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Publisher's Summary

With "virtuosic vulnerability" (The Atlantic), the iconic bassist and Red Hot Chili peppers cofounder pens a love letter to a youth spent wild in Los Angeles in his raw and riveting coming-of-age memoir.

In Acid for the Children, Flea takes listeners on a deeply personal and revealing tour of his formative years, spanning from Australia to the New York City suburbs to, finally, Los Angeles. Through hilarious anecdotes, poetical meditations, and occasional flights of fantasy, Flea deftly chronicles the experiences that forged him as an artist, a musician, and a young man. His dreamy, jazz-inflected prose makes the Los Angeles of the 1970s and '80s come to gritty, glorious life, including the potential for fun, danger, mayhem, or inspiration that lurked around every corner. It is here that young Flea, looking to escape a turbulent home, found family in a community of musicians, artists, and junkies who also lived on the fringe. He spent most of his time partying and committing petty crimes. But it was in music where he found a higher meaning, a place to channel his frustration, loneliness, and love. This left him open to the life-changing moment when he and his best friends, soul brothers, and partners-in-mischief came up with the idea to start their own band, which became the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 

Acid for the Children is the debut of a stunning new literary voice, whose prose is as witty, entertaining, and wildly unpredictable as the author himself. It's a tenderly evocative coming-of-age story and a raucous love letter to the power of music and creativity from one of the most renowned musicians of our time.

New York Times best seller

A number one LA Times best seller

A USA Today best seller

One of NPR's "Favorite Books of 2019" 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2018 Flea (P)2018 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about Acid for the Children

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Get in Flea’s head

As a long time RHCP fan, I lived learning more about Flea. He’s a very unique and beautiful thinker and feeler. My only complaint is that the timeline was a bit difficult sometimes as it skipped around, non-linear. But I think that is representative of Flea and I could appreciate that. Loved it.

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Interesting story

Moves slow at first, then too fast later. Doesn't describe anything with Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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I ate up every moment

Thank you Flea. I loved and heard and felt every moment of your beautiful story. I was transported to a different time and space, I shared every emotion and laughed all of your funny and quirky turns. I’m so glad I listened to your tale in your voice. Anne

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An amazing journey ❤️

I just finished listening to Flea’s heartfelt narration of Acid for the Children and I’m not sure I possess the words to articulate what a beautiful and, at the same time, heartbreaking account of what led him to become the incredible musician and philanthropist I know him to be. Hearing his journey from his earliest memories to his cusp of stardom, in his own voice, gave it a heartbeat to listen to his voice begin to crack with pain and hurt and then explode with joy and love. To hear the lyricalness of his words and depth of his language made me feel like the proverbial ‘fly on the wall’

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My favourite book this year!

Great story! So relatable on a human level. I couldn't stop listening to this book.

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Great story but feels incomplete

I loved hearing Flea tell his story in his own words. It was fascinating to learn about his early life and how he met Anthony, Hillel, and Jack. I felt a little cheated when the book ended just as RHCP formed as I was really looking forward to hearing about his experiences in the band. The content and performance are fantastic but it feels like the story ends much too soon.

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Amazing.

Loved it. Love Flea. Wish it kept going and going. Fleas writing is wonderful. Thanks Flea.

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Pleasantly Surprised

I’ve listened to many books and have never bothered to write a review but this book touched me. This was beautifully written, and to have it be read by the author was a real treat. Flea put on display of authenticity and vulnerability I did not expect. Fantastic read and I highly recommend it.

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Raw and Beautiful

This book gives great insight into RHCP Flea's childhood and his ideology on life. He narrates it with such raw emotion. You can tell he wrote this book with so much love. Being a huge RHCP fan I enjoyed hearing Fleas story being told by himself. If you enjoy memoirs give this one a try! ❤

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Absolute Love

I have been a fan of the Chili Peppers since 1989. My sister and I were talking with much music in the background. The Higher Ground video was about to come on and my sister said wait you’ve got to watch this. The bass kicked in, the band started jumping around and that was it I was hooked. From the outside I always wondered what Flea would be like in person. His reading of his book answers that question and it is everything I could have hoped for. Much love to you, Flea. 💥

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-11-15

Flea gets it right...

The story of Mike Balzary navigating his existence, from birth through adolescence and the influences that shaped him. He’s a wild and crazy guy, but with a very kind heart to rival those other traits. Stories of drug-fueled debauchery are there, but certainly not glamorized, simply left there for you to consider and to help understand the street life that bred perspective and enlightenment in an veteran artist. I’ve loved his spirit and his music for decades now; add authorship to that list of things that Flea has blessed us with... much love to him for the soul-baring honesty. It touched my heart.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Beth
  • 2019-12-01

Well-timed

I’m listening to this book while serving in Addis Ababa. It is read as written as if Flea is knitting a black sweater for us to don and feel the safe, comforting, no-longer-aloneness. Every chapter read left me saying, “ME TOO!” It strums every emotion and not for the shallow or superficial. Thank you, Flea. I’ll take you to Harar and Lalibela and raise a cup of buna.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Jake denotsKO
  • 2019-11-13

I'll listen to this more than once.

I am so happy that this is read by the author. Hearing it in Flea's voice makes it great. I love the little giggles and can see him smile as he reads. Hearing him fight back tears at times makes me feel his story. Thanks Flea.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 2020-01-10

Not what I expected

Felt like a long night listening to life story from a guy with severe adhd on a bender. Constant confusion of what’s going on, what time frame on, random side stories. Many I think will like it. Not my cup of tea.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-11-15

It seemed like a good idea at the time

More than just wild tales of a drug fueled youth. This is beautiful and poetic, an earnest baring of a sensitive soul who found solace from an unstable home through running the streets of L.A. Thank you Flea, these words have touched me in the same way that your music has.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-01-18

A story of love and friendship

Michael Peter Balzary - Flea before he became Flea - tells a story of love and growth as he roams the streets of Hollywood with his friends in search of friendship and connection. I listened to an interview with him and Malcolm Gladwell and I knew I had to get the book as well. Flea's narration adds a layer of authenticity to this very personal story, a story of longing for freedom, a story of growth and of escape. I'm struck with awe as I imagine living in his broken household, with an alcoholic step-father that would only acknowledge his son when it was convenient. Soon after moving to Hollywood, young Michael was left to his own devices, alone and in dire need of guidance and friendship. Roaming the streets, he built up his personality and his future, with resilience and optimism. I am moved by his description of the friendship and camaraderie he found on the streets of Hollywood. I am inspired by his ever-present hunger for jazz and I'm humbled by his desire to pursue music above all else. There are many lessons in Flea's account of his own childhood and adolescence; all of them learned through a trial of fire. From making mistakes to making friends, from doing drugs to reading books, this is a story of a person that forged his own path through life. Freedom is everything. If you read between the lines, you can glimpse his burning desire to be loved and accepted. This need is a good teacher. Michael grew up to see the best in people. He recalls with loving fondness the few times when Walter, his musician step-father, would surprise him with gifts, or with wise words. Even though he was often angry, neglectful, and sad, listening to Walter's band tear through hard bop phrases made young Michael see that everyone has a calling; and helped the aspiring musician to find his own purpose in life. Many more stories await to be discovered in the book. Some are funny, some are sad, some are downright scary, but they all come back to one thing: family is important. Through family, you can discover yourself like never before. Find your family at home; if you can't, go out and find it in the streets. Whenever you feel like home, stay; no matter how hard it was to find, it will have been worth it.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Scott Kuhl
  • 2019-11-14

Epic Bass guitarist but choppy writing

I really enjoyed learning the Flea side of the Red Hot Chili Pepper story. Flea references tons of amazing Jazz musicians that I will have to look up and which makes the story that much better. It is also so interesting to find out more about the actual people behind the music. The writing is a little choppy and jumps around but overall the story is fun. I’d recommend for fans.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 2019-11-19

Emotional

Flea wrote a relatable piece of art from his soul. I am eternally grateful for his existence and words. Highly recommend this one!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Tabata Pearce
  • 2019-11-14

great hanging with flea

having flea do the reading is like hanging with your bud on the couch just chatting. insightful and inspirational. thank you flea

4 people found this helpful

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  • SubZeroBass
  • 2019-11-13

Wow. Fu**ing WOW!

Man.. this was insightful, poetic, emotional and impactful. Thank you Flea, for sharing this with the world.

3 people found this helpful