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Flea

He was born on October 16, 1962, a happy birthday to legendary bassist Michael Peter Balzary, aka "Flea", and we have 30 interesting facts to tell you about him.

(Photo: Rich Polk)


1. He was born in Australia to parents of Hungarian and Irish descent.


2. The nickname "Flea" stuck with him in his youth due to his hyperactivity.


3. In his youth Flea did not like rock music at all. He loved jazz and admired well-known jazz artists like Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong.


4. The musical influences on Flea as a child came mainly from his stepfather who was a jazz artist.


5. The first instrument he played was the trumpet.


6. Flea grew up in a very violent environment. He was terrified of his parents, especially of his stepfather who was a violent alcoholic.


7. As part of dealing with the situation, Flea started smoking cannabis when he was only 13 years old.


8. He met Anthony Kiedis, a member of the band "Red Hot Chili Peppers", in high school. They were both outcasts and the common denominator brought them closer together and made them best friends.

By the way, Jack Irons and Hillel Slovak who will be part of the "Red Hot Chili Peppers", as well as Slash, Rob Gardner, Tracy Ganz, Lenny Kravitz ,and other celebrities also studied at the same high school.


9. The person who taught Flea to play the bass guitar was none other than guitarist Hillel Slovak. He did this because he thought the bassist of his band at the time, "Anthym", was not good enough and he decided to teach Flea to play bass to replace him.


10. Flea soon became "Anthym's" bassist who changed its name to "What Is This", where he also played with drummer Jack Irons.


11. In 1982 Flea left "What Is This" and moved on to play bass for the punk rock band "Fear".


12. During his time with "Fear", he was invited to a one-time performance with Slovak, Kiedis, and Irons under the name "Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem", at the Rhythm Lounge Club in Los Angeles.

(Photo: Gie Knaeps)


13. The reviews from the show were so good that the club owner invited them to play there again a week later and even went on to more shows, not before changing the band name to "Red Hot Chili Peppers".


14. Flea has developed a very unique playing technique on bass guitar and is primarily responsible for the all-too-unique sound of the "Red Hot Chili Peppers".


15. In 1990, Flea and drummer Chad Smith were charged with assaulting a fan during a performance in Florida, after jumping off stage and poking a fan in the ass. They were found guilty, in part dbecausethe offense they were charged with was documented since the show was recorded for MTV.


16. In 1993 he was invited by "Nirvana" to play the trumpet during a performance of the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit".


17. He was a good friend of actor River Phoenix who died of an overdose in 1993. Flea was with him the night he passed away at the Viper Room in Hollywood where they were scheduled to perform and also boarded an ambulance with him on his way to the hospital.


18. The song "Transcending" which seals the album "One Hot Minute" was written by Flea in honor of River Phoenix.


19. He worked with Alanis Morissette while playing bass in the song "You Oughta Know". The one who played guitar on that song was none other than Dave Navarro who that year was a member of the band Red Hot Chili Peppers.

(Photo: Warner Music)


20. Later Dave Navarro will attract Flea to his mother band "Jane's Addiction". Flea played bass and trumpet with the band in 1997.


21. Together with "Jane's Addiction's" drummer Stephen Perkins and his Chili Peppers friend John Frusciante, he formed The "Three Amoebas".


22. In 1999 Flea performed at the Woodstock Festival completely naked. He repeated this at the Reading and Leeds festivals that year.

(Photo: Unknown)


23. Flea is also an enthusiastic runner. He finished the LA Marathon to win funding that would allow him to build a music school.


24. In 2001 he established the "Silverlake" music school, which provides free music lessons to children at risk.


25. Flea is also an actor who has appeared in no less than 30 films and TV series, among them, Back to the Future 2, Back to the Future 3 ,and Big Lebowski.


26. Flea is active in assisting the bee population. He owns 3 hives numbering over 200,000 items in the backyard of his home.


27. In 2008, Flea began studying music at the University of Southern California. He is quoted as saying there are many things in music that he does not know and wants to learn.


28. In 2009, Flea together with Thom Yorke formed the supergroup "Atoms for Peace".


29. Flea has collaborated with many other artists like The Mars Volta, Tom Waits Johnny Cash, and more.


30. Flea is ranked second on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of all-time great bass players.


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