Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea Declares Cutting Of Music Education “Child Abuse”

The bassist speaks out against the potential removal of all manner of music programs from American schools.

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea Declares Cutting Of Music Education “Child Abuse”

“Child abuse” is how Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has described the cutting of music education courses from American schools, reports Rolling Stone

“It’s child abuse, it’s just wrong,” he told the magazine, adding that had he not had the opportunity to explore creativity through access to music, via local education, earlier in his life, things could have been so very different.

“When I was a kid, I was heading for trouble. I was running around in the street, I was robbing, I was breaking into houses, I was doing drugs. I was cutting class and smoking weed, just headed into trouble. And the one thing that kept me together, and kept me straight, was music. The only reason I even went to school was because I liked playing in the band.”

Watch the Chili Peppers’ most recent video, Goodbye Angels, below.

Flea co-founded the Silverlake Conservatory of Music in 2001, a non-profit school that offers free music classes and provides free instruments to those who can’t afford them, and who meet qualifying criteria. The Los Angeles school is supported by annual fundraisers, that the Chili Peppers regularly perform at – this year’s show is on September 9, with the veteran rockers supported by the likes of Toy Story songwriter Randy Newman and rapper Anderson .Paak. 

Under the Trump administration, the United States is facing up to many cuts to the arts – in the President’s very first budget plan, he proposed to entirely scrap the National Endowment for the Arts, an independent agency within the federal government committed to supporting and funding arts projects nationwide, and encouraging excellence.

“I worry about a lot of things that guy (Trump) says,” Flea told Rolling Stone. “It’s not just the music, but the arts in general.” He suggested taking local action: “I encourage everyone to reach out into the communities that live in, and do what they can to help. Getting to change things on a fundamental, institutional level is awesome, but we can personally reach out in our communities to do stuff that is profoundly helpful.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers released their eleventh studio album, The Getaway, in June 2016. The band continues to tour in support of it, playing several gigs in the US, Mexico and Brazil in the coming weeks, and putting on a pair of shows at Dublin’s 3 Arena on September 20 and 21. 

Listen to The Getaway below.

Red Hot Chili Peppers photograph by Steve Keros.

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