In 2004, lead singer Anthony Kiedis published Scar Tissue with Larry Sloman. The book’s release was met with critical acclaim due to explicit detailing of the ups and downs of Anthony’s life, including his openness about drug use, getting clean, relapsing and finding sobriety again. However, there’s a dark cloud that seems to hang over this book – his brazen, misogynistic and sometimes just downright predatory encounter with women. Let me stress, especially young women, including underage girls. However, were these very seemingly predatory encounters ignored on purpose or did the critical acclaim of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiedis’ openness about drug use overshadow them? The biography is old, but in the growing age of Me Too movement and those people who have been victimized are now coming forward in order to share these encounters in the entertainment industry – it’s peculiar why someone so prolific as Kiedis has seem to go under the radar. Kiedis has not made any grand standing media waves, so his past and also controversial present has managed to slip under the radar, resulting in a mistakenly celebrated musician who can avoid accountability.
This ONTD Original will take look back at Kiedis’ book and his very, very, very uncomfortable, creepy and downright illegal and predatory encounters with women and girls and how the examination of how he’s a man who hasn’t been lost in the shuffle, but instead has been just quiet enough over the years and has the rockstar archetype to cover him. There’s another notable things to mention along this exhausting journey of rereading, the book is absolutely wretched. Not just the way women are shamelessly objectified in the book, the thinly veiled racism, generic stilted sentences, describing sexual encounters as “sexy”, the incredibly stupid anecdotes that add absolutely nothing, the long-windedness of it. (However, OP has never thought that Kiedis was that intelligent anyway and this book firmly cements that.)
Just to preface, this post is incredibly long despite its format being bullet points but is broken up with various cuts. Feel free to choose which ones you want to tackle first or read all of them. However, prepare yourself and probably have a stress ball nearby.
In order to understand the man he is now and to ensure not leaving anything out, it’s important to take a look at his youth with parents on the very opposite ends of the spectrum. His father John Michael Kiedis who legally changed his name to Blackie Dammett married Kiedis’ mother Peggy Nobel. According to Anthony, just a few weeks after their nuptials, Dammett began to frequently cheat on Peggy. His father was also his first exposure to sex and drugs. Dammett was drug mule and did not hide this from his son. After visiting his father in California and Wisconsin-bound, Dammett had Anhtony strap the $30,000 he made to his body because Dammett feared his appearance would get him arrested immediately. Around age 12, Kieidis curiously wanted to try pot, asking his drug mule father. Instead of proper DARE lecture or a simple “no”, Dammett (35) allowed his son to do so which was captured on photos. After smoking pot for the first time, his father them prompted Anthony to take semi nude photos of Dammett’s 18-year-old girlfriend. (After reading this piece or if you knew anything about Kiedis, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.)
You’ve probably heard this story before the publication of his book, but Anthony does indeed confirm that he lost his virginity to his father’s 18-year old girlfriend at the age of 12. Twelve years old, the number after eleven and it was okay with his father. Paraphrasing this was truly a struggle, so I’m just going to give the whole quote.
“Another bell started ringing around that time. My dad had told me about his first attempt sexual experience and it wasn’t a pleasant one. He went to a whorehouse in downtown Grand Rapids. The prostitutes were all black. My dad was sent up to a room, and a few minutes later, a middle-aged lady with a little potbelly came in…” his father froze “Going to a weird place and ending up with a weird person with absolutely no connection to you and having to pay for it? I think that experience had a lot to do with him wanting my first sexual experience to be nicer. I just don’t if I envisioned that my first time would be with one of his girlfriends… One night shortly before my twelfth birthday, we were all at the Rainbow. I was high as a little kite on a Quaalude and I got up the courage to write my father a note: “I know this is your girlfriend, but I’m pretty sure she’s up for the task so if it’s okay with you, can we arrange a situation where I end up having sex with Kimberley tonight?” He brokered the deal in a flash.” It is disturbing and worthy to notate that Kiedis’ father was present for his son’s first sexual encounter. His father did stop any of his other young girlfriends from having sex with Anthony because Kimberley was a “one-time deal”.
Entered into a sexual "relationship" 24-year-old woman while in the 8th grade. She was the former girlfriend of one his father’s friends; she also supplied him with Quaaludes. He began using pills and cocaine regularly in high school.
This section focuses on Kiedis' early years in high school and his first year at UCLA.
- Talked of his experience being rejected by young, pretty girls in middle school. They didn’t want him then and maybe he held that image as a "goal" when he got older.
- Anthony was going back between Michigan and California and attended Emerson Community Charter School, a middle school where he began to have sexual encounters with girls his own age and clearly was carving out a way of how to view women and young girls. He recalls a fellow classmate, Grace who was “very physically developed for a fourteen-year-old, especially a Japanese girl”; he proceeds to explicitly describe what happens after he tricks her into leaving the classroom and is pleased that she does a lot without saying very much. Gosh, I really don’t know a nicer way to revise this, it all just seems slimy.
- Was babysat by Cher one night in middle school – she turned off lights in her room to get ready for bed. He watched her get undressed, put on her pajamas and got into bed with Anthony and fell asleep. Some have alleged that something more than this happened, but Kiedis says that is not true.
- Spent some time in a Michigan high school where he “hooked up with a hot Hispanic girl and a blonde named Mary, who was the winner of L’Oreal’s Long and Silky Hair Contest in the Midwest” – seems he knows a lot about a brief encounter of one girl while the other girl simply gets reduced to her ethnicity.
- Pressured his high school girlfriend (who he got by a nice guy routine while she was dating someone else) into sex: “She was my world. I adored her. I would have done anything for her. But she wasn’t giving it up.” He explicitly states he got happier once they began having intercourse.
- His love of needles extended beyond the need for drug consumption, he also used it as a way to taunt a former high school girlfriend “She had been ignoring me for a couple of days, so I drove over to her dad’s store where she worked. I pulled up… stuck an empty syringe in my arm and drew out a couple of cc’s of fresh blood. Then I walked up to her car, squirted the blood into the palm of my hand and made bloody kisses all over her windshield and driver’s side window.”
- Cheated on his high school girlfriend twice while both attending UCLA: the first was another student and Anthony explained she was “well-endowed” and couldn’t stop himself. The other person? Flea’s sister, Karen. This was the one encounter was the one Kiedis regrets.
- Told fashion designer Jennifer Bruce when she wasn’t interested in seeing him: “Come on, you don’t have a choice. You’re going to be my girlfriend whether you like it or not.” They eventually dated – Jennifer was 17, Kiedis was 22 and the legal age of consent in the state of California was 18. Kiedis then writes about how he wanted to work on Bruce achieving an orgasm. Factoid: he often called Jennifer to bring him money so he could buy more heroin. They eventually started doing heroin together.
- When playing the club circuit and generating some buzz: “If you don’t actively seek out women, you lose that momentum, and even if you change your mind and decide you want to get laid, it becomes tough.” What the hell does this even mean?
- Then Kiedis has an attitude shift when women seek him out: “That instant that energy shifted and there was no effort required to have sex with girls because I was in a known band was the instant I stopped wanting to have sex with them.” OP invites you just read through this one a few more times.
- Decided it was okay to have sex with a “fat girl with an unusual chunky shape” because she was able to score him some cocaine
- Ooooooh boy and here’s a doozy. While on tour in New Orleans, Kiedis encounters a young woman described as the “reincarnated southern version of Marilyn Monroe” and asked her to keep him company while he took a shower. “Certain of [his] affection of her” they had sex within ten minutes of meeting each other. She followed him to Baton Rouge where she revealed to Kiedis that her father was the chief of police in Louisiana and there was search to find her. She also revealed her age to Kiedis – 14 years old. This occurred in 1985, Kiedis was 23. The legal of consent to be in relationship someone Kiedis’ age in Louisiana is 17. Her age did not scare and put Kiedis in state of fear of being charged with a crime so he had sex with the girl one more time before and sent her back to New Orleans. She was indeed the inspiration of the song “Catholic School Girls Rule”.
- Upon being introduced to actress Ione Skye: “From the moment I laid eyes on [her], I knew she was going to be my girlfriend. It was a few days before her sixteenth birthday... she has long, flowing curly brunette hair and a large beautiful flirtatious rack and an overbite.” Kiedis also describes her as being very sexually curious, but at that age, “it worked for him.” He quickly moves into her home.
- After dumping Ione, he meets Carmen who he initially describes as a “Nineteen-year-old Nordic goddess...she was wearing a T-shirt with a huge face of Woody Allen on it and her tits were poking out of each of Woody’s eyeglasses so that his eyes seemed to be going in different directions. I couldn’t have put in an order with God for a more perfect physical specimen.” This was after the release of Mother’s Milk, Carmen Hawk was 19 and Kiedis was 27. Kiedis recalls her sexual enthusiasm and referred to her as his “sex kitten” – granted this a pretty common term, however there’s just an extra layer of disgust given her age.
- While recording their seminal record, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Kiedis refers to a “very young” woman who would come by the house and have sex with Kiedis, Flea and John Frusciante – despite this young woman’s frequent visits, Kiedis seems to forget her age and also there is no mention of a name. It is unclear whether Kiedis forgot or just didn’t care despite other useless anecdotes and trivia throughout the book.
- Began a relationship with model Jaime Rishar when she was 17; Kiedis was 32 in 1994.
- When meeting Rishar at a trendy restaurant: “She was sitting there with a table full of hens, quacking away, all drinking way too much, smoking way too much and taking what they do too seriously.” When Kiedis showed up to the restaurant he then expected Jaime to be available to him and was irritated when she acted aloof. He contemplated that she just maybe too young, but then backed off that notion and initiated a sexual relationship the next day writing, “She rocked me in a way I hadn’t thought possible by a person her age – seventeen. There was some very adult behavior taking place.” It should be noted, not that it’s an excuse but Kieidis was indeed five years sober at the time, so the argument of his judgement being impaired due to drug use will fall very, very, very flat.
- Since the book's release Kiedis has gone on to have a son, Everly Bear with model Heather Christie. Christie was 18 when she began dating the 41-year-old Kiedis.
This will feature some things that involve at least one other member of RHCP or when the group was on tour.
- At UCLA, took a job to care for a child with ADHD in exchange for room and board; then proceeded to steal and get high off the kid’s Ritalin with Flea and RHCP guitarist Hillel Slovak. It is important to stress that again, he stole Ritalin from a young child with ADHD in order to experience its opposite effects on adults.
- When staying a friend's place: “We went up to their place and completely moved in. For four days these beautiful models were constantly kicking Flea and me out of their beds and bedrooms. We were leeches.”
- When a former friend/lover OD’d on heroin, Kiedis left when her friends called the authorities because he had outstanding warrants, leaving Hillel Slovak and his girlfriend to deal with the matter. Note: these warrants are for some previous moving violations.
- The model who was chosen to be on the cover of Mother’s Milk felt uneasy about the concept of her being topless on the cover, but was ensured that her breasts would be covered due to EMI contractual obligations. However a few hundred copies including posters were printed uncensored without her permission. Bandmates, Chad Smith and Flea wrote something sexual on the poster and the model sued and won a monetary settlement.
- Remembers meeting the Smashing Pumpkins when opening for RHCP: Billy Corgan and James Iha were shy but nice, but yet detailed D’Arcy as getting hammered and that her alcohol use would hinder the tour
- The concept of the "Aeroplane" video: “featuring a huge chorus line of half-naked, hot-costumed Mexican cholitas, tough gangster girls with heavy makeup and sweeping hair. We wanted lots of semi-nudity and sexy dancing.” A Warner Bros shoot supervisor who didn’t like many of the concepts was described by Kiedis as a “PC feminist” and “got her knickers all in a knot about showing naked women in our video”. Kiedis and Sloman also think it’s worth to note that the video for “Aeroplane” would be “tame next to a Jay-Z video”.
- Had a woman appear in a rubber maid’s outfit who would grace the stage to wipe the sweat off them, serve them drinks onstage and light cigarettes
- “You meet a lot of different pubic hair along the way – the nappy, the long, the short, the shaved, whatever…She was a sweetheart, mild-mannered, not a hussy, not a whore, not a trampy backstage girl of any kind.”
- Decided it was okay to have sex with a “fat girl with an unusual chunky shape” because she was able to score him some cocaine
- Despite cheating on Jennifer Bruce constantly, Kiedis became enraged when learning that she had slept with a member of Fishbone who he describes as having “bad dreadlocks”. In Scar Tissue, his name is listed as “Chris Fish”, however there is no member of Fishbone by that name. There’s a Philip “Fish” Fisher and Chris Dowd. Kiedis then broke up with Jennifer because of the betrayal. To exact revenge on this later when RHCP and Fishbone played the same venue, Kiedis invited a woman with “huge tits poking through her tank top” to dance onstage with him naked in front of Jennifer after the two had apparently “reconciled”.
- Kiedis on women who wanted to have sex with him while on tour: “Suddenly, I became disinterested…I’d rather have a challenge or even failure than something that was given too freely.”
- Kiedis claims that his most “beautiful” sexual experience was with a girl he coerced to have sex with by goading that nothing would happen. But then this progressed to lying together in bed naked and kissing her until the woman gave him oral sex. Not to fear, Kiedis claims she was graduate student.
- Another great tidbit: “I had the observation that Japanese girls were much more reserved and not as overtly sexual as their American or European counterparts…You can’t entirely be fooled by appearances because in the end, we’re all biologically driven creatures and if you get your foot in the door, the biology can take over and the culture can lose its power.” He later took a Japanese woman back to his hotel where he admittedly coerces her but she resists and didn’t want to have sex and then admittedly wore her down after five hours that she gave in to having intercourse.
- When Carmen seemed to being have a breakdown, Kiedis recounts, “Anytime I suggested that we might not stay togetger, she would have a meltdown and start tantruming like an autistic child.” It seems as though Kiedis tends to paint all these young women as crazy and borderline obsessive despite the fact that he tells them he is going to be their boyfriend.
- Dedicated the song “Party on Your Pussy” to Sinead O’Connor, he decides to use an ableist slur to think retrospectively about that song dedication. Kiedis admits that they briefly dated and kissed but O’Connor did not let it progress beyond that. Kiedis claims O’Connor was not interested in a sexual relationship, but it strikes a little strange that O’Connor would’ve been approximately 23 at the time (Kiedis, 27), so far the oldest partner in the book. After dumping Kiedis, he later wrote “I Could Have Lied”.
- His view of women is that he falls in ~love~ really fast stating: “I could marry that girl. She looks like’s she’d be a good mom and a good sex partner.” He always tries to say there was something beyond physical when meeting these women, however he mostly just reduces them to their appearance whether they are ethereal, pixie-like, blond, brunette, top heavy, etc. There never seems to be a drawn out conversation or courting on Kiedis’ part. He views them as caretakers and sexual beings, nothing about intelligence, humor, independence, etc.
- On his breakup with Jaime Rishar, Kiedis claims to have an epiphany “that it was time to be single again”. Kiedis claims it was nothing she did, it just happened. Rishar, 19 and Kiedis 34.
- Says that girls from New York are “difficult”, but was drawn to a busty model who was “tipsy”
- Had a one night stand with a woman, Rachel (age unknown) who revealed she had a past relationship with his ex Ione Skye, though Kiedis claims this woman says her experience with him was “much better”. OP gets the feeling this was thrown in simply because years before, he bumped into Ione, he attempted to make amends for dumping her, but she was not having it and called him an “asshole”.
- Ironically, Kiedis has a brief moment of reflection as he doesn’t want to repear his father’s “girl-of-the-day thing” but then quickly moves on to detailing the next RHCP and sexual liaison.
- While recording Californication, he met Claire Essex (don’t worry she was 23, but Kiedis was 37) and the day after wanted her to sleep with her but she resisted. Instead, Essex wanted Kiedis to take an STD test. In a grand stream of consciousness comes the following viewpoint from Kiedis: “All of this was making me feel better because who wanted to fall in love with a girl who was ready to sleep with anyone who came along?”
This will feature some instances of Kiedis making homophobic, ableist and just all around ignorant remarks.
- Blackie was working as an actor took a role as a trans woman (Kiedis uses the outdated “transvestite”) and began to wear women’s clothing and would begin talking “all crazy gay”. This infuriated Anthony to the point that he called his father a homophobic slur (the slur is printed in the book) because his masculinity was “being challenged”. His father then tried to throw a punch and shove Anthony against a bookshelf after his son caught his jab. Anthony remarks that their relationship would never be the same from that moment.
- After freshman year of UCLA, Kiedis got a job at a graphic arts film company. Recalling the job process: “The offices were modern and high-tech, and the owner of the company, David, was very manicured, very pristine looking and clearly gay…My interview went well (I’m sure it didn’t hurt that I was an eighteen-year-old male) and I started work the next day.”
- Referring to former guitarist Jack Sherman (who briefly replaced Hillel Slovak) who meticulously looked after his instruments: “Here this guy was doing this gay spray job of mist onto his fretboard.” It’s worth noting that Kiedis has never has and cannot masterfully play a musical instrument to this day and that Sherman was never inducted as a member of RCHP despite contributing to the album Freaky Styley.
- Referring to two black women he saw that were partying with an RHCP roadie: “I was thinking she looked like a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, but when I looked closer and saw that besides all the lipstick and eyelashes and wigs and fluorescent clothing, there were some serious muscles on this chick, I realized she probably was a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns.”
- Regarding his heritage: he’s of English, Irish, French and Dutch descent and he later discovered “some Mohican blood which explains [his] interest in Native American culture and my identification with Mother Earth”
- He has a very primitive view of the world if it’s not America or Europe. When it was suggested he visit Borneo to undergo a traditional tattooing technique, Kiedis “had visions of being Mowgli from The Jungle Book, hanging out with orangutans and swinging vines over rivers and eating berries and meeting naked native girls…It didn’t quite turn out that way.” He also didn’t like Jakarta because it was “third-world”, “saturated with trash and pollution” and “teeming with fundamentalist energy”.
- Has a pretty warped view concerning Kurt Cobain’s death by suicide saying that "some of the worst junkies he’s ever known got sober." Cobain was the inspiration to song “Tearjerker”.
- Despite going through addiction himself, he thinks there’s a very simple view of attaining sobriety: “As long as a dope fiend is high, he’s crazy. The minute he isn’t high and starts working the program, he’ll start to get better. It’s the simplest plan on earth, but they try to complicate it with psychiatric jargon and detoxology. Just get a junkie off the streets, get him three squares, and get him working on his steps, and he’ll get better.”
- At a rehab facility, Kiedis admitted to not taking required psychotherapy seriously and would repeatedly visit the therapist because he found her attractive. During sessions, he would make sexual innuendos and attempt to flirt with her
- Caused a hit and run when his motorcycle hit the back of a car. Kiedis sustained an injury to his forearm, but ignored the driver who needed insurance information. He was transferred to Cedars-Sinai where he stuck his hand up one nurse’s skirt. He alleges that he was on a high dose of morphine during this incident.
- Kiedis’ hazing of John Frusciante made the guitarist feel like he was an outsider and caused him to be withdrawn toward other members. Flea had to explain to Anthony that the jokes and hazing had a long-lasting detrimental effect on Frusciante.
Welp, that's all folks. Well, at least it is for this book. Kiedis has made numerous misogynistic statements in the years since, but this book is already exhausting enough. However, something is conveniently left out: Kiedis' sexual battery and indecent exposure conviction stemming from an incident at George Mason University in 1990. He was found guilty and sentenced to 60 days in jail. No word if his bandmate's conviction will be highlighted in his book.
Sources: Checking this out from my nationally awarded public library whose judgement I'm now starting to question after realizing they carry this book and here
Current music: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - "The Mercy Seat"