Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea told Guitar World that he was encouraged to pick up the bass by his late stepfather Walter Urban, a jazz musician also described by Flea as a "deeply troubled man."
Asked about the moment he saw Urban "playing amazing jazz parts on an upright bass," Flea replied, "When I saw that really hard, swinging, fast bebop from him and his friends, who were just set up in a lounge, it opened up something in me that I didn't know existed."
But Flea also admitted that Urban was "a difficult guy," hinting in his recent memoir Acid For The Children that his stepfather was extremely violent as well as alcoholic.
Flea explained, "It taught me how pain and turmoil and angst and anxiety are very difficult, but if you can face them and deal with them in a conscious way, they can be the fuel for a motor to create beautiful things, as well as for personal growth, you know?"
Asked if Urban — who passed away in 2011 — was supportive of his career, Flea responded, "He was happy that I played, but also he had that jazz musician's thing where you look down at rock music."
Red Hot Chili Peppers are at work on a new LP, their first since guitarist John Frusciante rejoined the band late last year.