PW: What did you learn about yourself by writing Scar Tissue?
Anthony Kiedis: It wasn't the first time I've told my story, or the most intimate details of my story. I've gone through personal inventories and have done many cathartic conversations as a necessity to getting over drug addiction. That's part of the process. I had already come across the patterns of my life.
One pattern was that each time you broke up with a girl, you went back to using drugs.
Right. That was pointed out to me very painfully in a rehab one time. During what they call "Relapse Prevention." There were 13 other absolute misfits who wanted to be clean, but kept going back to using. We did 10-year calendars and looked at the patterns. It was very much to do with romance.
It's pretty rough about your dad, and many of the drug and sex stories will probably upset your mom. Do you expect them to read it?
Pops will read it, and I'm okay with that. Mom is not allowed to read the book. I don't think she could handle it. I don't see how any good can come from her going through that book. She doesn't have the emotional fabric to laugh it off. She'll take it to heart too strongly. I'd rather she didn't. She had to live through it once already. I don't want to drag her through it again. Anyone else, I don't mind. They should be able to accept the ups and downs, the highs and lows that happened. I'm hoping that it doesn't bother people. It's more the story of what can happen to a person—both the blessings and the curses—and how you end up sorting them out and getting on with things.
You describe the drug world as both sordid and desperately exciting. You write: "Junkies always want to get new guys [to buy] drugs because they can rip them off." But then you write: "The chase is always exciting. There are cops and bad guys and freaks and hookers." And you conclude: "I don't think drug addiction is inherently useless, but it's a rough row to hoe." So, let's sum up here: you get ripped off; you run from cops and deal with bad guys; you trade a rare guitar for a 10-minute high; you lie to your mother and your friends; you get thrown out of the band: but it's not inherently useless. Explain.
Oh, my God, no. That's like a whole life's worth of lessons to be learned in that sentence. It's incredibly valuable... if you survive. If you stay in it, it's pretty sad. But if you can take all that experience and grow out of it, you learned a lot. About human nature. About pain and suffering, which is a beautiful thing to have experienced and know about.
Throughout the book, you describe yourself as a bastard, a mean-spirited bully, immoral, pathetic, a selfish egomaniac, a scammer, a weasel, a loser. Yet, if you had to do it all over again, you wouldn't change a thing. How come?
It's nice to be able to admit all those things about yourself. To take responsibility for them. I don't feel I'm any of those things any more.
What about your music and songwriting still connects with younger music fans, many of whom weren't even born when you started playing?
I hate to begin analyzing myself because it takes me into a direction I don't want to go. I don't enjoy self-analysis. I don't see the point.
What's your relationship now with your dad?
We don't communicate that often. I keep making vows to pick up the phone once a week to talk to Pops, but weeks go by and we don't speak. When we do, we're good. He's more loving than ever. It's sad but true that when people grow up they get busy. He's become a very emotional person, so I can't predict his reaction to the book. The older he gets, the more sentimental he gets.