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Monday, 18 March 2013

Anthony Keidis

Anthony Kiedis was a vocal American rock band lead singer born on 1st November, 1962. His early years were spent in Grand Rapids, Michigan before he moved to California (Hollywood) where he started pursuing his musical career. His early life as a youth out of high school was just like any other youngsters’ except that he dropped out of ULCDA because of substance abuse. This marked his debut at Red Hot Chili Peppers because he was invited to take assist as an opening act for the band.

Anthony was a prominent band member in the Red Hot Chili Pepper band because most of the band’s lyrics were written by him. Other band members including John Frusciante and Flea have in the past been writing the lyrics for the band, starting with the Mother Milk’s album which debuted in 1989 but never supplied the melodies because Anthony did so. Anthony’s early role in Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s included rapping but on the band’s first album, he was able to keep a melodic rhythm in the band’s performance, a deviation from the contemporary beat of funk.
During his early years in the band, Anthony wrote a lot of songs that reflected on his life. Most of the themes to his songs were sex, drugs and his life and times in Los Angeles. However, the themes to his songs changed with the progression of his career because he matured and started writing on a broad spectrum of subjects. Anthony’s life was predominantly characterized by cocaine and heroine abuse which led to his firing from the band in 1986 before he was admitted back. However, he only lasted for 56 days before abusing the drugs again. Most of his experiences were reflected in his lyrics. Drug abuse and other aspects of his life are predominantly reflected in his band’s lyrics. This study focuses on co relation of the poetic lyrics in his band and the events that characterizes his life with an emphasis on the relation between poetic themes and factual themes.
            Most of Anthony’s lyrics gave an insight into his relationships with the women in his life. Anthony had a long-term relationship with his ex girlfriend and former model, Heather Christie whom they had a child, Everly Bear. The naming of the child (Everely Bear) comes from the inspiration of Anthony’s long time favorite band, The Everely Brothers.  His girlfriend Heather came up with the name Bear to symbolize Anthony’s part of the Bear clan. He goes on record to identify himself as part of the bear clan and naming their child, Everely bear made sense to him because he always wanted a part of his bear clan to be reflected in the child. Moreover, his inspiration from the Everly Brother’s band was also reflected in the child’s name because it symbolized his inspiration to write his lyrics. He however split with his girlfriend, Heather in 2008.
            Apart from Heather, Anthony had a number of short-term relationships with other women. According to his bio, Scar tissue, Anthony is documented to have dated a number of women including Ione Skye, Sofia Copolla, Jessica Stam, plus other women but most notably, he was rumored to have dated Madonna and a member of Spice girl, Melanies Crisholm who inspired the lyrics Melit Remmus. Other women who inspired his lyrics included Nina Heagen, Heidi Klum, and Yohanna Logan but the lyrics to the song, I could have lied is attributed to his relationship with the singer Sinead O’ Connor. However, the singer goes on record to deny the relationship and even went further to say that she didn’t care about the song either.
            In the song, “Wet sand”, Anthony elaborates on the feelings he felt win some of hi9s relationships. More so, he speaks of the loss of some of his close friends and lovers. In the line “My Shadow’s side so amplified” he talks of the loneliness he gets when he sleeps alone. In essence, after the break up with his ex girlfriends, he speaks of the effects of the break ups. The song also reflect on the memories he had in the past relationships when he speaks of “the best person he ever knew” as part of the song’s lyrics. He also speaks of the true feelings he felt in some of his relationships and regrets the fact that he abused the relationships when they came alive. He makes reference to Benzedrine in his lyrics as one of the substances that the effects were abused while refereeing to his lost relationships.
            Still in the song Wet sands he regrets making the wrong turn in his relationships by reflecting back on his behavior in the line "My what a good day for a, walk outside
I'd like to get to know you a little better baby
God knows that I'll really try" (Anonymous, 2007). He goes further to say "I saw you there so unaware Those hummingbirds all in your hair Elementary, son, but it's (soul) The disrepair of Norma Jean Could not compare to your routine" (Anonymous, 2007) denoting that he was previously attracted to the woman in his life because of the level of purity she had but he took it away essentially making reference to Norma Jean as Marilyn Monroe that her tumbling from the grave is incomparable to the dynamics of the entire song and the character depicted in the narration. 
The Break up with Sinead O'conner
            The song I could have lied is a representation of the Anthony’s state of mind after his break up with Sinead. He released the song soon after Sinead moved out of Los Angeles and requested him not to follow her or contact her. He narrates through his lyrics how the stares she wore cut through him, symbolizing the moment they were breaking up. He goes on to confess his love for her but notes that he got blown off even after professing his love, denoting the events that followed after his break up with Sinead. She never wanted anything to do with him.
            The song practically narrates the events that characterized his relationship with Sinead because even in his biography, Scar tissue, he narrates how Sinead used to miss her but all of a sudden he got a call from her saying that she was leaving town. This came as a shocker to Anthony and he best describes his emotions in the song. The song is emotional and sad, depicting the motions that go on during a break up. It best conceptualizes the divergent state of thoughts both of them had towards the relationship.
Drug Addiction
            Anthony’s life as a drug addict is reflected in the song Under the Bridge. This song was released in 1992 from the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Anthony basically wrote the song as an expression of the influence of heroine and cocaine in his life. Anthony goes on record to say that he thought the song was largely emotional and couldn’t fit well to the contemporary style of music that the band played. However, upon the intervention of Rick Rubbin (the bands producer), Anthony developed the courage to share the song with his fellow band mates. The song was largely emotional and reflected a lot on the singer’s life because his life was filled with much distraught and emotional drain when he wrote the song.
            During this period, Anthony had been sober for a record three years and believed that this was the cause of his deteriorating relationship with fellow band members. When the band was composing the lyrics to the album, Black Sugar Sex and Magik, band members Frusciante and Flea openly smoked marijuana, disregarding Anthony and so he often felt left out. It is documented that during one of Anthony’s drives back home after a rehearsal in the eve of April 1991, he felt a profound feeling of loss because he believed Frusciante and Flea who were his best friends resented him because of his sobriety (Jeff, 2004).
            This was a moment of depression for Anthony and it triggered memories of his heroine and cocaine abuse when he was with his long time girl friend Ione Skye. The compounding feelings of dejection, loneliness and memories of his ex girlfriend drove him, further into emotional distress. As a result, the feeling of alienation from his band mates drove Anthony to believe that the city of Los Angeles and California hills were his only companion. As a result, he felt an unspoken bond between the city and him. This inspired some lines to the song Under the Bridge where he speaks of the city as his only friend and that “they cry together”. This symbolized Anthony’s vulnerability and the susceptibility he was undergoing at the time.
            Nonetheless Anthony still believed that he led a better life free from drugs despite the overwhelming feeling of loneliness he felt. He is quoted in Rolling stone saying that the life he led free from drugs was a million times better than the life he led as a drug abuser. This feeling later inspired the chorus to the song because he says that he should be taken back to his family, friends and band mates because he doesn’t want to go through his past experiences again.
            The song under the bridge still narrates the harsh effects the drugs had on Anthony’s life and the role it had in destroying his past relationships with his previous friends plus his deprivation of happiness in the same regard. The verse under the bridge narrates how Anthony joined a gang of drug barons who peddled drugs under a bridge. He even recalls how he had to pretend that he was a fiancé to one of the Gang member’s sister so he could be allowed to join the gang (Anthony & Larry, 2004). This granted Anthony membership into the gang but he recalls that this was one of his lowest moments in his life as a singer because he pitied himself because of the levels he was willing to go to fuel his addiction. He also recalls losing his ex girlfriend Ione Skye through his addiction because she was willing to love him but instead of embracing her love, he spent most of the time with the gang. The singer however fails to acknowledge the name of the bridge though he only discloses the location to be part of Los Angeles’ downtown area. 
            In the lyrics to the song Yertle the Turtle, Anthony makes reference to a cocaine dealer he was unable to pay. He instead chose to speak of him in the song when he made reference to him in “Look at that Turtle Go Bro” in one of the lines to the song (Lyrics Freak, 2010). Drug abuse was however not unique to Anthony only be cause it was rampant among the lives of the band members. Fellow guitarist Hillel Slovak lost his life from a drug overdose in 1988 showing the extent of drug abuse among the band members. Anthony considered his death surreal and didn’t even attend the funeral because Slovak was one of his partners in drug abuse. Kack Irons, another member of the band also quit, saying that he wasn’t going to play in a band whose members were dying from drug abuse. Anthony fled the city in the same regard.
"Right on the verge just one more dose I'm traveling from coast to coast My theory isn't perfect but it's close I'm almost there why should I care" (Lyric interpretations, 2007) is a line from the Wet Sands song denoting his drug addiction. He was preoccupied with getting high at this time, putting more and more pressure to himself from the line “one more dose”. Partially, this pressure was brought about by the death of his band mate, Slovak because he wanted to forget the pain he felt from it all.
Anthony’s biography, the scar tissues gives a painful narration of his fight against drug abuse. Anthony is quoted on pg 461 painfully coming to the realization that drugs are bad. He manifests these sentiments in the lyrics to the song, otherside. The line "I don't believe it's bad" (Knol, 2009) best conceptualizes this sentiment. He however finds it difficult trying to balance out the harmful effects of drugs and its potential “benefits” in the book because he painfully tries to diffuse the strong antidrug sentiments depicted from the book. In the same context, Anthony says "Destruction leads to a very rough road/ But it also breeds creation" (Knol, 2009). In other words, he tries to imply that drugs had a great role in the creation of his lyrics but at the same time had a big role to play in his self destruction. He therefore tries to strike a middle ground to the role drugs played in his life though he tries to condone substance abuse but at the same time making the readers comprehend the effects drugs had on his life (creativity). Conclusively, Anthony’s depiction of drugs cannot be analyzed from one perspective because it is open to interpretation, though it openly shows that his life as a singer was greatly complimented by drug use. According to his biography he evaluates drugs as both “evil” and “cool” (Knol, 2009).
Slovak’s Addiction and Death
            The lyrics to the song otherside can be best comprehended from the bondage Slovak was going through before his death. The protagonists to this point of view argue that if Anthony or the band in general meant otherwise, they would have separated the tow words “other” and “side”. In the song, Anthony sings the song in place of his fellow band mate Slovak because the song is a narration of how drugs bound their lives and drove Slovak to a state of despair. In fact, the album which the song was produced from was meant to be a tribute to the fallen band member.
            Otherwords, gives a narration of Slovak’s life and personal struggle with drugs and ultimately his death. His drug addiction eventually became like a terminal illness he couldn’t get out of. Anthony gives a painful narration of the effects of drugs on the life of Slovak and explains the events that precede his death in a painful way. He narrates how heroine can take control of someone’s life and eventually tie someone down because one becomes helpless to it. His poetic narration is a manifestation of the life of an addict because the song makes the audience understand that before drugs eventually lead an addict to drug overdose and suicide, the addict becomes a prisoner of sub lethal doses and the question of overdose or suicide becomes a matter of time. Anthony gives a narration of these events through the life of Slovak.
            The song makes the audience understand what went on in the mind of Slovak, portraying that drug addiction had become a permanent fixture in his life, such that the only way he could get out of the bondage was by committing suicide. Anthony further narrates through the line “I can’t believe its sad” because he highlights Slovak’s contemplation of suicide as a means to an end. Slovak had chose suicide as a way of taking back control of his life because all other channels had failed (Anonymous, 2006a). Anthony best conceptualizes this idea in index 3:59. The line “I’ll take it on the other side” is a manifestation of how Slovak craved for the drug but he knew it was part of the bondage he was living in and had to get out of (Anonymous, 2006a). However, he knew he was helpless to the drug and the only way he could redeem himself was taking the drug in the after life. "Burn me out, leave me on the otherside"...  is another line that explains the ordeal that happened in the life of Slovak (Anonymous, 2006a). Anthony was trying to quote Slovak’s mind because “burning out” meant overdosing on the drug and “leave me on the other side” meant death after suicide. In other words, for Slovak to satiate both his craving for the drug and put an end to the addiction, suicide was the best option.
            Slovak’s fight with the drug is best analyzed in the line "I yell and tell it [drugs] that it's not my friend; I tear it down, and then it's born again" (Anonymous, 2006a). This is a manifestation of the kind of struggles he went through before he settled on suicide. Quite frankly, Slovak was experiencing replaces which he had no idea of controlling. He therefore felt helpless and Anthony best brings this concept out in the line "once you know, you can never go back" (Anonymous, 2006a). This is Anthony’s way of making the audience understand the effects drugs have. Once a person started using it, there was very little chance of getting out of the addiction. The effect is virtually irreversible (according to the song) and there was little one could do. It can therefore be summarized in a nutshell that through the otherside, Anthony was giving a narration of the real life events that preceded his band mate’s death. The lyrics are not in any way cryptic because beyond any doubt, Anthony was trying to make the general public understand what goes on the mind of an addict and more specifically what was going on in the mind of Slovak before his death.
Career Choice
            In the song can’t stop, Anthony makes reference to his early life before debuting as a singer. He talks of his life before he came to California and pursuing his career as a rock star. Previously, Anthony contemplated being an actor while still staying with his dad but he instead chose to pursue a career as a singer, in the same regard the line "choose not the life of imitation" makes reference to the acting career he abandoned for singing. However, Anthony recently took part in a number of television roles after his career as a rock star climaxed.
As the song progresses, Anthony talks of the independence he experiences as a rock star. He further boasts of the privileges he gets as a rock star now because he is now at liberty to buy anything he wishes, mingle with the best stars in the business, do commercials and television shows, travel around the globe, live in all the posh places and experience the party life. For these reasons he explains that he doesn’t see the need to stop it if he worked so hard to get there. He further goes on to explain that rock music is currently his life and he wouldn’t be anything without it. It can therefore be conclusively said that Anthony exemplified his career and in essence gave his audience an insight into celebrity hood and the life of a rock star. He also expresses the appreciation he feels for choosing the life of a rock star. This song therefore characterized his professional career and celebrity hood in Hollywood.
Western Ideals
`           For the correct comprehension of Anthony’s poetic representation of the world as it is, it is important to comprehend 5teh state of affairs at the time of writing the song. The song Carlifornication is a good example of the representation of immorality that goes on in the world today. However, Anthony expresses this in a beautiful, poetic and metaphoric way such that the song best captures the level of immorality that went on in his state California and indeed the world at large. There is therefore a deep meaning in the song, symbolizing the level of fornication that went on in the state. However, analysts have observed that reference to the entire city may not be entirely true because Anthony meant the lifestyle of Hollywood and celebrity hood. He didn’t make reference to the entire city because there was no way the band could talk negatively of its own state. Moreover, generally when reference is made to California, the first thing that pops into the mind of the listeners would be the Hollywood culture.
            The song Californication can therefore be analyzed in Anthony’s words as a general representation of the Hollywood’s lifestyle. In this context, Anthony makes reference to the real culture of celebrities in Hollywood because they almost assume a god-like status in the society giving them the liberty to do whatever they want and whenever they want.  Today, we hear many stories of celebrities doing the dumbest things and even sex tapes of celebrities being leaked out to media. Anthony tried to describe this situation in Hollywood. Celebrities however do this like a means of throwing their whole lives away.
            Nonetheless, the reason why Carlifonication be came such a big hit wasn’t because of the obvious culture of celebrity hood in Hollywood but the similarity it drew to common citizens. In essence it draws the comparison from celebrities to common people, representing the fact that people could not do the same thongs as celebrities did and neither could they sacrifice their entire lives for the mere fact of having fun. Anthony was especially speaking to the young generation who were easily attracted to such kind of lifestyles.
            In one of the lines to the song, "Psychic spies from China Try to steal your minds elation", Anthony makes reference to the influence Television programs have on little kids today. The situation from the time the song as written and today is no different. Children actually watch TV so that they can have something to talk with their friends especially if the program or the movies being aired is a popular one. For instance, if a Chinese girl watched a program of Chinese spies staling American secret service information from a US data base, the girl doesn’t build her psychological understanding and neither is she being educated on anything. Essentially, she watches the movie or program so that she could have something to talk about or so that she could also contribute to the following day’s discussion at school about the movie or program. Anthony therefore tries represent what is going on in today’s society that many of the young population are being brainwashed by the media and the thoughts of others are slowly infiltrating into their brains, inhibiting their own creative development. By the thoughts of other people, Anthony means the thoughts of movie producers, writers, directors, editors and the likes; all those are involved in the creation of this media. The line "Little girls from Sweden
Dream of silver screen quotations" also narrates the same situation.
            Anthony best brings out the ideals of Western civilization and dominance by making reference to the state of California. Concisely, there is no place on earth that best conceptualizes Western ideals than California. Living in a posh house and driving a flashy car are just some of the ideals that best characterizes the Hollywood lifestyle. To some extent, this is a culture that seeks attention. It craves attention in the sense that celebrities are seeking recognition through the ownership of the unnecessary accessories either to please their friends or for self actualization. Indeed, celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears are just part of a whole mockery of the celebrity hood lifestyle because they crave for attention through their stupid acts. Anthony represents this lifestyle in Californication.
            Anthony also makes reference to the denial state of celebrities as they age because celebrities in holly2wood are fond of going for plastic surgeries to hide their aging features. Regrettably, this trend has picked even among the general population where common housewives would spent their entire lifesavings on plastic surgeries so that they could look younger. The line "Pay your surgeon very well To break the spell of aging" shows the tendency of most rich celebrities paying their surgeons hefty amounts of money for artificial implantation on their bodies like nose and breast surgeries so that they would look “better”. This behavior is poetically manifested in the song also to represent the trail of thoughts for the ageing woman. Many women nowadays mask their humanity in the sense that they don’t embrace their ages. The trail of thought is that these women often feel unattractive as they age and their willingness to undergo plastic surgery comes out of the fear that their husbands may cheat on them, opting for younger attractive women and the fact that their children would be embarrassed to be seen with them in public.
            Anthony represents California as a creation of fake features that is generally hyped up in the world today. Moreover, in the video to the song, beautiful scenes are placed to represent the overrated sense of California lifestyle but towards the end off the song, the scenes are mitigated to represent the real life situations and the band is also seen fleeing from the scene, probably as a representation of running away from the overrated lifestyle.
            The influence celebrities have on the general society is therefore enormous and Anthony metaphorically represents this fact. He adds that civilization starts in the East and ends in the West, symbolizing the real origin of Western ideologies from the ancient Greek. The West is represented by Hollywood, California. He further goes on to say that the West is where civilization will finally end, denoting that the celebrity lifestyle most people are attracted to will be the end to humanity because of the overrated lifestyles that destroy most people.
            Most people create a glass wall, living in a “plastic” world characterized by glamour and fame, oblivious of the fact that the glamour and fame can potentially mark the end of one’s life. Anthony doesn’t directly make reference to the state of California per se but tries to analyze the state of mind of most Americans. Predictably, Americans are largely preoccupied by the lives of celebrities, sex and the party life.
Anthony’s lyrics were predominantly inspired by the happenings in his life. His career as a singer and a rock star was predominantly characterized by drug abuse which was the predominant theme in his lyrics. However, other events which he strongly represented in his lyrics were the death of his band member, his relationships, and the celebrity lifestyle in Hollywood. He represented this themes poetically but largely through his life experiences. The analysis of Anthony’s lyrics can therefore be largely determined as factual and a representation of the society and his life.

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