We are dipping into the Far Out Magazine vault to look back at one of the more curious rock tales we ever caught wind of. It involves two icons from two different coasts of America as the California king, Anthony Kiedis, crossed paths with New York’s queen, Debbie Harry.
In Anthony Kiedis’ memoir Scar Tissue, the sheer lunacy of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ life as a teenager living with his father is quite simply unfathomable. The singer, under his actor-cum-drug-dealer father’s heinous supervision, found himself rubbing shoulders with some of the rock world’s royalty. At one particular party, a teenage Kiedis would find himself proposing to Blondie’s lead singer and songwriter, Debbie Harry.
In 1974, when Anthony Kiedis was just a very young 12-years-old, he went to live with his father, John Michael Kiedis, AKA Blackie Dammett, in California. The singer’s father had returned from a spell in Europe, making friends with the rock and roll elite in an attempt to try and carve out a career in acting. While he waited for the bigwigs of Hollywood to come a-knocking, he made his way in the world by selling drugs.
Kiedis even recalls his father giving him his first taste of drugs, “I had been there only a few days when my dad called me into the kitchen. He was sitting at the table with a pretty eighteen-year-old girl he’d been hanging out with that week. ‘Do you want to smoke a joint?’ he asked me”
He added: “Then he lit up the joint and passed it to me. ‘Be careful, don’t take too much. You don’t want to cough your lungs out,’ he counselled. I realised I was high. I loved the sensation. It felt like medicine to soothe the soul and awaken the senses.”
It meant that Kiedis, often acting as Dammett’s mule or runner, would come into contact with some of the seventies most unstoppable talents. He crossed paths with some of rock’s elite acts, everyone from Bowie to Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin, and beyond. It would help develop Anthony’s talent for music and his snarling attitude—a burning attitude that Kiedis saw in the very early embers of punk.
He and his father were big fans of punk and new wave in the late seventies and were at the forefront of both the homegrown Los Angeles scene and the wave of acts arriving from across the country, namely New York to play infamous venues like Sunset Strip and The Whisky-A-Go-Go. One such band arriving on the West Coast with a big reputation was Blondie.
The new wave monarchy arrived in LA with a wave of critical and public acclaim for both the band’s new twist on punk rock and the reams of roses which fell at the feet of their idyllic lead singer, Debbie Harry. The band opened up a show for The Ramones and Kiedis and his son were in attendance at the after-party. As Kiedis recounted in Scar Tissue, “At that time, my favourite record was Blondie’s first. Every one of those songs was indelibly etched on my soul, and I was totally in love with Deborah Harry.”
It transpires that a young Kiedis, likely buoyed by his ever-growing charm and developing good looks, went on to ask Harry to marry him. Harry remembered the incident as well, although she thought him to be much younger. “I did have one [proposal] from Anthony [Keidis] from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers when he was about eight! I treasure that. I had to let him down gently.”
Just imagine, a young Anthony Kiedis full of confidence and whatever else he could get his hands on fiding it within himself to ask the sexiest woman in the world to marry him at just 15. Now that is the kind of confidence that makes you one of the leading frontmen of one of the biggest bands in rock, that’s the kind of confidence that makes you Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.