Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis has lived an extraordinary life. Nothing about his existence has been ordinary, and his 2004 autobiography, Scar Tissue, reads like fiction. There are plentiful tales from his book that are truly hard to comprehend. While this unconventional background has made him the fearless maverick able to strut around on-stage with his band, there’s also a darker side to Kiedis’ life, including one despicable act that he committed in his 20s.
To say that Kiedis lived through an abnormal childhood would be the understatement of the century. In truth, it’s a miracle that he is even alive today, let alone part of one of the most successful bands on the planet. However, the difficulties that he’s faced is no excuse for a track record of abhorrent behaviour.
Until he was 12, Kiedis lived a relatively normal, modest lifestyle 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 made the decision to live with his father full-time, his childhood was immediately over.
Kiedis‘ father was unsuccessfully attempting to make it as an actor, working under the alias of Blackie Dammett. However, in a bid of desperation, he turned to selling drugs to the stars when acting work failed to materialise. Substances were around Kiedis even at this young age, with him and his father regularly snorting cocaine together or smoking weed when the budding singer was barely a teenager.
Harrowingly, the first time that Kiedis used heroin, he was just 14-years-old. It was a life-changing moment that occurred after mistaking the unidentified powder for cocaine in the house, which would lead to decades worth of opiate abuse.
The lines between right and wrong have been blurred in Kiedis’ head since childhood, a factor that continued into adulthood. Undoubtedly, he had a troubled upbringing, but the singer has also caused others significant trauma, which has likely stuck with them for the rest of their lives.
In 1986, Kiedis began a relationship with the actress Ione Skye, the daughter of Donovan, who was just 16 when they began dating, which meant she was a minor in the state of California. At the time, he was around 24, and the two stayed together for several years. Furthermore, Kiedis even included a nude picture of the couple in his autobiography. However, that relationship looks relatively innocuous compared to another in which Kiedis owned up to in Scar Tissue, a relationship that inspired the Red Hot Chili Peppers song, ‘Catholic School Girls Rule’. It arrived after Keidies met a fan backstage at a concert in Louisana and had a whirlwind romance, which continued even after he discovered her age.
“The next day we drove to Baton Rouge, and of course, she came with us,” Kiedis wrote. “After we got offstage, she came up to me and said, ‘I have something to tell you. My father’s the chief of police and the entire state of Louisiana is looking for me because I’ve gone missing. Oh, and besides that, I’m only 14.’
“I wasn’t incredibly scared, because, in my somewhat deluded mind, I knew that if she told the chief of police she was in love with me, he wasn’t going to have me taken out to a field and shot, but I did want to get her the hell back home right away. So we had sex one more time.”
Kiedis himself was statutorily raped by his father’s girlfriend when he was also 14, and his adolescence seemingly left him with a warped view of reality.
While the incident occurred over 30 years ago, Kiedis has yet to publically apologise for his actions and show remorse for what he did during his early adulthood. Moreover, ‘Catholic Girls School Rule’ was brought out of retirement briefly by the band in 2007 despite the coarse subject matter, suggesting a lack of regret about his actions. These uncomfortable truths continue to be a dark cloud that hangs over his career.