Flea's 10 greatest bass playing moments

Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers performs on stage at Ahoy on October 16, 2011 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
(Image credit: Photo by Rob Verhorst/Redferns)

Born Michael Peter Balzary, Flea (nicknamed for his small stature as well as his onstage antics) is one of those rare bassists who you can recognise from a single note. From his early days as a sock-wearing punk funk in LA to the uncluttered global thump of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, he remains one of the most iconic bassists of all time. 

“To me, music has always been about reaching for that thing that feels beautiful,” Flea told me in a 2009 interview for Bass Guitar magazine. "But I have become more about serving the song, and less about - 'Hey, I can play some really amazing, trippy bass lines that will blow your mind.' I’m just devoting myself to being the best musician I can."

And so it was, as Flea celebrated his 60th birthday and marked the day with the Chili’s final show of 2022 at Austin City Limits Music Festival, that we took a look back at what we consider Flea's greatest moments.

Red Hot Chili Peppers

(Image credit: Clara Balzary)

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.