Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea talking about his drug experience, his addicted stepfather and his role in the movie Low Down, a biopic about jazz pianist and Charlie Parker and Miles Davis collaborator Joe Albany.The film was based on the 2003 book Low Down: Junk, Jazz and Other Fairy Tales From Childhood written by Joe Albany's daughter Amy-Jo.








"In his growing-up years, Flea had learned to play the trumpet, like his character Lester Hobbs, and he also spent time indulging his character's favorite vice: heroin. And by his own estimation, "I did it a lot," he says."



What was it like growing up with your stepdad?
God bless him, it was very difficult. He wasn't as successful as Joe Albany. He barely did any recording, but he was a great player. He was subject to these real, crazy, violent outbursts, just irrational, crazy emotional behavior. I was a kid. I didn't know drugs and alcohol and what they did. My mom got together with him when I was six or seven years old. It was just this really insane behavior that was frightening. At the same time, he was like, "Listen to this record" and he'd have these jam sessions all the time. Like I said, the music part of it was amazing. He was a really loving guy, too, but drugs make people crazy.

Did you compare childhoods with Amy?

We talked a lot about growing up. Being the same age, growing up in the same town, we both kind of like got into punk rock at the time and were both wild in the street and all that.

Was your character as a whole easy to play?
It was hard, 'cause the guy's a junkie, he's a pretty pathetic character and he kind of spirals down. Each time you see him, he gets worse and, at the end, he's a disaster to the point where he freaks Joe and Elle out. I was like, "OK, I gotta really tap this thing," and that was a challenge for me 'cause at this point in my life, I'm basically a pretty together dude. I don't drink or smoke or do drugs. I exercise, I have a big career, I'm a parent and I run a music school. I do all this shit. I was a little like, "OK, I gotta really get there." Like I said, I really felt it. Out of love for those guys, I could just feel being there, like that.

You talked about your own experience with heroin earlier. You were able to quit cold turkey?
I was never a junkie. I was never strung out, but I did stop doing drugs. In '92 I got really sick and I just wanted to be healthy because, even though I did drugs and stuff, I played basketball every day and jammed with my buddies. I got chronic fatigue and I got all fucked up. So I was like whatever it takes I just wanted to clean my body out completely and be healthy. I just stayed that way.




From an interview by Kory Grow for Rolling Stone (November 6, 2014)











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