Why is Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea called Flea?

16 October 2023, 13:13

Flea's real name is Michael Peter Balzary
Flea's real name is Michael Peter Balzary. Picture: Tiffany Rose/WireImage/Getty

We celebrate the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist by delving into the meaning behind his stage name

Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist Flea turns 61 years old on Monday!

The Califonication rocker and co-founder of the band - who was born on 16 October 1962 - is known as the band's most vivacious and funkiest member, with a style and energy that matches his talent on the bass.

Flea - whose real name is Michael Peter Balzary - is as synonymous with the instrument as he is with his odd stage name, but why is he called Flea anyway?

We delve into the reason here...

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Why is Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea called Flea?

From his early teens, Flea acquired the nickname 'Mikey B. The Flea' which then got shortened to Flea because of his fidgety nature and his inability to keep still.

Some reports claim that Flea - who was born in Melbourne, Australia - was given the nickname by Kiedis while they were on a ski trip.

Flea's so-called wild and free nature extends to his beliefs about music. Speaking to Rolling Stone, he mused "When you try to control music, you strangle it. I know it’s a hippie thing. But I’m trying to get the energy out, let it go, That’s the gift I have."

QUIZ: How well do you know the lyrics to Red Hot Chili Peppers' Can't Stop?

Flea & Koko [The Gorilla Foundation].mp4

Flea has talked about his very young childhood in his memoir Acid For The Children, which included moving from Australia to New York and Australia again before settling in Lost Angeles in 1972.

The rocker admits his childhood was full of drug taking and petty crime, as he was allowed to run riot taking everything from acid to cocaine.

“I got up to whatever I wanted all night long,” Flea said. “Started getting high at 12. It was the ’70s, and let me tell you, the ’70s in Hollywood were wild.”

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However much energy Flea has, he's more settled than ever with his designer wife Melody Ehsani, who he married in 2019.

Sharing an image from their nuptials, he wrote: "My life has changed forever and I am eternally humble and grateful. The person who sees all of me and knows who I am. My wife @melodyehsani ❤️❤️❤️"

These days, the rocker is much more likely to get all his extra energy out by running.

The rocker, who has run the Los Angeles Marathon, once said of the pastime: "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".

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