Anthony Kiedis (pronounced /ˈkiːdɪs/; KEE-diss); born November 1, 1962) is an American vocalist/lyricist and occasional actor best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers. Kiedis spent his youth in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his mother before moving to Hollywood, California at the age of twelve to be with his father. Shortly after high school, Kiedis embarked on a short stint at UCLA, but dropped out after losing interest because of substance abuse. After dropping out, Kiedis received an offer to be the opening act for a local band, and enlisted friends Flea, Hillel Slovak, and Jack Irons to assist, a line-up which eventually became the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Anthony Kiedis was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 1, 1962 to John Kiedis, a son of Lithuanian immigrants, and Margaret "Peggy" Idema of Greek, Dutch, English, Irish, French, and Mohican ancestry. He was never given a middle name, as per his birth certificate. His parents divorced in 1965 when he was three. He has two half-sisters, Julie and Jenny and a half-brother James. Kiedis lived with his mother in Lowell, Michigan until he was eleven years old, when he moved to Los Angeles to live with his father. He attended Fairfax High School with future band-mates Michael Balzary, Hillel Slovak, and Jack Irons.
Kiedis often battled with drug addiction, including lengthy addictions to heroin and cocaine, which started at a very young age. His father was also a drug addict, so Kiedis was constantly around his drug-using and dealing father, as well as his father's friends who engaged in the same activities. Some of his first drug use came from drugs he got from his father, including marijuana, which he first smoked when he was 10 years old. He abused drugs for years, even into the formation of the band, where other members were also using. He tried to get clean after the heroin overdose (specifically using the method of speedballing) death of Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Hillel Slovak on June 25, 1988, saying he would never shoot up again. He entered rehab and ended up staying clean for five years but relapsed in 1994 when he had a wisdom tooth removed. The dentist in Los Angeles felt novocain, a non-narcotic, would do to pull the tooth. However, the tooth ended up having to be cut out, so Kiedis was put under using liquid Valium. This sent him into a relapse. He went in and out of rehab over the next few years, but has reportedly avoided another relapse since December 24, 2000. "It’s easy to be a junkie," Kiedis said in the March, 2007, issue of Blender. "It’s not easy to be one of the greatest guitar players of all time, or one of the greatest writers."