Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers recently participated in First We Feast’s Hot Ones series, answering questions regarding his professional background. He acknowledged in the conversation that Keith Morris of Circle Jerks filled in for Anthony Kiedis during one 1984 show when the latter failed to show up: “He certainly did it, though I’m not sure how long the show was or how long it was overall. I recall that when he came out, we just performed some funk grooves since we would be getting paid. I said, “No way!” when we arrived at the performance and saw that the tickets were about fifty dollars each. Will we not be doing this show? The bassist described Morris’s lack of knowledge of the band’s song lyrics during their time together. “Put your left hand in your underwear,” he murmured. Raise your right hand and let out a loud cry! Yes, Hurrah! [Playing a guitar] He was completely focused on it throughout, but he approached it with considerable passion. After that, the show ended. We’re in the dressing room again and I’m thinking, “Whoa!” Well done! However, it also makes you wonder, “Where the f**k is Anthony?” He did not appear. However, Anthony appeared.
“Guys, what’s up?” he asks. Let’s put on a show! We’re just like [grumpy]. “Who was the performer?” Kiedis was battling a heroin addiction at the time of the aforementioned concert, which happened at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles just before the band’s debut album was released. The singer of Red Hot Chili Peppers allegedly began abusing drugs when he was young, which had an impact on both his friendships and their music until he made the decision to seek treatment in the late ’80s. Ron Young disclosed in a 2020 interview with Appetite For Distortion that the band briefly explored recruiting a new vocalist in the mid-1980s because of Kiedis’ persistent substance abuse problems. He clarified: “They were attempting to disband the band and restart things.” With heroin and other things, Anthony was devolving into a mess. They were quite angry with him. I’ll start by stating that Flea and Anthony are siblings. They are very close and close, having grown up with, and Flea was very frustrated with the toll it was taking on their music and on him personally. Thus, the group chose to replace the singer. Young continued, saying that the reason he went for the audition was because the group was looking for a more conventional singer to replace Kiedis. They sent me a ton of tracks, and I composed words and melodies for every song on the whole “Uplift Mofo Party Plan” album. We were practicing and doing preproduction at Capital when Michael Beinhorn and I were set to enter the studio.
However, the singer began to improve about that time, and Red Hot Chili Peppers made the decision to keep him on. Following the 1988 overdose death of his best friend and bandmate, Hillel Slovak, Kiedis continued to take drugs. He said in a previous interview with Joe Rogan that although Slovak’s death affected him at the time, it had no direct bearing on his desire to go sober: I kept using narcotics even after he passed away. And then I reached a point when using booze and drugs was not enough to stop the noise. I was still here even though I was pouring all this poison inside of me. The singer claimed that after realizing how much the drugs were hurting him, he paid $10,000—his “last ten grand”—to enter treatment. However, a relapse ensued, delaying the release of “One Hot Minute” in 1995. Kiedis disclosed in 2022 that he had been drug-free for 21 years, after using drugs intermittently for a few years.