I've read a lot of rock star bios and this one sticks. Why? Kiedis's unflinching honesty, graphic depiction of a life lived without structure and the fact that he has lived to tell the tale. It's all here. The drugs, the booze, the sex, the debauchery. So what, you might ask, is so unusual about that? Don't all rock star bios share these elements? Yeah, most of them do. But the difference here is Anthony Kiedis's story is a bloodletting without being preachy and full of predictable fluff. He never judges, he never steps up to the pulpit and warns the world. He never shoves 12 step sensibilities down anyones' throat. He tells his tale with charm, kid bravado and, surprisingly, humility. He admits his faults. He admits his immaturity. Through every chapter we watch him grow. He takes two steps forward, then ten steps back. Then he takes five steps forward and two steps back.
What I particularly found refreshing was the stories Kiedis tells about his inspirations for many Chili Pepper songs. Here is a man who cared (s) about the finished product. (If you doubt that, check out their latest effort, Stadium Arcadium. It's a masterpiece.)
You want to cry with Kiedis and you want to laugh with him during the entire bumpy ride. And I personally was wondering how his father was able to take a series of pictures of his eight year old son smoking pot without the folks over at the Fotomat running interference when he took them to be developed. Unless, of course, they were Polaroids. Then that point is moot I guess. Nevertheless, I hated his dad for the things he exposed Anthony to at such an early age. We're lucky Kiedis turned out as good as he did in the end.
Nevertheless, this is a rock star bio worth the effort. It's long, it's detailed, yes. Some details come off as too much information. But still, it's never a boring read. No fluff, no filler. Just a cautionary tale told with the best of intentions. And if he had to name his bio after a Pepper's song, Scar Tissue was the perfect choice.