Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has claimed that the lack of funding for music education in U.S. schools is akin to “child abuse”.
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He made the stark comments in an interview with Rolling Stone, where he discussed how he was motivated to form the Silverlake Conservatory of Music in 2001 – a non profit school that offers free music lessons to qualifying students.
“It’s child abuse, it’s just wrong”, he said.
He recalled how he was first motivated to form the school after returning to his own high school in California and discovering that no instruments were available to students.
“They had maybe one or two acoustic guitars, a boombox, a volunteer teacher, and they were sitting around talking about music,” he said.
“I was so disheartened. I was like, ‘Where’s the orchestra? Where’s the band?”
In response, he founded the Silverlake Conservatory – which he initially funded himself before holding annual fundraisers to finance the school.
This year, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform alongside Randy Newman and Anderson.Paak at a fundraising show on September 9.
“We play it almost every year”, Flea said.
“This year we’re going to play acoustic and we’re going to be joined by the children’s choir from the school.”
Meanwhile, Flea also recently responded to rumours that the Red Hot Chili Peppers may be set to retire – claiming they’re just ‘silly talk’.
His clarification came after RHCP drummer Chad smith sparked speculation of the funk-rockers’ demise when he said he ‘didn’t know if the band could continue’ to tour.