An Amazon Best Book of November 2019:
Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, born Michael Peter Balzary, has penned a soulful and absorbing memoir of his journey from his early childhood in Melbourne, Australia, to stadiums around the world as a first-class rock star. The Balzary family moved to the States when Flea and his older sister were four and six, first to New York City and later Los Angeles. A shy, quirky kid, Flea was an outsider, and as things deteriorated in his home he spent more and more time running the streets. Flea was introduced to jazz music at a young age and it became the great love of his life. Always a kid who pushed boundaries, in Los Angeles Flea found kindred spirits in music, drugs, and embracing life on the edge. Flea pours his heart onto these pages: his insecurity and longing for family, his innermost thoughts and dreams, even his pain and guilt over the death of his beloved friend and bandmate, Hillel Slovak. Before Flea enters into his complex but unbreakable friendship with Anthony Kiedis, he writes: “I’m scared to poison things between us, or scare the magic out of it by trying to understand it, but so be it. Here I go.” Flea’s writing style—with its full-stop honesty amid lyrical musings and meanderings—is both startling and riveting, like a burst of jazz trumpet rhythm. Musician, poet, reader, friend, troublemaker, seeker, hoops enthusiast, writer, Flea is a many-faceted individual, and readers will see all sides. Acid for the Children
is equal parts wisdom and wildness, from a man who has only ever cared about the music. —Seira Wilson, Amazon Book Review
"Acid for the Children
is not an as-told-to, nor is it written "with" someone. These are Flea's words-excitable, jazzy, regretful, disarming, popping and writhing away in his biological bass zone. Insecurities to the fore: He worries that he may be producing "a thorny jumble of trash." But he's actually a lovely writer, with a particular gift for the free-floating and reverberant. He writes in Beat Generation bursts and epiphanies, lifting toward the kind of virtuosic vulnerability and self-exposure associated with the great jazz players....Flea-elegant nutcase, funk-at-high-pressure bassist, wildly cultured and culturedly wild man-has written a fine memoir. You'll put down Acid for the Children
with your human sympathies expanded; you'll feel less alone."―The Atlantic
"Acid For the Children's
closest analog is, somewhat surprisingly, Patti Smith's Just Kids...
The prose frequently mimics [Flea's] playing: occasionally beautiful, occasionally outrageous, in conversation with a small group of predecessors but unwilling to follow anyone else's rules. This is what gives Acid for the Children
its considerable charm..."―AV Club
"[An] electric, surprisingly moving memoir...Flea is an enlightened narrator, and this passionate, smart memoir will resonate with readers whether they're fans of the band or not."
―Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"A wild ride through the coming-of-age wilderness of the famed rock bassist...Relentlessly honest, untamed, and often revelatory."―Kirkus
"Flea is a surprisingly good writer...RHCP fans or not, readers will find a unique coming-of-age memoir that's also an ode to books, music, and performing."―Booklist
"[A] sensitive, well-written coming-of-age memoir. Readers will find much to relate to in Flea's life story and will hope that this isn't the only entry in his writing career."―Library Journal