Flea Discloses Who Briefly Replaced Anthony Kiedis In Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea recently appeared on First We Feast’s Hot Ones series to answer some questions about his career. During the chat, he confirmed that when Anthony Kiedis didn’t show up, Circle Jerks’ Keith Morris replaced him for one show in 1984:
“I’m not sure as to the whole show and how long, but he definitely did it. I remember he came out, and we just played some funk grooves because we were going to get paid. We showed up to the gig, and it was like 50 bucks a piece, and I was like, ‘No way! Are we not gonna play this show.'”
Saying that Morris didn’t know the lyrics to the band’s songs, the bassist recalled the stint as follows:
“He [sang], ‘Put your left hand in your underwear. Put your right hand in the air and scream! Yeah! Scream!’ [Making guitar sound] That’s all he did the whole time, but [he] did it with great enthusiasm. Then the show was done. We’re back in the dressing room and kind of like, ‘Whoa! We did it!’ But also kind of like, ‘Where the f**k is Anthony? He didn’t show up.’ But Anthony showed up. He’s like, ‘What’s up, guys? Let’s do the show!’ We’re like [grumping]. ‘Who did the show?'”
The said performance took place at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles shortly before the release of the band’s debut album and coincided with a time when Kiedis was dealing with drug addiction.
The Effect Of Kiedis’ Addiction Problems
Reportedly, the Red Hot Chili Peppers singer’s drug abuse started when he was a child and affected his relationship with his bandmates as well as their music until he decided to get help in the late ’80s.
In a 2020 interview with Appetite For Distortion, Ron Young revealed that due to Kiedis’ ongoing addiction issues, there was a brief period in the mid-80s when the band considered hiring another vocalist. He explained:
“They were trying to break the band, trying to get things going. Anthony was becoming a personal mess with heroin and stuff. They were really frustrated with him. I will preface it with saying Anthony and Flea are brothers. They grew up together; they’re incredibly close and tight, and Flea was incredibly frustrated both for the toll it was taking on their music and him personally. So the band decided to switch singers.”
Young mentioned that he auditioned for the part because the members wanted a more traditional singer after Kiedis and went on:
“They gave me a whole batch of songs, and that whole ‘Uplift Mofo Party Plan’ record, I wrote melodies and lyrics over every one of those songs. We were just about to go into the studio with Michael Beinhorn at Capital; we were rehearsing at Capital and doing preproduction.”
But the vocalist got better around that time, and Red Hot Chili Peppers decided to continue with him.
The Singer’s Recovery In The Late ’80s
Kiedis’ drug use went on after his best friend and bandmate, Hillel Slovak, died of an overdose in 1988. In a past chat with Joe Rogan, he mentioned that while Slovak’s passing had an impact on him at the time, it did not directly influence his decision for sobriety:
“I continued to use [drugs] after he died. And then I got to the point where I could not turn off the noise with drugs and alcohol… I was putting all this poison in me, and I was still here.”
According to his words, when he realized the drugs were harming him, the vocalist entered rehab by paying $10,000, his ‘last ten grand,’ with a relapse occurring and causing a delay in the release of ‘One Hot Minute’ in 1995.
Despite going on and off drugs for a few years, Kiedis revealed in 2022 that he’d been sober for 21 years.