According to The Pulse Of Radio, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS bassist Flea slammed politicians who want to cut music education in public schools, calling the idea “child abuse” and “just wrong.” In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Flea recalled giving a talk at his alma mater, Fairfax Senior High School in Los Angeles, and discovering that the music room had no instruments. Flea explained: “I was so disheartened. I was like, ‘Where’s the orchestra? Where’s the band?’ And I was told they cut out all the funding for that stuff. They didn’t have instruments for the teachers anymore. It really shocked me.”
Flea said he was concerned about the Trump administration’s plans to cut funding for the arts and encouraged people to get involved on the community level. He explained: “I encourage everybody to reach out into the communities they live in and do what they can to help out. There are people that don’t have money, people that don’t have food or an education or health care. And yes, getting to change things on a fundamental, institutional level is an awesome thing, but we can personally reach out in our communities to do stuff that is profoundly helpful.”
Flea co-founded the non-profit Silverlake Conservatory of Music in 2001 with some friends. The school expanded from a small storefront into a new space in Los Angeles last year, now with twelve private-lesson rooms, four classrooms, a big performance space, and a student body of around eight hundred.
The bassist told The Pulse Of Radio a while back what he loves most about running the school. “It’s a real happy feeling for me just to try to encourage people and give them the opportunity to express themselves, ’cause for me, everybody has a song inside of them and for it not to be sung is, you know, the great tragedy of life,” he said. “I love to encourage people to be good at what they could be good at.”
The school offers private music lessons for orchestral and band instruments, ensemble classes, plus free lessons and instruments to qualifying students. Flea originally paid for the school himself, but has since started hosting annual fundraisers. The latest will take place on September 9 and will feature an acoustic performance from the PEPPERS backed by the school choir.
Flea and his team are exploring the possibility of opening a second school in L.A.’s Watts projects after running a free music program there this past summer.
The CHILI PEPPERS are on the road behind their 2016 album, “The Getaway”.