Books

Densil McFarlane from Polaris Music Prize finalist band The OBGMs recommends Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis

The Polaris Prize nominee says the autobiography by Red Hot Chili Peppers' frontman "takes you on a journey from his lowest lows to his ascent."

The OBGMs are a finalist for the album The Ends

The OBGMs frontman Densil McFarlane (right) recommends reading the memoir Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis. (Amanda Fotes; design by CBC Music, Hachette Books)

Toronto punk band The OBGMs are on the Polaris Prize shortlist for their latest album The Ends.

Album Art for The Ends by The OBGMs. (Black Box)

The Polaris Prize annually celebrates the best Canadian album of the year, awarding the artist $50,000. There are 10 albums on the shortlist. The winner will be announced on Sept. 27, 2021.

The Ends marks a pivotal moment for the band. After their last tour, The OBGMs frontman Densil McFarlane was on the brink of quitting music. 

"I thought me and music was over. My life wasn't very good at the time, people around me were dying, and everything I was making sucked. I thought it was a sign that I needed to do something else," said McFarlane in an interview posted to the band's website.

But after a six-month hiatus, McFarlane started writing songs and the band came together to make The Ends. The album is an angry, slamming record about the realities of being a Black rock musician in Canada.

CBC Books asked McFarlane for a book recommendation. Here's why he chose the memoir Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis.

A book for all music fans

"Reading this book elevated my understanding of music.

"Scar Tissue is the autobiography of Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis. The book takes you on a journey from his lowest lows to his ascent in the music industry. I strongly recommend this book to everyone. Frankly, this should be required reading for anyone who makes music in a band.

Frankly, this should be required reading for anyone who makes music in a band.


"This is the story of a young and flawed musician trying to make it in the music industry. Kiedis consistently confronts demons that never truly go away and offers a bird's eye view on learning to cope with life a day at a time. Reading the real-life stories behind some of his lyrics makes me appreciate his music even more.

"It is truly remarkable how he is able to beautifully word completely chaotic situations. Kiedis' blunt honesty has elevated my understanding of what real music is. Sharing pieces of yourself that you are not proud of can be tremendously difficult; however, you may find a community of people going through the same thing."

WATCH | CBC Music profiles The OBGMs:  

The OBGMs | The Ends | Polaris Short List 2021

25 days ago
2:01
The OBGMs' album The Ends is shortlisted for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize. 2:01

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