Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis: "I felt whole putting cocaine and heroin in me... until I had to pay the toll"

Anthony Kiedis
(Image credit: Rick Kern/WireImage)

Red Hot Chili Peppers' frontman Anthony Kiedis has discussed his battle with drug abuse/addiction and his road to sobriety in a new interview with podcaster Joe Rogan

During the conversation, Kiedis, 59, admits that, for him, part of the initial appeal of taking heroin and cocaine, was the fact that there was an element of danger and risk involved.

Looking back, the singer says that when he started smoking weed as a young teenager it felt "subversive" and "very outlaw" and says, "years went by and there was no problem... and then I started introducing narcotics... it was interesting and it was exciting, but it was also painful as hell. In the end, this is a life of suffering."

"It had nothing to do with rock n' roll," Kiedis stresses. "It was exciting and dangerous, like, Hmmm, everyone is afraid of that, I think I'll do that thing that just the word scares people. But it was also a way of checking out... I felt whole by putting these things in me, until I had to pay the toll."

"It was finding the thing that I thought was going to make me well... but reality it was just killing me."

Kiedis says that he first entered rehab to battle his addictions in the late 1980s, when he was 27, paying $10,000 - "my last ten grand, my only ten grand" - for the programme. 

"My best friend [RHCP guitarist Hillel Slovak] died, which did not instigate sobriety, but it definitely destroyed me, emotionally," he reflects. "But I continued to use after he died. And then I got to the point where I could not turn off the noise with drugs and alcohol... I was putting all this poison in me and I was still here."

The singer recalls checking into rehab, where there were "30 dope fiends in the room."

"And the counsellor said, I'm looking at 30 of you, and stats-wise, one of you is gonna get sober outta here. And I was like, Get out the way, cos I'm getting that spot. I was such an egomaniac, like, I'm taking that, please, the rest of you can go back to where you came from."

Watch the segment with Joe Rogan below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.