Do you remember the Red Hot Chili Peppers song Scar Tissue?

Scar tissue that I wish you saw
Sarcastic Mister know it all
Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you ’cause
With the bird I’ll share
With the bird I’ll share
This lonely view
With the bird I’ll share
This lonely view

This is the song you listen to and wish that other people could understand via telepathy. But telepathy doesn’t exactly exist, and what ends up happening over and over again is that people are misunderstood.

Maybe the RHCP are asking something else, “If people knew the source of a person’s pain, could they forgive?”

We get a rich tapestry illustrating this through Chili’s vocalist Anthony Keidis in his 2005 autobiography Scar Tissue. Co-written by veteran biographer Larry Sloman, the book traces Anthony’s life emerging from his parent’s fragmented marriage to success as a child actor into tumultuous years in the LA music scene.

There are never any hints that Anthony is fated for the big time with the RHCP. If you look carefully, it’s a telling more about the ephemeral nature of moments in life itself than someone charting the ever-cliched “meteoric rise to the top.”

As the Chili’s make their foothold into mass consciousness, Anthony experiences the highest of highs: an extravagant home, beautiful admirers and picturesque vacation spots. He also must contend with spiritual erosion from the toxic nature of the world itself.

Past the band’s antics, there’s something deeper at work here that resonates deeply: People (including myself) are sometimes quick to judge others. Do we look at ourselves with that same critical lens? Anthony rarely displaces blame elsewhere, although he has many sharp (accurate) observations about others.

Nowhere is this made more clear than the section telling us the story behind the classic Under the Bridge that originated from Keidis’s feeling of being distanced from his own band.

If Anthony Keidis teaches us anything, it’s that his truth is something internal. In the end, we don’t fully understand because he’s always holding that 25 percent back from the reader. The people who fully understand him are the ones who are (or were) already in his life.

In Scar Tissue, he’s given us something much more magical, a story that continues to create associations and memories long after the pages have stopped turning. He delivers essential truths.

Whether you’re reading the book or listening to the music, audiences can interpret the message for their own design.

 

 

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