Flea on writing his memoir, the alchemy of music, and "turning pain into something beautiful"


Rolling Stone ranked him the #2 bass player of all time. But Flea, one of the founding members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, didn't start out in rock 'n'roll; he always dreamt of being a jazz musician.

In his book, "Acid For the Children," Flea talks about how he fell in love with music, and his relationship with his band's frontman, Anthony Kiedis. 

By the lake in back of his L.A. home, Flea likes to practice bass lines. It's a rare tranquil moment in what's been a monumental year for the bass player. 

In March, his band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, played the pyramids in Egypt, and just last month he was married to designer Melody Ehsani. "I've been twiddling with my wedding ring for, like, four days now!" he said. "I found this incredible woman."

Now, he's published a memoir. "For so long, I didn't want to write a book about myself, 'cause I thought it was an arrogant thing to do," he told "CBS This Morning' co-host Anthony Mason.

But "Acid For the Children" (Grand Central) is not a tale of rock star glory. It's a reflection on a vulnerable childhood.  

The nucleus of the original Chili Peppers would come together when the duo met Hillel Slovak. Flea recalled seeing Slovak driving down the street in his green Datsun 510, "an incredible car! Cranking stereo, man. I'll never forget it. He was playing 'La Villa Strangiato' by Rush!"

Slovak, who had a band, was unhappy with his bass player, and said to Flea, "'Maybe you should learn to play the bass.' I felt just so, you know, loved in that moment."

"Why did that make you feel so loved?" Mason asked.

"Because, you know, he picked me. I didn't play the bass before. I knew that being in a rock band meant everything to him. His band was a sacred think to him. This is us, you know, like, and he invited me in."

"And that meant everything to you?" 

"It meant everything to me. I never would have played it had he not asked me. I never would have played the bass."

Flea's book ends just as the Chili Peppers begin. Will there be a sequel? "I'm on the fence about it," he said.

Why? "I got records to make and tours to do and kids to raise and a wife to love. And, you know, there's only so many hours in the day. But I do love sitting and writing. And it might happen."

Listen to Anthony Mason's full conversation with Flea on the CBS This Morning podcast:

"Acid For the Children: A Memoir" by Flea (Grand Central), in Hardcover and eBook formats, available via Amazon.

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