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Michael Balzary

From Academic Kids

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, on Mike Watt's Ball Hog or Tug Boat?, and with Nirvana on a performance of Smells Like Teen Spirit at a music festival in Brazil. The songs Pretty Little Ditty and Taste the Pain on the Chili Peppers album Mother's Milk also feature Flea on trumpet. Since 2001 Flea owns his own music school in Los Angeles called Silverlake Conservatory of Music in the trendy L.A.district of Silverlake.

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

He has also worked outside of the RHCP. In the early 80s he was the bassist for Fear. 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 and trumpet for 2005's Frances the Mute. 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.

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. In September 2004 Flea got engaged to his 22 year old pregnant girlfriend. They are expecting the baby in February/March 2005 and they are to be married afterward.

In the English translation of the video game Chrono Trigger, Flea was the name of one of Magus's henchmen. The other two, all being obviously named after rock musicians, were Slash and Ozzie (an alternative spelling of Ozzy).

External links

es:Michael Balzary fr:Michael Balzary it:Flea nl:Michael Balzary pt:Michael Balzary sv:Michael Balzary

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