September 24, 2008

Flea at USC.

He's a freshman, studying music:
The Chili Peppers [created tension] in our song structures but all based on emotion and intuition as opposed to knowing the math and academics of it. Knowing the structure is really fun.
He's also working on a solo album:
I’ve been making a record at home and it’s nearly done. It’s mostly instrumental stuff but I have Patti Smith singing on it and the choir from the school but mostly it’s an instrumental record. I’m not sure how to describe it but a lot of people have described it as cinematic, like soundtrack music. It’s not really a commercial enterprise, it’s not going to be on rock radio or anything. The record is based on the character Helen Burns from "Jane Eyre." I love Charlotte Bronte and all of the Bronte sisters.
That "Jane Eyre" stuff sound really nerdy, but if you've ever seen the Orson Welles movie version, you know that Helen Burns is the most stunning beautiful child ever seen in a film:

But no, Flea (Michael Balzary) says he's mad about the Brontes, and he's going to college, so I'll assume it's about the books, not how insanely beautiful Elizabeth Taylor is in that movie.

Here's Flea playing the bass:

He's studying trumpet (and music theory and composition) at USC.

AND: No, a men in shorts tag is not called for!


Seven Machos said...

Music composition would be good. The Chili Peppers needs a different song to reproduce slightly differently again and again for the next 20 years.

Okay. I'm sorry. Good for flea. I hope he has a great time and learns a lot.

Pogo said...

"our song structures but all based on emotion and intuition as opposed to knowing the math and academics"

Civilization claims yet another barbarian victim. Good for him.

goesh said...

He would especially appeal to Iranian youth, sort of an open, emotional dialouge

Simon said...

I never got into the Chili Peppers, but he's a ridiculously talented player.

Michael_H said...

Good for Flea. Flea's bass style is highly derivative of the slap bass style of legendary jazz/funk bassist Marcus Miller

Windbag said...

How about a "men in boxers" tag? know that Helen Burns is the most stunning beautiful child ever seen in a film.

Natalie Wood, Miracle on 34th Street, hands down.

Ron said...

He has a great album with Robert Fripp and the singer, Sidi Masour (sp).

Ron said...

It makes you wonder what Anthony Kiedis thinks of The Mill on the Floss, doesn't it?

Tibore said...

Absolutely good for Flea! He's choosing not to sit on his butt and wallow in the fact his band's sold tons of records. Rather sees that there's still things he doesn't know about music and uses that knowledge to push himself further.

There's never anything wrong with someone working to improve themselves. And there definitely isn't anything wrong with a successful person refusing to sit on the laurels of past success.

Ron said...

Roger Daltry's life has become Remembrance of Things Past.

Trevor Jackson said...

How about a "men in socks" tag?

Concerned Citizen said...

Yea, good for Flea. I saw the Peppers a while back. They are good at what they do. Made my dental fillings come loose.

I prefer Jaco,Paul, The Ox, Victor, or Phil.

Henry said...

I hope it works out better than it did for Elvis Costello.

The Juliet Letters, for which Costello learned to write music, was a pretty good concept album, but all his art projects since have been dreck.

rhhardin said...

I can play anything having heard it, ie. I can hear what the chords are.

I had to stop analyzing stuff though in order to enjoy an interesting new tune for more than a single play. The automatic analysis actually hinders hearing.

I say to myself, ``Stop it'' when I start doing it, and manage to suppress whatever analysis is beginning to start.

So he may not be better off.

Richard Dolan said...

I hope he sticks to the Bronte sisters. Academic 'music' doesn't have much going for it, and the only people who seem to like it are the academics and their hangers-on. (Anyone been to a modern opera workshop lately?) In the article he says that, up to now, his music has been mostly emotional and intuitive. Making it dry and theoretical doesn't sound like an improvement to me. But perhaps west-coast, Trojan-style academic music is different from what we get in NYC.

Cedarford said...

Reminds me that in spring of 2008, after 2 years of hard work and thesis defense, Brian May got his doctorate in Astrophysics.
He'd stopped his studies in the late 60s because he had to make a choice between becoming a full-time math teacher, graduate work, or going into a music career.

The last choice, lead guitarist in a rock band, with an equally talented oddball gay Persian guy as frontman, seemed the riskiest.

But it worked May remained in touch with his inner geek by coming up with a string of technical sound engineering innovations.

But pushing 60, concluding his creative arc in music was almost complete, fairly well financially set, he thought it a good moment in his life to shift gears. And finish the PhD he started on 40 years earlier. Two years of long hours catching up on 4 decades of publications to ensure his stuff was still original and relevant, working with new technology, returning to remote telescopes on mountains in the Canary Islands to refresh his observations.

Britain noticed what one of it's most famous sons was doing. And was proud as Dr. May was welcomed into a very select club of scholars.

As are all Queen fans.

Another reminder that not all actors and musicians are dolts.

Concerned Citizen said...

And now a few words regarding this Saturday's National Hunting and Fishing Day from Mr. Theodore Nugent, political columnist with Human Events magazine:

"I hunt, kill animals, start fires, and barbecue my families' daily sacred protein health food. I bait hooks, catch fish and then cook them in garlic and butter. That’s absolute perfection, just as God intended. Only a disconnected liberal cultist of denial could find fault with my perfect conservation lifestyle that is based on the sound science of biodiversity, sustain yield and responsible, renewable resources hands-on utility. Venison is the rocket fuel of the gods, and I celebrate it daily. It sure makes for some unstoppable fiery and sexy guitar noise...

Many people don’t know that outdoorsmen provide roughly 75% of all funds for state departments of natural resources for overall environmental management. Quality air, soil and water come from healthy wildlife habitat, and that has always been our mission statement.

Many don’t know that funds generated through hunting, fishing and trapping licenses, stamps and various other self-imposed fees are also used to protect non-game species, provide areas for bird watchers, and build trails for hikers. You're welcome.

Too many people don’t know that there are more turkey, elk, whitetail deer, geese, black bears and cougars in North America than at any time in our nation’s history. America’s wildlife management system is envied around the world for its overwhelming successes. Hunters, fishers and trappers demanded this, and we rejoice in our success.

You probably don’t know that hunting, fishing and trapping generates more than 30 billion dollars annually to the U.S. economy, 2.5 billion in annual federal tax revenues, 4.2 billion in state tax revenues each year and provides well over 593,000 jobs for Americans. Wildlife has to be counted in the asset column where it belongs, if you have a soul.

You probably don’t know that tens of millions of American families spend hundreds of
millions of hours in the great outdoors or that hunting is one of the safest recreational pursuits in America, with far fewer injuries or deaths per capita than skiing, football, cycling, swimming or boating."

Coming October 6th from Regnery Publishing is Nugent's new book Ted, White & Blue: The Nugent Manifesto, which can be pre-ordered at

Bissage said...

I hope Maestro Flea composes a series of duets for trumpet and lute.

Maestro Sting has been waiting.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William said...

Jane Eyre is a novel length castration fantasy. The fact that so many women love this book is unnerving.

Tibore said...

Hey Theo: Outside of the fact that this has to do with Musicology, this is a total thread derail, and I apologize to everyone else about that. But: Are you familiar at all with 20th Century Russian Music? Over at the James Randi Educational Forum, someone brought up an interesting issue with Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Symphony of Psalms, and Alexander Nevsky. The thread is here:

... and to me, someone who's below ignorant when it comes to musicology, the issue is fascinating. In short, he thinks that Prokofiev was mocking Stravinsky in Nevsky, and no one else has noticed. I'm bringing this up because the poster was looking for a musicologist to bounce this off of, and I've sort of volunteered to help. But I failed, because the few music contacts I know weren't musicologists, and simply didn't have the knowledge necessary to analyze this. Anyway, even if you don't want to get involved with any discussion about this, it's still a fascinating read. But if you'd like, you can sign up at that forum and discuss that with the poster.

Just a friendly invitation, and an item that might interest you.

knox said...

I always hated the Chili Peppers' music, but if Flea loves Jane Eyre, I love Flea.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tibore said...

Hey, Theo, thanks for the response. I'd only wish that academic musicology would take interest in this as more than just an interesting biographical note. I feel that interplay (whether positive or negative) between composers is as much a formative component as any motivation uncovered though political deconstruction. But hey, that's just me... I'm no music historian or anything...

Thanks again. Much appreciated.