Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: How did Flea get his name?

Flea is, of course, the bass player with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. You may also know that his real name is Michael Balzary. So how did he get the name “Flea?” It came from his school buddy Anthony Kiedis.

Young Michael was a hyperactive sort, always jumping around and never standing still. The kid was a constant bundle of energy. At some point, Anthony start calling him “Mickey B: The Flea.” That was eventually shorted to just Flea. And that’s the way it’s been ever since.

It also works as a term of endearment, a secret sort of handshake between them, a way of remembering that they’ve been together since they were kids.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37825 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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