Anthony Kiedis was interviewed by Italian journalist, Luca Bergamin for the Italian Fashion Magazine, Flair. The interview took place in Barcelona around the time of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Concert at the Palau Sant Jordi Arena in Barcelona on December 17th, 2011, and was later published in Flair Mondadori Magazine Italy in March, 2012. See the English Transcript of the Interview below.
Many thanks to Antonella Tirchett and Reuben Craus for taking the time to translate the interview for Stadium-Arcadium.com. Please note that the interview does appear to have some errors, which is either in the original interview or “lost in translation”. Scans of the original printed version of the interview can be viewed on Italian RHCP Fansite VeniceQueen.it
Anthony Kiedis Interview – Flair Magazine March 2012
In the room of a luxurious hotel in Barcelona, between phosphorescent vitamin juice bottles and a butsudan or the Buddhist altar for travelling, I had an arm wrestle with Anthony Kiedis, the leader of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.. He is the star of one of the wildest bands of the last 20 years, which has sold over 80 million albums worldwide – the last one being “I’m With You”- Shortly after this interview (not that I tripped him!), Kiedis fractured his right foot – So RHCP’s current tour has been suspended till March 29th, 2012 to allow his foot to heal. Anthony has won 6 Grammy Awards, and, especially has always conducted a reckless life between drugs and sex.
I intruded into his room – thanks to some friends that I know – then we went down to the bar to continue our challenge. However, in front of various witnesses, he put me down with two moves from his muscular right bicep, while chewing tofu as if it was chewing-gum. He continued to stare at me, with those rounded eyes which seem coloured with supernatural additives. I was impressed especially with the tattoos that peep out from the red t-shirt with the RHCP logo.
Thinking about it, how many tattoos have you designed so far?
I think ten between tigers, birds, carp … I carry attached my zoo, my pets keep me company and I don’t even have to feed them nor pick up anything with a plastic bag. Rather, I can organise an art exhibition with my body, don’t you think?
Getting old, will you remove them? They could embarrass you…
A rock star never gets old! Embarrassed? A tattoo is nothing considering we are a band which went on stage nude, with the exception of the socks…
OK, you feel eternal. But to counteract the effects of the time that passes, do you still adopt some sort of strategy?
I am a vegetarian from the 80s and lately even a vegan. One day I saw the slaughter of a cow. The animals have to pass through so many atrocities to satisfy the appetite of fat people who eat hamburgers.
What does Rock ‘N Roll mean to you?
It’s like surfing in Malibu. Once you try it you cannot stop, there are high and large waves, sometimes you have to wait on the surfboard, sometimes you can hear them coming, or else they sweep you unexpected. It is pure energy …one fine day, some months ago, a boy stopped in front of me saying: “I’m with you, I’m with you”. I have chosen those words as a title of the album. This is rock.
Choosing from the past great artists, with whom would you want to perform?
Iggy Pop and then singers of the Psycho Sluts, Deep Purple, the Turtles. And Blondie … 60s, 70s. 80s. I have them all on my iPod.
What do you hate about tour life?
That I cannot have breakfast with my son (Everly Bear Kiedis, 4 years old, which he had with the English model Heather Christie). He always asks me to tell him stories but if they are too short he gets angry. When I’m around I call him on the phone as soon he wakes up but it’s not the same.
How do you manage your relationship with Everly considering you’re always on tour?
No, its not true, not that I’m always around on concerts… Everly is a magic, I always ask myself why someone like him so good happened to be mine considering all the troubles I went through my life. I try to educate him in the best possible way and spend a lot of time with him. Since having him I can no longer afford to make mistakes now. However, children have to grow with freedom and respect in their natural attitudes. At 11 years old I was sent into a school to become a Marine Biologist on an island in Bahamas, but when I told my father (Blackie Dammett) that I wanted to be a musician, he encouraged me.
How do you tour for a whole year without even stopping?
I train, jog and do yoga (the Vispassana, a popular form of Indian meditation). Buddhism helps me to have a healthy relationship with my body and spirit. Although, now I’ve got used to touring. If you make calculations of the nights spent in hotels in my life, multiplied by the tattoos I have for hundred.
What do you do in your days off from concerts?
I read, especially Cormac McCarthy. His Border Trilogy for me is adrenaline. Then, I go in search of the paintings of Robert Williams (Californian artist and cartoonist who decorates with psychedelic images, even on surfboards, which Anthony Kiedis has practised as a sport since he was young) I posses a whole collection. Or else if I have nothing else to do I just sleep.
You’ve been friends with Flea since your school days at Fairfax in Los Angeles. How are you still close?
For me he is brother Flea, we had some fights with drugs in the past. But our secret is basketball: we are fans of the “Lakers”, even though we do not have the seats next to Jack Nicholson anymore and we watch the games on TV. You know that we were the first ones to do the balconing, which is a fashion nowadays. We used to jump in the pool directly from the windows of the building.
You are attached to your father John (actor with the name of Blackie Dammett and musician with the Spider, frequently in trouble for possession of drugs, also accused for helping the son start with marijuana and cocaine). You really give importance to his judgment which is strange considering being a rule breaking rock star per definition..
If you talk to my father, after five minutes you will realise what sort of person the man is, whose best friend was singer Sonny Bono, whom frequented Marlon Brando and the greatest music from the 70s, when drugs and buzz where something nice. He used to take me around California with his “Austin Healey”. He was a psychedelic man. This year his biography will be released… although now he is taking care of answering our Facebook fans.
Nowadays, what relationship do you have with drugs?
I don’t take drugs nor drink since 2000 and I must say that I don’t think about it anymore, although like every person that was addicted and has money – I know that this can lead to temptation. I started when I was eleven years. Once I stole my mother’s car and crashed it after driving around crazily at 140km/h, but neither that traumatic brain injury made me realize that I was smashing my brain with heroine.
Is it that difficult to stay clean for a rock star?
I already was in 1998, when I stopped after the death of our guitarist Hillel Slovak, who died from an overdose. I had not had any drugs for 5 years but then I relapsed again. I have also smoked nearly everything. Every day it was a battle to recover, which I fought for my son and myself.
You always give the mood to the band. Do you always create your own haircuts?
I do them myself. I am not a female that goes to the hair stylist… I have some experience in look. Now I am having my hair cut from the right. I am also going around with large coloured glasses, which help also help me to see clear. The Moustache and goatee give me the intellectual look.
Do you fall in love easily?
It is difficult to recognize true love, the one which you feel for the other person, when for years the girls, even more than one per night, after concerts would sneak in our beds and were willing to do everything – group sex also – just to stay with Anthony Kiedis and the Red Hot…
You are saying that this doesn’t happen on the tours nowadays?
For sure, it is rarely keeping in mind the shows that we had in the past.
So there are still groupies who go around with you nowadays?
Yes, they are older now though. Although, nowadays if I have sex I am appreciating it more – as in the past I used to do so much drugs that it was difficult to remember the faces of the girls which I have slept with.
Do you have any idea of the number of girls which shared the bed with you?
Once again you have to multiply by hundred my tattoos.
I can understand, but even a rock-star can meet a person out of the normal sexual routine, that can make you fall in love. You’ve recently been going out with the English singer Beth Jeans Houghton…
The stereotypes on me – especially that of a drugged singer which thinks only to take girls into his bed – are hard. It is rare that a girl thinks beyond and sees the person after all this fame, even in the past I have given strong impulses to create it. For the rest “no comment”
Like the one with Cher, when you where young?
My father asked her to be my babysitter, one night. She went in the bathroom to change. I was already a little curious, so I asked her if I was able to stay and watch her. Then, we went in my room and we had sex. I was 13.
What’s your actual stat of mind, some months before turning fifty?
Happy! As we are still a band in good shape – look at these muscles: they are still like those of an adolescent. Do you want a rematch in arm wrestling?
Okay. Although I want you to use the arm with the Koi Fish, not the one with the Tiger.
The Left? What a coward!
7 SINS WITH ANTHONY KIEDIS
He intends to spend his last days in Lithuania “The only country in which you get old with dignity”. Although he has bought a villa in New Zeland.
He has told the juicy biography of Scar Tissue, in which he does not like to talk about a lot. Even banning his family and son to read it. “Too personal, I’m ashamed”.
He lost virginity aged twelve, at a party organized by his father, where he was sneaked in. His “initiator” was eighteen years old. The rocker defined that experience as “More informative than a whole year in school”.
One like him (which also went around with only a sock on his penis), said he felt sentimental for Justin Bieber’s Film. “On the airplane I saw Never Say Never in which I cried twice. I want the world to know!”
He’s an unsuspecting magician of the kitchen. He won the ‘current girlfriend, Beth Jeans Houghton, thanks to a vegetarian dinner.
He had a fight at the parade of Jenny Kayne, at Los Angeles. What made him angry was being denied access backstage. There were eight bodyguards needed to stop him.
He was addicted to internet porn for three years. The relationship he had with Heather Christie helped him break the addiction and get off the PC.
Photos used in translated article by Stéphane Sednaoui