Anthony Kiedis: I'm A Pepper

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS front man Anthony Kiedis has never been known for holding back, and he doesn't here either, especially when it comes to big movie stars.


Anthony Kiedis is no stranger to the movies. His father, Blackie Dammett, appeared in a number of them, including Lethal Weapon, Doctor Detroit and National Lampoon's Class Reunion (he played the bad seed who came out of the insane asylum to see his old classmates). When Dammett was still known as Jack and was enrolled in the UCLA film department, he made a short film called The Hooligans that starred his four-year-old son, Tony. Though Anthony Kiedis has had small parts in F.I.S.T. and Point Break, it's music rather than acting that has made him internationally recognized. He's the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose last three albums (Blood Sugar Sex Magik, One Hot Minute and Californication) have brought them huge success. The band's long-awaited new CD was released this month.

LAWRENCE GROBEL: Do you watch the Oscars?

ANTHONY KIEDIS: They've become so homogenized and watered down with bullshit and drivel--like the whole fashion aspect of it--I find it sickening. Also, a certain amount of nominations come just from commercial success. I didn't want to watch these $20 million actors take their awards when there are other people out there who are better and are acting for peanuts.

Q: Are you against awards in general?

A: I take them with a grain of salt.

Q: Were you surprised Russell Crowe didn't win Best Actor for A Beautiful Mind?

A: Thank God he didn't get that award. We would have had to call in scientists to start managing his ego if he did. That guy...I met him around the time of LA. Confidential. He's become so incredibly pompous and self-important. It's funny how the world can do that to you.

Q: What movies do you like?

A: Amores Perros out of Mexico City totally rocked my world. That was my favorite movie of the year. I'm excited that Mexico is starting to churn out movies because the world can use a new epicenter of fresh ideas in moviemaking. I can't wait to see Y Tu Mamá También. I saw an older movie last month that knocked my socks off--_A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum_. I had never seen it before. It was hysterical, and showed me where Woody Allen derived his career from. What's Eating Gilbert Grape is my kind of movie--it's not trying too hard or trying to manipulate you. I liked all the cast, including Johnny Depp, though these days when I see Johnny Depp in a movie, I don't see the character he's playing, I see Johnny Depp, and that bugs the shit out of me. I just saw On the Waterfront for the first time and now I see what all the fuss is about Marlon Brando.

Q: What movie scores or soundtracks have you liked?

A: I used to love the James Bond scores, and all the Henry Mancini stuff. Cliff Martinez, who was a drummer in my band for our first two records, did a great score for Traffic.

Q: How many songs have the Chili Peppers done for movies?

A: We've done some, but we've become much more selective now because soundtracks end up competing with our own records. But back in the day, pre-Mother's Milk, we put out a song called "Show Me Your Soul" on the Pretty Woman soundtrack. No one had any idea that the movie was going to go through the roof, and the soundtrack sold gazillions of copies because of Natalie Cole, David Bowie and three or four others. We were the obscure, "who are these guys?" track on that record, but we got paychecks because for every record sold, we got the same percentage as everyone else. I never saw the film. We did a song called "Taste the Pain" for Say Anything... with John Cusack and lone Skye, who was my girlfriend at the time. We not only gave them the song, but I also did some weird incidental music where they turn on the radio and there's this really abrasive 10 seconds of music that comes on--that was me. Rea did a song for The Basketball Diaries, a movie I hated. That movie really pissed me off, because it dealt with drug problems in a very unrealistic way. It was such a great book. But there was a lack of consistency in the film--it was from a specific period, yet the style of dress and the dialogue were all over the place.

Q: Since you can relate to substance abuse issues, what films have done that subject justice?

A: Leaving Las Vegas was a brilliant portrayal of alcoholism. I don't know where Nicolas Cage got that from, but he captured the indescribable depression that comes along with that affliction. Days of Wine and Roses was also accurate, though a little more filmified. I've heard Requiem for a Dream was so accurate that maybe I don't want to go see it.

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