Seemingly, there is nothing in common between The Who’s late drummer Keith Moon and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ snarling frontman Anthony Kiedis aside their rock star credentials. However, the colliding of their universes is something that the singer has remained forever grateful for.
To say that Anthony Kiedis had an abnormal childhood would be the understatement of the century, it’s a wild victory that he is even alive today let alone part of one of the most successful bands on the planet. For the first twelve years of his life, Kiedis lived a rather normal, modest life in Michigan with his mother. However, every summer he would visit his father in Hollywood for two weeks and the insanity of California captivated him. When he was 12, he made the decision to go live with his father full-time and, in that moment, he stopped living like a kid.
His dad was trying to make it as an actor and went under the alias of Blackie Dammett but wouldn’t get his first role until he appeared in one episode of Charlie’s Angels when Anthony was 15, back in 1977. To make rent, he sold drugs on an industrial scale before acting started to pay a solid enough salary that allowed him to leave it behind. Dammett’s relationship with Kiedis was more like that of friends rather than father and son — with the two of them regularly snorting coke together or smoking weed in dimly lit rooms.
The first time that Kiedis used heroin he was just 14-years-old, an incident which occurred after mistaking it for cocaine in the house, something which would lead to decades worth of opiate abuse. It’s not normal for a teenager to be using drugs to the extent that Kiedis was, or at all, but there was nobody really looking out for him and, although he had an unbreakable bond with his dad, it wasn’t one of stewardship.
Dammett was friends with many famous faces and he introduced Kiedis to the likes of Sonny & Cher, Talking Heads, Blondie (who Kiedis once proposed to as a plucky teen) and David Bowie but there were only one of his father’s friends who, he claimed ever cared about his wellbeing; Keith Moon.
In 2003, Mojo asked Kiedis which rockstar he met had the greatest impression on him and the answer was a no-brainer for the RHCP man: “Keith Moon, because he was so kind,” Kiedis gushed. “I was hanging out with adults when I was 11 or 12 and he gave me a little attention and made sure I was all right. I appreciated that thoughtfulness. He was kind and gentle as could be.”
Then in his 2004 must-read autobiography Scar Tissue, Kiedis expanded on this: “I was the only child present for all this insanity. For the most part, the adults who didn’t know me just ignored me. But Keith Moon always tried to make me feel at ease.
“In the midst of this chaotic, riotous, party-life atmosphere where everyone was screaming and shouting and sniffing and snorting and drinking and humping, Moon would take me under his arm and say: ‘How you doing, kid? Are you having a good time? Shouldn’t you be in school or something? Well, I’m glad you’re here, anyway.'”
The kindness that Moon, often characterised as Moon the Loon, showed Kiedis simply meant the world to him and it’s a tragedy that the drummer passed away before he got to see Anthony grow into one of the world’s premier rock stars. This anecdote from Kiedis also shows a different side to Moon’s character, one that is often left out of the narrative surrounding the iconic musician. It warms the heart to discover that he was much more to the drummer than the ‘Moon The Loon’ caricature that he was depicted as being by the press.