At nearly 500 pages, this book is something of a slog, especially since much of the narrative concerns Anthony Kiedis seesawing between drug addiction and fleeting sobriety while fronting the Red Hot Chili Peppers, one of the world's most popular rock bands. It is well-written throughout, and Larry Sloman is a fine guide through the depths of Kiedis's tortured relationship with heroin and cocaine, but the all-encompassing nature of his addiction is such that huge chunks of the book are devoted to the singer going off on ruinous binges, to the exasperation of everyone around him. "I want to describe both sides of how I felt, but it's important to know that in the end all the romantic glorification of dope fiendery amounts to nothing but a hole of sh*t," he notes 200 pages in.
I did not think highly of Kiedis's songwriting before I read this book, but now I have come to appreciate that some of the band's best songs are lifted directly from his own experiences. 'Under The Bridge' is the obvious one, but I think 'Otherside' is the best single song that the Red Hot Chili Peppers ever released, and I'd have liked to read more about the situations that led up to its creation. Kiedis does this with quite a few other songs, and quotes extensively from his lyrics dating back to the band's earliest recordings, but for some reason 'Otherside' gets only a cursory mention despite being one of the songs that best describes the feelings of addiction and redemption that he knows so well.
But this is a minor complaint in the scheme of things, as despite the repetitive nature of the book – especially in the second half – I suppose it's hard to argue against this being an accurate way of showing what that lifestyle is like, when you're trapped in a cycle of behaviour that you can't get out of. It's hard to recommend 'Scar Tissue' to anyone but hardcore RHCP fans, as to my eyes, it could have done with being cut by about a third. But the insight into Kiedis's life is mostly compelling, and vividly realised, so kudos to Larry Sloman for capturing that on the page.
Best book I read in 2017 (and top 5 of my life). The brutal honesty and open approach that Kiedis (and Larry Sloman) use is hard hitting and effective in sharing the behind the scenes look at what Kiedis has been through as the front man of one of the world's most popular rock bands.
Well worth the 500 page read (Wish it went for longer to be honest).
I was never a Chili Peppers fan before this book...now, I am 100% in. I cannot stop listening to them and admire their approach to sharing their gift with the world.
The most poetic version of sex, drugs and rock n roll that you'll ever come across. Kiedis is poetic, an unbelievable writer and a painful battle of drug addiction. Ironically, the journey of his addiction is addictive to listen to. You'll find yourself putting the book down to listen to the songs he explains his inspiration for. This book is enthralling for literature lovers, music lovers, biography lovers... Honestly it would be hard for anybody not to enjoy.