TUCK IT AWAY, FELLAS
Sex tips from the Red Hot
Today’s a special day in rock. Bands have been Iobbing televisions out of hotel windows for decades, but this is the first time one of the rock fraternity has decided to go for the self-projecting approach just for the fun of it. Taking running leap at the curtains of a second floor Hollywood hotel suite, muscled superfly Chili Peppers bassist Flea sails over 10 feet of concrete and drops messily into the pool below like a bratty divebomber.
Hardcore, eh? But then fate jousting Mr Michael ‘Flea’ Balzary is no ordinary namby rocker. Padding towards me dressed only in tattoos and a pair of sodden Calvin Kleins, he extends one of his ‘L 0 VE’ etched hands and grins the scary adrenal animal grin of a man who’s not accustomed to doings by halves. ‘I love being in the water.” says the dripping star. ‘We wrote a lot of music for this record in Hawaii and we were doing a lot of scuba diving. Being underwater is like taking acid.”
Snorkels. Muscles. Drugs. Sin Art. Freakfunk. Mental behaviour. We must be at the right place to witness the pre-launch of the next album from LA’s original sexudelic funk rock testosteroners. After four years, the follow up to the mass selling BloodSugarSexMagik is on the way. A throng of horrendously coiffeured German metal writers are squatting in a high security suite earnestly scribbling notes about the darker, harder hitting Rick Rubin produced Pepper material, assessing are solo-y enough. But we are by the pool with Flea, discussing swimming pools and nervous breakdowns.
Frontman Anthony Kiedis is the man to go to for the guarded home truths about the Peppers. But Flea is the wigged up, uncut version. Historically speaking he was the fried loon spirit of the band, incarnate. This is, after all, a man who spent much of the last decade suspended upside down on stage in just his underwear. That’s when he wasn’t waving his dick around in public and telling journalists to Rock with your cock out”.
This year’s Flea however, is more selectively careless. Being a member of a George Clinton inspired, dirty white boy, Cali gang member, punk funk band was never really going to be a safe career. But eventually the Chili’s madness went over the edge. Both Kiedis and Flea were busted for sexual misdemeanours at the start of the ’90s. Original guitarist Hillel Slovak died of a heroin overdose in ’88 and Kiedis went though his own smack trauma at the end of the decade.
Then Flea ended up with chronic fatigue syndrome in ’93 and on a night when Flea was in attendance at the Viper Rooms as part of Johnny Dope’s band. River Phoenix died outside the club. Phoenix was one of Flea’s beet fiends. It’s not difficult to see why the band has returned in a reflective state of mood. T he ‘Under The Bridge’ style ballad hit from the new album is called it My Friends’ and it details the grim condition of some of those in the Peppers circle. Is this where sex-punk-funk goes into therapy? Not precisely.
‘For me the record was a healing process,” says Flea. ‘There was a point touring after the last record where I just hated everything about being in a band. I felt like a performing seal. I just reached a dynamic n my life where it was just a very low time. And after that it got oven worse and my whole life completely let apart.
You mean chronic fatigue syndrome?
‘That was just a very vague thing to say that I was totally fucked up. I broke down physically and spiritually. After all the touring, I’d been going through a huge amount of stress. It was a cumulative effect. I’d gotten divorced. I went on tour. I was lonely. I was sad. I was confused. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. And finally my body just said ‘Fuck you man; and I couldn’t get out of bed. But I think it’s fortunate that it happened, because I teamed a lot. And right now I feel great, and I’m excited about everything again.’
Did River’s death effect things a lot?
‘It was a very tragic blow for me. It hurt me really badly. He was one of my closest friends in the world and I was with him (at the Viper Rooms). I loved him a lot. I love him.”
So is it a case of wild rockers going through reform?
“For me I don’t tool like I’m reforming anything. I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done. It’s just trying to grow as a person and an artist. But it doesn’t mean we’re a different band. When we go out on tour we’re going to do everything we can to do the wildest, most bizarre show people have ever seen. We’re entertainers, that’s what we do. I’m totally not into the thing of being a bunch of regular guys up there playing. Fuck that. I want people to see us booming down from Jupiter and exploding in their faces.”
So what do you get high on now?
“Why? Because I don’t do drugs any more. Well jumping out of the window was nice. I’m a nature boy. I can’t speak for as of us, but I’ve just got back from Alaska, just did a two week kayaking trip up in the middle of nowhere. You get out in nature and you see things that are really important like rocks and dry and dirt and you realise that you’re the speck of shit that you really are.”
Is it a fear buzz that you get from that?
“There’s definitely an element of loving danger. I mean I like to feel that I might get eaten by a bear. That’s exiting! Like get in the foetal position or he’s going to eat your fucking head and you’re going to be bear shit in the morning. But the band’s always got into nature every summer and for me it’s always as good as any acid trip. Friends of ours have a ranch in Costa Rica and we go and stay there sometimes.”
What are Costa Rican girls like?
“Most of the ones I’ve seen are portly women actually.”
So is this a sexy Chili album?
“There’s definitely some sex on the record. What’s wrong with being sexy? The thing is, we are definitely four guys that are full of testosterone and sexual drive and all that, and for me I know that I have learned over time that sex without love is nothing. It took me a while and I had to learn the lesson over and over again, but eventually you realise it’s harmful. I mean Anthony lies to write about sex, he thinks sex is great and I’m right with him. I’m all for it. Hooray for sex!!”
How many times have you dressed up as a woman?
“Many, many times. How about you?”
Twice. It was a learning experience.
“I like to dress up as a woman. I like to wear my girlfriend’s panties and not make a big deal about it, but just wear them and feel them nestling against my scrotum. I always like putting my legs together and just holding my penis and balls between my legs so that they tuck up against your anus. I’ve always enjoyed that look”
You must have been obliged to talk about sex a lot. Got any tips?
“My latest sex thing is the Taoist semen retention thing. I think that’s the way to go. Sexual energy for higher spiritual purposes! But I can’t do it. I splooge every time. It’s funny, if you sing about sex and you’re expounding the joys of copulation then there’s this perception that’s all shallow. I think that’s bullshit. This record is more introspective and much less sexually based than others. But I don’t think that makes it more important than songs about fucking. Fucking drives everyone. As much as we’ve been criticised for being a band that has socks on their dicks and does songs like ‘I Want To Party On Your Pussy’, we’ve done like 15 videos and we’ve never had a video chick in one. Whatever. I don’t need to make excuses for us. I think that sex rocks. And so does the new record.”
So who’s the coolest person to hang out with in LA?
“You want to know who the coolest, most handsome, intelligent guy in LA is? That’d be me.”
Flea is 32 years old, reads Charles Bukowski, has never ever been in a fight, and is thinking of moving to his native Australia where the swimming pools are deeper.
The Red Hot Club Peppers album One Hot Minute, is out 11 September on WEA.