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The Boss

In: English and Literature

Submitted By ALCaudill18
Words 2328
Pages 10
Anthony Kiedis

In this essay I am going to tell you about one of the best singer/songwriters that the music industry has ever known, his name is Anthony Kiedis. Kiedis was born on November 1, 1962 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to his father Michael Kiedis and his mother Margaret Noble. In 1966 when Kiedis was just 3 years old his parents divorced; along with his 2 half-sisters Kiedis lived with his mother and step-father in Grand Rapids. Each summer he would visit his father in Hollywood for two weeks which he recalled "Those trips to California were the happiest, most carefree, the-world-is-a-beautiful-oyster times I'd ever experienced." In 1974, when Kiedis was 12 years old he moved to Hollywood with his father full time. Kiedis’ father was a struggling actor and a drug dealer, which had a very strong impact on Kiedis. The two would often smoke marijuana and use cocaine together, and at the age of 14 Kiedis used heroin for the first time mistaking it for cocaine, from then on it was an downhill struggle (Kiedis, 10). Kiedis attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles where he struggled to find friends at first, being from another school district let along another state. He soon met Michael Balzary, better known as Flea, while sitting next to him in drivers-ed class. After a brief confrontation the two became best friends and were virtually inseparable. Kiedis had a big influence on Flea, introducing him to rock music, punk rock in particular. Kiedis also met future band mate Hillel Slovak after seeing him perform with his band Anthym. After the show, Slovak invited Kiedis to his house for a snack, Kiedis described the meeting as "Within a few minutes of hanging out with Hillel, I sensed that he was absolutely different from most of the people I'd spent time with...He understood a lot about music, he was a great visual artist, and he had a sense of self and a calm about him that were just riveting." Kiedis, Slovak, and Flea became best friends and would regularly use LSD, cocaine, heroin, and speed together. Despite his frequent drug use, Kiedis excelled in school, often receiving straight A grades. In June 1980, Kiedis graduated with honors from high school. That August, he enrolled at UCLA to study writing. However, he dropped out during the beginning of his sophomore year due to his worsening addiction to cocaine and heroin (Kiedis biography, 1). Kiedis, Slovak, and Flea began to create their own music after finding inspiration in a punk-funk fusion band called Defunkt. The three formed a band with drummer Jack Irons, called Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem. The band had only one song called "Out in L.A.", and was formed for only playing the song once. Mike Chester, a friend of Kiedis', invited the band to open for his act Mike and Neighbor's Voices at The Rhythm Lounge, because he felt that Kiedis had potential as a front man. Slovak and Flea were worried at first, and felt that Kiedis did not have enough experience vocal wise, but the two eventually agreed to perform. Kiedis later described the performance as: "All the anticipation of the moment hit me, and I instinctively knew that the miracle of manipulating energy and tapping into an infinite source of power and harnessing it in a small space with your friends was what I had been put on this earth to do." Following the group's first show at The Rhythm Lounge, the owner of the bar asked them to return with two songs instead of one. After a few more shows, and several more songs to their set-list, the band's name was changed to Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band's set-list grew to ten songs as a result of months of playing at local nightclubs and bars. The Red Hot Chili Peppers entered Bijou Studios a month later to record a demo tape and ultimately scored a record deal with EMI. Irons and Slovak decided to leave the band in order to pursue a "more serious" future. Kiedis respected the decision, but felt the band would be lost without them, so Kiedis and Flea hired drummer Cliff Martinez and guitarist Jack Sherman to fill in the positions. Music Producer Andy Gill agreed to produce their first album The Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1984. The album did good in sales, but producer Andy Gill didn’t think the band had enough potential to make it. After a number of altercations and arguments between the band and Andy Gill he was abruptly fired. (Kiedis biography, 2). Funk musician George Clinton was hired to produce the band's second album, Freaky Styley. Freaky Styley was released in August 1985. It received only a bit more attention than The Red Hot Chili Peppers with roughly 75,000 copies sold by year's end. The band then hired Michael Beinhorn, their last resort among potential producers, to work on their next album. Irons also returned to the band in mid-1986 after Martinez was fired. Kiedis, Flea, and Slovak were all involved in heavy drug use which caused their relationship to become strained. Flea recalled that "it began to seem ugly to me and not fun; our communication was not healthy". Kiedis became dependent on heroin, leaving Flea and Slovak to work on much of the album by themselves. Kiedis lacked the motivation to contribute to the band musically, and appeared at rehearsal "literally asleep". He was asked to leave the band in order to go to drug rehab. During that time the band won the LA Weekly Band of The Year Award, which motivated Kiedis to quit heroin cold turkey. After Kiedis completed his drug rehabilitation, he felt a "whole new wave of enthusiasm" due to his sobriety and wrote the lyrics to a new song entitled "Fight Like A Brave" on the flight home. (Kiedis 16). Kiedis rejoined the band in Los Angeles in 1986 to record the album. After fifty days of sobriety, Kiedis decided to take drugs again as a one-time attempt to celebrate his new music, which led to his old addiction. The recording process for the album became difficult because Kiedis would often disappear to go look for drugs. Producer Michael Beinhorn recalled that "There were points in pre-production where I really thought the record wasn't going to get made." Kiedis felt "excruciating pain and guilt and shame" when he would miss a recording session, so he would try to write lyrics while searching for drugs; although the band members were upset by his drug use and frequent disappearances, they were impressed with his musical output at the time. A month later Slovak died of a heroin overdose while on tour to support “Uplift”. Irons was unable to go on with the band after Slovaks death, but Flea and Kiedis continued to make music. Soon after Slovaks death they brought in John Frusciante as guitarist. Frusciante was an 18 year old, very talented guitarist and avid Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, the band also brought in drummer Chad Smith. Once they had the band all back together they entered the studio in 1989 to record the album Mothers Milk, which got more attention than their earlier albums and peaked 52 on the Billboard 200. Kiedis still suffered withdrawl symptoms an often had trouble but stuck through it to record their next album 2 years later in 1991, Blood Suger Sex Magic. During this stage, Kiedis began to write about anguish, and the self-mutilating thoughts he would experience as a result of his heroin and cocaine addiction. The bands producer Rick Rubin stumbled upon a poem that would become the lyrics to "Under the Bridge". The song later became a major hit, peaking at number two on the Billboard 100. When Blood Sugar Sex Magik was released on September 24, 1991, it received an surprising positive critical response. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 200, and went on to sell over seven million copies in the U.S. alone. Later on the band appeared live on the Grammy's, performing a medley that included "Give It Away". The massive attention the band started receiving, caused Frusciante to feel extremely uncomfortable, and he abruptly quit the band during the Japanese leg of the album's tour. The band hired guitarist Arik Marshall to complete the remaining tour dates Upon returning to Hollywood, the band placed an ad in the L.A. Weekly for open guitar auditions, which Kiedis considered to be a waste of time. After several months of unsuccessfully looking for a guitarist, Smith suggested Dave Navarro. Navarro eventually accepted the position after productive jam sessions. Kiedis knew that the band's sound would inevitably change when Navarro joined. In July 1994, the band entered The Sound Factory, a recording studio in Los Angeles, to record the album. The band completed a few basic tracks, when Kiedis began having difficulty singing. He had been through a dental procedure in which an addictive sedative, Valium, was used; this caused him to relapse, and he once again became dependent on drugs after five years of sobriety. Months went by, and only small amounts of material were written. Kiedis made a trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan in December, where his family realized he had resumed his drug use once again. He returned to Hollywood in late January 1995, when he finally finished recording his vocals. The rest of the recording was completed within the next month. While putting together the final components for their sixth album, One Hot Minute (1995), the band recorded a video for "Warped". The video involved Kiedis and Dave Navarro kissing towards the end as a way of breaking the monotony of cumbersome video recording. Thinking nothing of it, they continued to shoot and finished several days later. Warner Bros., saw the video and instantly wanted it thrown away, considering it to be unmarketable and that the kiss would push away a large portion of the band's fan base. The band came to a conclusion to let the kiss remain on the final cut, causing a backlash from a few members of their audience, who took offense at the action. Kiedis said of the situation: "If they couldn't accept what we were doing, we didn't need them anymore. In April 1998, following Frusciante's three-month departure, Flea visited his former band-mate and openly invited him to re-join the band, an invitation Frusciante happily accepted. This jump-started the newly reunite of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band released Californication on June 8, 1999. Immediately following the release of Californication, the band set off on a world tour to support the record, beginning in the United States. The writing and formation of By the Way began immediately following the culmination of Californication's world tour, in the Spring of 2001. Like Californication, much of the creation took place in the band members' homes, and other locations, such as a recording studio stage. Kiedis recalled of the situation: "We started finding some magic and some music and some riffs and some rhythms and some jams and some grooves, and we added to it and subtracted from it and pushed it around and put melodies to it." Frusciante and Kiedis would collaborate for days straight, discussing guitar progressions and sharing lyrics. For Kiedis, "writing By the Way...was a whole different experience from Californication. John was back to himself and brimming with confidence." The album marked a change in the band's sound, and Kiedis began writing songs reflective of his romantic relationships and drug addictions. On October 6, 2004, Kiedis published a memoir titled “Scar Tissue”. The book was originally intended to be a collection of stories of his childhood drug use, but evolved into a complete autobiography. He further explained: "One would just kind of assume that with all the “drug” consumption that my memory would be a bit shoddy. But it's actually pretty lucid, and better than both of my parents', or any of my friends'. My friends tried to recount these same stories, and they were like, 'Wow, I don't ... were we there?'" The formation and recording of Stadium Arcadium took place at "The Mansion", the former home of Harry Houdini where the Chili Peppers had recorded their 1991 breakthrough Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Kiedis noted that during the recording process of the album "everybody was in a good mood. There was very little tension, very little anxiety, very little weirdness going on and every day we showed up to this funky room in the Valley, and everyone felt more comfortable than ever bringing in their ideas." The album was released on May 9, 2006. In August 2007, the band decided to take a break from music. On August 26, 2011, the Red Hot Chili Peppers released a tenth album, “I'm with You”. On December 7, 2011, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were named 2012 inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Kiedis said it was very emotional and the first person he told was his father Blackie, who cried when hearing the news. On January 11, 2012, the Chili Peppers announced that they were forced to postpone the U.S. leg of their I'm with You tour due to multiple foot injuries suffered by Kiedis. Kiedis has been battling through foot injuries since 2006 when he injured his foot onstage and finally was able to have surgery during a break in the band's tour in January 2012. During the surgery, Kiedis had a crushed sesamoid bone removed and a detached flexor tendon repaired. The band was able to resume their tour and kicked off the U.S. leg on March 29, 2012. On April 14, 2012, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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