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Flea's a red-hot... USC freshman?

September 24, 2008 |  4:44 pm

Flea_goes_to_college The name on the USC classroom roster may be Michael Balzary, but to the rest of us he's Flea, bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. And to a few hundred music students at USC, he's someone they can call up to get the latest homework assignment. Adam Rose has the details about one of USC's newest -- and most famous -- Trojans:

The 45-year-old is listed as an "undergraduate visitor" in USC's Thornton School of Music. Balzary probably has a leg up on most of his classmates, considering he founded the Silverlake Conservatory of Music and, oh, yeah ... is a rock icon. Although he's on campus several times per week, don't expect any dorm sightings -- Flea's a commuter student.

Over at Soundboard, Margaret Wappler asks Flea a bunch if questions and gets a lot of thoughtful answers:

So you're taking classes at USC. What brought that on?

I’m glad my music education has developed the way that it has, but it’s so much fun to learn this stuff because I never knew anything. I played trumpet in the school bands. I learned things I liked to play on my trumpet but I didn’t learn why this note goes with this note and why it produces that sound. Or how to create tension in the composition. The Chili Peppers did that in our song structures but all based on emotion and intuition as opposed to knowing the math and academics of it. Knowing the structure is really fun.

What classes are you taking?

I'm taking three: theory, composition and jazz trumpet.

What are you studying in jazz trumpet?

In jazz trumpet, I’m...

Lots more in Margaret's Q&A, including whatever happened to the stuffed animal pants.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photo:  Getty Images