Flea’s Binge Watch Playlist

The week that I spoke with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, in support of the band’s stunning new chart-topping album Unlimited Love, it was announced they would be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Since the Red Hot Chili Peppers first appeared on the music scene in 1983 they’ve risen to become icons of Southern California alt-rock with a series of award-winning albums and hits like “Under the Bridge,” “Give It Away,” and “Higher Ground.” In addition to being one of the founding members of the band, Flea also has appeared on his own in a handful of blockbuster films, from Back to the Future to The Big Lebowski (which he recommends below) to Baby Driver.

For a self-professed Hollywood kid such as Flea, being honored with a star on the Walk of Fame was a profound experience. “The film industry of Hollywood was just such a big part of my childhood. And, growing up here, it’s an organic part of who I am, it feels really natural,” he says. And not without its pathos and its insanity, but with all of its beauty, and its caring, and thoughtfulness, and love for art.”

Not surprisingly, for a movie buff, the star on the Walk of Fame unleashed a torrent of movie talk. That is where I start my playlist with Flea, as he talks about the favorite films of his favorite Hollywood icons.

 

Is there one star on the Walk of Fame that really stands out to you?

Flea: Chaplin is the one for me. Man, my favorite Chaplin movie, it’s probably The Gold Rush. The dance with the potatoes, and I feel like the Little Tramp character is crystallized so poetically in that film. But they are all also great. And Limelight, the talkie that he made as an elderly guy is really a poignant f—— beautiful film too. But I’m gonna go with The Gold Rush.

You were also saying you are a big Marx Brothers fan.

Flea: They’re so good, dude. I have to go with Duck Soup ’cause that’s the first one I saw as a kid. And, it’s like scene after scene is just so beautiful. I’m going with Duck Soup.

That’s one of the things about the Marx Brothers. If you’re just having the worst day, no matter what is happening, it just makes you smile.

Flea: Yeah. And their story too, like what they came from. From abject tenement poverty, on the Lower East Side in New York, and then like Groucho, You Bet Your Life, are you kidding me? It’s the best game show in the history of television without doubt. Unequivocally number one. And did you ever read Harpo’s autobiography Harpo Speaks! It’s a great fucking book and what an intellectual awesome guy with a massive heart Harpo Marx was. I just love the Marx Brothers.

So do I. And this is interesting too, because it’s funny everyone always talks about L.A. music. Sometime during COVID I went back and watched the series, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip with Matthew Perry and Amanda Peet. It was an Aaron Sorkin series. I’m curious to you being one of the definitive L.A. bands, what’s the best L.A. TV show? What’s the best L.A. TV show and L.A. movie?

Flea: That’s a tricky one. I would say best L.A. TV show, forgive me ’cause there’s so many. The best L.A. movie I’m gonna go with The Big Lebowski [laughter]. Even though like the Coen brothers aren’t L.A. guys, it’s just so funny and captures it from kind of an outsider perspective where they might be able to see the forest from the trees in a way that someone from L.A. wouldn’t. Or, you know, L.A. Story with Steve Martin was really good.

The best L.A. TV show? F— man. It’s a serious question. Adam-12. It’s because when I was a kid and I moved to LA, I was 11, and I used to watch that show all the time. And we were driving around in Hollywood looking for an apartment to rent. And I saw “One Adam-12″ being filmed and it freaked me out so much that it was being filmed. And I felt like I was in the center of the universe. “One Adam-12, one Adam-12.” I’m going with Adam-12.

Are there just shows that you’ve been watching lately that you love?

Flea: Right now I’m watching Painting with John on HBO with John Lurie that I really like. And just mostly like I just love John and his very unique take on the world. And his storytelling and his paintings and the way that he’s able to have a show and just kind of meander in his unique, beautiful calming way through a television program. And the fact that HBO is, like, allowing it to exist makes make me really happy in this world of cookie-cutter art.

WHERE TO WATCH

Flea’s Binge Watch Playlist

Steve Baltin

Steve Baltin

Steve Baltin has written for Rolling Stone, Forbes, Billboard, Los Angeles Times, MOJO and more, as well as hosted the Amazon Prime series ‘Riffing With’ and the podcast ‘My Turning Point.’ He is a Southern California-based writer who loves a great sitcom.

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