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Michael Balzary

Flea (born Michael Peter Balzary on October 16, 1962 in Melbourne, Australia) is the bassist for the alternative funk band Red Hot Chili Peppers.

After his parents divorced when he was four years old, his mother moved the family to the United States, and eventually settled in Los Angeles in 1972. Flea got his start in music while in high school. He played trumpet in his school's band, and was considered by his teachers to be one of the best trumpet players they had ever seen—an especially high accolade considering that renowned trumpeter and record executive Herb Alpert had attended the same high school a generation earlier. He was even accepted into the Juilliard School of Music for his trumpeting skills.

He met bandmate Anthony Kiedis while at Fairfax High School, and they went on to form Red Hot Chili Peppers together. Flea is widely considered to be among the finest bassists in recent history. He still plays trumpet occasionally, for example, as part of a horn section on the first Jane's Addiction album, and on Mike Watt's Ball Hog or Tug Boat? The song Pretty Little Ditty on the Chili Peppers album Mother's Milk also features Flea on trumpet.

Flea's style is influenced by Bootsy Collins and by punk bass players such as Joe Lally of Fugazi.

He also works outside of the RHCP. He filled in for Eric Avery during the reunion tour of alternative rock band Jane's Addiction in 1996, as well as played bass for The Mars Volta on 2003's De-Loused in the Comatorium. He has done some acting, having appeared in the movies The Big Lebowski, My Own Private Idaho, Suburbia, The Chase (1994) (with RHCP bandmate Kiedis), Back to the Future 2 and 3 as 'Needles' and providing the voice of the feral boy Donnie in the animated television series The Wild Thornberrys.

Flea's mother was a singer - and sang backing vocals on "Under the Bridge", which is on the RHCP album Censored page.

Over the years, Flea has had drug and alcohol problems and has been to rehab several times. He currently claims to be clean.

Flea married Loesha Zeivar in 1985. Their daughter Clara was born in 1988. Flea and Loesha split up in 1990 but remain on friendly terms and have joint custody of Clara.

Flea was also featured in the english translation of the video game Chrono Trigger as one of Magus' henchmen.

External links

  • Flea's IMDb entry

Last updated: 02-07-2005 21:28:05
Last updated: 02-26-2005 13:18:49