some good art would have come from that magnitude of dysfunction, but no, Kiedis channeled his developmental baggage into writing songs like “Sir Psycho Sexy” and “Party on Your Pussy.”
He proudly recounts a story about how when he was small, he would con neighborhood kids out of spare change by promising an impromptu but fake Partridge Family concert in his basement. It makes sense that his start as a performer was essentially the musical equivalent of carnival hucksterism. Throughout the 80s and 90s, he had been conning audiences into believing that his uber macho frat boy funk was in some way connected to punk rock.
Congratulations, Kiedis, I’m just 100 pages in and only up to the point where you finished high school and I already hate you in a thousand different ways.