A Compelling Read
Birleşik Krallık’ta 4 Mart 2012 tarihinde değerlendirildi
I approached this as a mildly amused Chili Peppers fan, who owns (and loves) their entire discography but happily accepts that they're not the best band in the world, and as someone who would usually - wrongly, I've now realised - eschew the biography shelf at the bookshop as artless and narcissistic. In fact, Scar Tissue is the first autobiography I've ever picked up, mainly out of curiosity, as his upbringing seemed so unconventional and wacky that I figured it'd be worth paying £2 P&P for a scruffy second-hand copy for a few laughs and horror stories.
Let me assure you: £2 well spent.
Scar Tissue: An Autobiography holds a refreshing outlook on the relentless Rock 'n Roll lifestyle that Mr. Kiedis takes to new extremes. Don't be in doubt: There is plenty of sex. There are plenty of drugs (in fact, you're left wondering how on earth he's still living). As a twelve-year old kid, he was first given pot by his father, a wayward actor who was friendly with plenty of glittering names - Led Zepplin, Sonny and Cher - who used to take his young son on drug runs at 3am whilst he studied at Middle School. Kiedis has no problem listing his various sexual partners, rattling through his sometimes brief, other times more destructive and impacting episodes. And of course, the early to mid history of the Red Hot Chili Peppers is entwined into this - although some fans might be disappointed: this is Anthony's show, and firstly revolves around his drug-fuelled sex-crazed escapades. And no, that's not a bad thing.
What makes this so refreshing, and highly entertaining then? The ghost writer certainly does a good job in translating Kiedis' voice to paper authentically whilst still making an easily read, compelling page-turner, it's also due to Kiedis' approach to it all. For one, there's little sugar-coating. AK is very matter-of-a-fact about what he's done, who he's hurt, and the consequences - he freely admits to being a 'bastard', an 'egomaniac' and 'selfish' with a 'sense of self-entitlement'. Yes, he cheated on a couple of his early girlfriends whilst touring. He justifies why he did it at the time, but what's more, goes on to say, yes, he was indeed wrong to think like that, and has apologised to several of the people he's hurt. But Scar Tissue treads the line between too cold and too tearful perfectly - it's not melodramatic or overwhelmed with confessionals. There's no sob-stories, there's no tearful angst, there's no page-by-page explanation of "utmost regret". Kiedis's attitude is far more positive: ultimately his mistakes and misadventures have all been "part of the plan" that's made him the person who is today. Drug abuse in particular is not something to regret, but something to move on from. That's fairly inspiring to read.
Unlike the arrogant frontman stereotype, Kiedis' complete lack of any bitterness and hatred towards anyone endears him to the reader, and I actually found myself rooting for this dopamine-crazy, charmismatic, yet absolutely bonkers and slightly misanthropic anti-hero. There was something charming about his almost-romantic, personal approach to casual sex with girls (which he sometimes, perhaps innocently, calls love) on his first or second tour. And there remains something charming about the almost-introspective recovering addict, with a touch of new-age hippie. I could understand why a lot of people would be disgusted by Anthony Kiedis - certainly, I felt like the prose often fell short here, lacking in dramatic impact at times, and not going into enough depth over certain episodes and often skipping paragraph to paragraph with too little introspection there - but there's certainly something to be admired in the perseverance and the optimism.
I would also criticise the lack of insight into his musical thought in the book, asides from the occasional anecdote and copy-pasting of his lyrics, as if he was skirting over that aspect of his work, afraid of losing readers by going into detail. In his later work, Kiedis is renowned for his articulate, although often-nonsensical lyrics, which can lose themselves in their own imagery - although sometimes, such as in 'Californication', they can be incredibly on-point and lyrically... well, beautiful. (In his earlier lyrics, he's far better known for his highly irreverent sense of humour, which is often more irreverent than humorous). I appreciate that only the albums Californication and By The Way were released at the penning of this, which were a step up lyrically from the more hedonistic approaches in the past.
Perhaps, as opposed to the increasingly-repetitive pattern of relapse-rehab-relapse-rehab that tended to mean the last third didn't hold as much entertainment as the bulk of the book (as many previous commenters have mentioned), some more increased insight into the formation of ideas and lyrics of his more obscure work would be appreciated? As well as a few more frankly hilarious cox-on-sox style stories? Or perhaps - my other main qualm - the inclusion of the feud between Mr. Kiedis and the Faith No More's vocalist Mike Patton, who was, according to 'AK', stealing 'his style'? Or perhaps, the inclusion of the accusation of sexual assualt on a female concert-goer during the Mother's Milk-era? This format lends itself perfectly for AK to explain himself; he doesn't. Those omissions do make me more cynical to this 'brutally honest' account.
Overall: A compelling read, refreshingly blunt and not without heart, although with a tendency to drag at the end and a few important omissions which makes the honesty dubious.
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