In 2004 Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis released his searing autobiography, Scar Tissue. Co-written with Larry Sloman, the book seemingly delves into the darkest parts of the rock icon’s life – and leaves very little unexplored. Indeed, everything from Kiedis losing his virginity to smuggling money for his dad is laid bare for all to read. The book is so no-holds-barred, in fact, that the star later said he had initially regretted ever having written it. And after you’ve read the kind of stories that he put into print, you’ll perhaps understand why…
19. He asked Debbie Harry to marry him… when he was eight
According to one passage of Scar Tissue, an eight-year-old Kiedis was introduced to Debbie Harry at a party. Apparently, Kiedis had been somewhat obsessed with Blondie at the time and was particularly “smitten” with Harry. Naturally, then, the youngster saw his chance and swiftly asked Harry to marry him. And what was Harry’s response? Well, in her own words, she “let him down gently.”
18. He saw Cher naked when she babysat him
Kiedis’ actor father, whose real name is John, works under the stage name Blackie Dammett and has 35 credits on his IMDb page. And back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, it seems that Dammett rolled with an interesting crowd. When Kiedis was just an eighth grader, in fact, he was reportedly babysat by superstar Cher. What’s more, the future rock icon wrote that he had “watched [Cher] take her clothes off” – and that it was “just thrilling.”
17. He lost his virginity at 11… to his dad’s girlfriend
Not long before Kiedis turned 12 years old, his father was dating an 18-year-old woman named Kimberly. According to Kiedis, Kimberly had red hair and “huge, perfectly formed breasts.” Unable to resist, then, the future Chili Peppers frontman reportedly asked his dad to set up “a situation where [he could] end up having sex with Kimberly.” It seems that Dammett didn’t find this strange at all, either, and quickly sorted it so that his son could lose his V-card.
16. His dad asked him to take nude photos of his girlfriend
Aged 12, Kiedis reportedly took his first toke of a joint – which his father had made for him. And it appears that Dammett then also suggested that Kiedis take pictures of another of his 18-year-old girlfriends. Kiedis said that he had asked the woman, “What if we pull up your shirt?” But it was seemingly “more artistic” for her to have only one boob out for the photos. “No one felt uncomfortable about it,” Kiedis wrote in Scar Tissue.
15. He smuggled $30,000 into L.A. for his father
Not content with introducing his young son to drugs and sex, Dammett also apparently used his boy to smuggle cash into a major American city. Yes, Kiedis wrote that the pair had needed to enter Los Angeles while holding $30,000 in drug money. “So we rigged a belt piece, stuffed it with the cash and taped it to my abdomen,” Kiedis reported. And fortunately for him, he and his pa seemingly managed to enter L.A. without any hassle.
14. He portrayed Sylvester Stallone’s son in a movie
In 1978 Kiedis, under the name Cole Dammett, starred in the movie F.I.S.T alongside Sylvester Stallone. Well, he was Stallone’s character’s son in the picture and had one throwaway line – but still, he was in it. Mind you, Kiedis wasn’t left with a good impression of Stallone. The singer in fact wrote about how Stallone had “screamed” for an assistant to “get him out of here” when Kiedis had tried to introduce himself.
13. He would party with Dammett into the early hours… on school nights
The way Kiedis told it in Scar Tissue, it’s a miracle that he managed to achieve anything at all. Indeed, the book gives the impression that a young Kiedis was up all hours with his father and still having to attend class the next day. At one point, in fact, drummer Keith Moon even apparently had to ask, “Shouldn’t you be in school or something?”
12. Sonny Bono was his father figure growing up
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kiedis was something of a handful at school. “The minute someone would confront me in any way… I would pop him,” Kiedis wrote. But after the fights, Kiedis would reportedly try his hardest not to get suspended. Why? “I would have let down one of the few conventional positive role models in my life at that time – Sonny Bono,” he wrote. And yes, he means that Sonny Bono.
11. He had sex with Flea’s sister… a lot
Eventually, though, Kiedis was forced to leave that school and move to Fairfax High. And while at Fairfax, he met a certain Michael Balzary – later better known to the world as Flea. Some time after meeting Balzary, however, Kiedis also met his “foxy” older sister, Karen. And Karen then reportedly spent “three hours introducing [Kiedis] to a variety of sexual experiences [he] hadn’t thought possible.” Sweet.
10. He jumped off a five-story building and broke his back
At the age of 15, Kiedis and his new friend Flea apparently started leaping off buildings and into pools. He said that they had started small, of course, and had gradually worked their way up to a five-story apartment block. But Kiedis reportedly misjudged the jump and “missed the pool by about ten inches.” The result was a broken back and a stay in the hospital. And it seems that the injury still plays up today.
9. He inspired a manhunt for a Louisiana police chief’s daughter
The experience with Flea’s sister wouldn’t be the last time that Kiedis perhaps thought too much with… another of his organs. After all, at one point in Scar Tissue, Kiedis confessed to knowingly having had sex with a 14-year-old girl. And not only that, but he also said that the girl was a police chief’s daughter and that “the entire state of Louisiana” had been searching for her. These admissions were, of course, the source of quite some controversy.
8. He went missing in a jungle and nearly died
After Red Hot Chili Peppers had toured the 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Kiedis “decided to go on an adventure to Borneo.” But as he later told Rolling Stone, the adventure quickly became a “harrowing, semi-unpleasant test of survival.” How so? Well, Kiedis ended up getting lost for a week, came down with dengue fever and got a cockroach lodged in his ear.
7. He split open his head during a car accident
“I resembled a plate of spaghetti and meatballs,” Kiedis wrote about his 1984 car crash. In fact, it seems as if he was lucky to make it out alive. After all, Kiedis said that he’d gotten drunk before getting behind the wheel of his mother’s vehicle. Then he’d reportedly passed out, and the car had crashed into some trees. And in the end, the rock star said, a plastic surgeon had had to stitch him back together – using a picture of a pre-crash Kiedis for reference.
6. A former lover carved an “A” into her arm
Kiedis has naturally claimed to have taken a lot of women to bed – but apparently, not every instance was a positive experience. Indeed, one former flame used a razor to cut a letter “A” into her arm. Kiedis wrote, “The whole episode was scary, and even though I was loaded, I was starting to come to grips with the fact that I had created a lot of pain.”
5. He had a meaningful relationship with Sinéad O’Connor
In Scar Tissue, Kiedis wrote that his time with singer Sinéad O’Connor had been “the most wonderful nonsexual relationship [he’s] ever had.” However, he said that it hadn’t blossomed into a lifelong thing and, in fact, had ended almost out of the blue. For O’Connor, though, there was nothing much to it. Indeed, as she told Q in 2009, “I never had a relationship with him, ever.”
4. He used to walk around motels naked
Red Hot Chili Peppers are known for being somewhat naked on stage. But apparently Kiedis wasn’t always satisfied with being nude while performing. In fact, as Kiedis confessed, “I was a sloppy drunk because I’d get drunk and take off all my clothes in the motel and walk down the hall and knock on people’s doors.”
3. He performed naked in a strip club
Of course, it’s not just motels in which Kiedis has been seen baring all. In fact, in what The Guardian described as the Chili Peppers’ “one truly iconic bit of stagecraft,” Kiedis and chums have taken to the stage wearing just long socks covering their junk. Kiedis wrote that they had once done it in a strip club too – because, well, they thought it would be the only “appropriate encore.”
2. He once met the Dalai Lama
Yes, in 1997 Kiedis spent roughly ten minutes in the presence of the Dalai Lama. And according to Scar Tissue, the Dalai Lama “was unbelievably sweet and down to earth.” What’s more, his Holiness apparently held hands with Kiedis the whole time they were together and even asked for a picture.
1. He has ozone therapy to prevent hepatitis C from returning
Scar Tissue begins with the revelation that Kiedis had previously been diagnosed with hepatitis C. But although this virus can shorten one’s life if undetected, Kiedis apparently uses a somewhat controversial treatment known as ozone therapy. Indeed, in the book Kiedis claims that he uses the treatment to “cleanse [his] liver and eradicate the hepatitis.”