Temporal range: Early Cretaceousâ€“Recent
|False colour scanning electron micrograph of a flea. CDC image.|
The quality of instruction is very high at the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. It's not about being a rock star. It's about the fundamentals of music, theory and technique on a particular instrument, and playing in an ensemble or private setting.
Music is like the genius of humankind, universal… People who have never really taken the time to get into music, their lives are a lot smaller. Kids deserve the richness and dimension of it in their lives.
The most important thing to me with any politician is that they don't start wars, but education is a big part of that, too, because educated people are less likely to do stupid, violent things.
After running for a while, things really start to open up in your body. I felt like I'd tapped into parts of my body that I hadn't before. I let things in the universe flow through me that opened me up in a really cool way.
The Silverlake Conservatory is a nonprofit music school in Los Angeles where we teach music, mostly to kids, but to people of all ages – people who are old, people with beards, all kinds of people.
Music gave me something that was not only good for me – it gave me something to work on, something to be proud of and something that I really loved and have a love for – but also music was good for other people because you put joy into the world.
Being a rock star isn't all it's cracked up to be, let me tell you.
You teach your kids about your beliefs and tell them what you think is right and the conclusions that you've come to from living in the world, and then they can make their own decisions.
For me it's the high-water mark of American culture – not so much contemporary jazz, which has become kind of academic, but the jazz from the '20s on through the '70s.
My whole musical life has been an educational process, and I'm just furthering my education and filling in the blanks. There's stuff that I want to know that I don't know.
As a musician I'm about expressing what's inside, and I think everyone has a song in them that they need to get out, whatever their gig is.
It's so easy to fall into a comfortable groove in life where you do the things that you like, and because of that, often times, we don't grow or change because we're not pushing ourselves.
If you live a rebellious lifestyle, then you rebel against things because they go against your ideals and the integrity of who you are as a person.
I feel creatively vibrant. I have some great friends; I feel like I'm capable of giving a lot to the world. And ultimately, that's what I really care about, is just giving.
When you make music, you're forming these invisible vibrations in the air into different shapes and consistencies and speeds in order to create music, and understanding how the math of that works just gives you more colors to paint with, and allows you to get to what you want quicker.
I've always kind of been an in-the-moment kind of person. I don't think that far in advance or have any idea what's around the next corner.
When I was growing up, in L.A., I went to these schools, Fairfax High School, Bancroft Junior High School, and they had great music departments. I always played in the orchestra, the jazz band, the marching band.
I have a trainer, a really nice woman named Nina Greenberg, and she got me a training plan, and we go running in the canyons in Malibu. It's just beautiful up there, absolutely gorgeous. You see bobcats up there sometimes.
I just lucked into this weird, little obscure cameoesque film career. I just love being a part of film history.
We were these arty punks from Hollywood. I considered myself an intellectual.
A big part of my life is music education because it changed my life – but arts, academics and athletics should all be equally treated in the school.
I like the idea of acting. Of all these things I've done, sometimes I think I've done well, and sometimes I think I didn't do well, but they are more cameos, and I come in and be crazy.
Outside of a couple of times I ran without eating right or being too tired, I always feel great after I run.
I wanted to play in a band, and I wanted to do music for a living, and that's what I dedicated my life to.
We always write way more than we put on a record. We always write a lot-lot.
When I first heard about Twittering, I thought it was the most disgusting thing I'd ever heard of in my life. It's like the devil: the idea that your personal life is there for everybody.
I grew up with all these old jazz guys in the '70s in L.A., and they grew up idolizing Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, Lester Young – all of these incredible musicians.
I exercise; I have a big career. I'm a parent, and I run a music school.
I did record a bunch of stuff, but the thing that usually stops me from doing that is that I'm a terrible singer. I made a bunch of instrumental music, and it feels really good, but just as a singer, I'm not good.
I was raised to think that rock was music for ignorant people who didn't think for themselves.
About 13-14 years ago, I went back to my alma mater, Fairfax High School, and ran into the music teacher. She invited me to come speak to the kids about the viability of a music career. When I went into the room where I used to play every day in a big orchestra, they had nothing!
I had a friend who had been teaching music for a long time, and he knew a bunch of teachers, so I just put up the money and started a school.
When I got with Nina Greenberg, I had been running for a few months already without a trainer. But then she gave me a program and guided me through my runs, showing me how to take care of myself and letting me know I should ice my legs and stretch – stuff I hadn't been doing.
When something comes up, and it's interesting, and I have the time, I'll do it.
I'm always put in the unfortunate position of asking people to donate money and people I know in bands to play benefit concerts and all this stuff.
Running opened up something beautiful in my life. I try to send the energy all over my body. I love the feeling of it.
All my career, all that I've really done has been based on emotion and intuition and gravitating toward what sounds good.
Steven Adler and I played football in the street when we were 12. I remember rehearsing in my bedroom with my first band, and some kid climbed over the fence of my backyard and peeked his head in the window to see who was rocking. It was Slash.
Later in high school, I met Hillel Slovak, who was the original guitar player of the Chili Peppers, and we became really close. We had a band, and we didn't like the bass player, so I started playing bass, and I got a bass two weeks later.
Lucky enough, through the public school system, I had been able to have some music education, and that gave me something to focus on, and discipline – like a family to feel part of. There was a healthy family.
I worked full time jobs, basically doing manual labor until I could make enough money supporting myself as a musician.
It's fun to just get out there and have a nice conversation when I'm running. To be honest, when I do longer runs, the trail that I like to run up in Malibu has mountain lions, so I always feel I want to run with someone else.
Playing music is a beautiful thing. But listening to music is just as great.
When I was a kid, and it was time to go to college, I thought, 'College is for people who don't have the street smarts to make it on their own – get in a band, get in a van, and get rockin'.
When I'm at home, I just run all the time, you know; I get up, and I go pretty much four days a week outdoors. I go in the canyons around L.A., Malibu – just around L.A. there's a lot of different spots.
Just so people know, the Silverlake Conservatory of Music is not at all about celebrity or fame or being a star. It's an academic music school.
When Hillel died, it was during one of the happiest times of my life. I was married and completely in love and had a baby on the way.
Kids deserve arts, and it's just as important as science, math, history, English or athletics.
I love entertaining people, I love playing music, and I love rocking like an animal. But at a certain point, you're playing gig after gig after gig, in town after town after town, and you're lying down, staring at another hotel-room ceiling, and it's like, 'I want to be home. I'm a dad. I've got kids.'
Water is my main state. If I time before I run – like, to digest, like, a good hour and a half or so to digest, I'll eat oatmeal. but I'm a vegetarian for the most part, so in general, I just eat grains and vegetables and fruit.
I studied music at the most remedial level when I was a kid, through the Los Angeles public schools, with a little private instruction.
My father was out of my life when I was pretty young – when I was 7 years old, he was gone. I didn't see him for the rest of my childhood.
Music is made up out of these building blocks. Studying how these blocks go together and what they consist of and the math of how it works – it's all the same stuff; it's just different aesthetics that we're talking about.
We were at the dark end of the L.A. punk scene, and that scene was full-on and violent and aggressive and wild and intense.
For me, music was the only reason I went to school. I was kind of a street kid, in a lot of trouble committing crimes and stuff. Music gave me something to focus on.
The apparatus has to serve our improbability and improvisation. Being good and playing the songs is not enough.
When I was in school, you could pick any instrument you want, and they'd teach you how to play it. That changed my life. I loved playing music in school, and it sent me on my path as a musician.
I was on a path that could've really led to disaster, and the one thing for me that really kept me focused and gave me something to believe in and a sense of self-worth and a discipline was music.
Before every show, we get into a circle, hold hands, and someone makes a speech. Most bands are too cool for that.
I feel like if we're not running, we're basically disrespecting our bodies. When you're running, you're really using your body for what it's meant to do.
I'm a performer and have managed to get my performing into the mainstream consciousness of the world, I guess.
We must improvise, and we must experiment, and we must do things that might go wrong, and everything we bring – the people and the equipment – must serve us in that goal.
All I knew about Ethiopia was from a few records that I like, as well as what I read about the famine. But you get there and it's another world. It's filled with art and music and poetry and intellectuals and writers – all kinds of people.
I went to school and studied music for a year at USC, which unlocked a bunch of doors for me in terms of my relationship to music.
The last thing that should happen is funding cut for education; it should be increased. We need to put more money towards education, and anything else is abusive.
Being a dad and being in the Red Hot Chili Peppers and all the stuff I have to do… The trumpet requires a lot of diligence, and I haven't had the time.
I love literature deeply. I view books as sacred things, and in writing my story, I'm going to do my best to honor the form that has played such a huge part in shaping who I am.
Turning 50 is a little bit of a 'taking stock' moment. I feel probably a little dumber. I don't think I'm as sharp as I was when I was younger, but I'm definitely wiser and less likely to make gigantic blunders of an intellectual, spiritual, emotional or physical type.
I played trumpet in the school bands. I learned things I liked to play on my trumpet, but I didn't learn why this note goes with this note and why it produces that sound. Or how to create tension in the composition.
I started playing trumpet when I was 11 years old. All I wanted to be was a jazz trumpet player when I grew up.