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Flea

FleaAKA Michael Peter Balzary

Born: 16-Oct-1962
Birthplace: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Bassist

Nationality: Australia
Executive summary: Bassist for Red Hot Chili Peppers

Although now known to the world as a tiny, blood-sucking insect, Michael Balzary began his life as an ordinary human being in Melbourne. Early in his life, his family relocated to the States so that his jazz-musician stepfather could more readily find work; a short period was spent in New York before they ultimately settled in Los Angeles in the early 70s. By this time Michael had developed jazz ambitions of his own, pounding his little heart out on the drums before falling under the influence of players like Dizzy Gillespie and moving on to the trumpet. Involvement in the Los Angeles Junior Philarmonic Orchestra eventually gave way to an interest in rock and funk and the formation of the band Anthym with some of his schoolmates.

Success remained elusive for Anthym and in 1982 Balzary left to spend some time with the punk band Fear, but before long he was back amongst his former bandmates, earning local notoriety in bars on the Sunset Strip under the name Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem. Shortly thereafter, Tony Flow became the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Balzary became "Flea", and both together became another cog in the huge, mindless wheel of EMI Records. The first fruit of this happy union was a self-titled offering in 1984, its initial impact being felt primarily in the less-imaginative quarters of college radio. The George Clinton-produced Freaky Styley followed in 1985, and the Michael Beinhorn-produced Uplift Mofo Party Plan in 1987, both steadily advancing the popularity of the band. Several changes in the drummer and guitarist positions took place on this road to mass acceptance, with a heroin overdose claiming the life of founding guitarist Hillel Slovak, and former members of Parliament and Dead Kennedys having brief periods of membership before a momentarily stable line-up was arrived at with the release of Mother's Milk in 1989.

Around the same time as the Chili Peppers' debut release, Flea made his first venture into feature films with a role in Penelope Spheeris' Suburbia (1984). His acting career was subsequently maintained through appearances in films such as The Blue Iguana (1987), the two Back to the Future sequels (1989 and 1990), and My Own Private Idaho (1991), although always remaining confined to smaller, supporting roles. Demand for his services as a session player during this period also increased his exposure outside the confines of the band. The same year as Idaho, the Peppers had their first significant hump against the trembling leg of the mainstream charts -- the release BloodSugarSexMagik earning platinum status and attracting widespread media exposure. Line-up problems continued to plague the band, but the sales of records like Out In L.A. (1994) and One Hot Minute (1995) remained unaffected by the changes.

1998 saw Flea turning up in minor roles in a number of films, including The Big Lebowski, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and the re-make of Psycho, as well as making a voice-over contribution to the cartoon series The Wild Thornberrys. A short stint as temporary bassist for the newly-reformed Jane's Addiction had taken place the preceding year. With the release of the lamely-titled Californication in 1999, the Peppers once again achieved a degree of personnel stability, and their mass appeal was "confirmed" through a headlining position at the pathetic spectacle that was the Woodstock '99 festival. Activity with the band and in film continued into the 2000s, the album By The Way (2002) and the movie Rugrats Go Wild (2003) being some of the results. In 2001, Flea co-founded the Silverlake Conservatory Of Music with the intent of reversing the decline in music education for children.

Father: Walter Urban, Jr. (stepfather, musician)
Mother: Patricia
Sister: Karen
Wife: Loesha Zeviar (m. 1985, div. 1990, one daughter)
Daughter: Clara (b. 16-Sep-1988)
Girlfriend: Frankie Rayder (engaged to be married, one daughter)
Daughter: Sunny Bebop Balzary (b. 2006, with Rayder)

    High School: Fairfax High School, Los Angeles, CA

    Fear Bassist (1982-83)
    Red Hot Chili Peppers Bassist (1983-)
    Jane's Addiction Bassist (1997)
    Esalen
    Sexual Harassment 14-Mar-1990 (Florida, guilty plea)
    Hungarian Ancestry
    Irish Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Heroin, Marijuana

    TELEVISION
    The Wild Thornberrys Donnie (1998-2004)

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone (Jun-2010) · Himself
    The Other F Word (2010) · Himself
    Patti Smith: Dream of Life (20-Jan-2008) · Himself
    Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (20-Jan-2007) · Himself
    American Hardcore (13-Sep-2006) · Himself
    We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen (25-Feb-2005) · Himself
    Red Hot Chili Peppers: Live at Slane Castle (17-Nov-2003) · Himself
    Rugrats Go Wild! (1-Jun-2003) [VOICE]
    The Wild Thornberrys Movie (8-Sep-2002) [VOICE]
    Psycho (4-Dec-1998) · Bob Summerfield
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (22-May-1998) · Musician
    The Big Lebowski (15-Feb-1998) · Nihilist
    The Decline of Western Civilization Part III (Jan-1998) · Himself
    Just Your Luck (29-Nov-1996)
    Woodstock '94 (1995) · Himself
    The Chase (4-Mar-1994) · Dale
    Roadside Prophets (8-Oct-1992)
    My Own Private Idaho (12-Sep-1991)
    Motorama (10-Sep-1991)
    Red Hot Chili Peppers: Funky Monks (1991) · Himself
    Back to the Future Part III (25-May-1990) · Needles
    Back to the Future Part II (22-Nov-1989) · Needles
    Let's Get Lost (15-Sep-1988) · Himself
    The Blue Iguana (22-Apr-1988)
    Stranded (20-Nov-1987)
    Less Than Zero (6-Nov-1987) · Musician #1
    Dudes (18-Sep-1987)
    Tough Guys (3-Oct-1986) · Himself
    Suburbia (12-Oct-1984)


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