Red Hot Chili Peppers: 'Californication' 25 years ago.  The curiosity

Red Hot Chili Peppers: 'Californication' 25 years ago. The curiosity

June 8, 1999i Red Hot Chili Peppers released their seventh studio album, Californication. Produced by Rick Rubinthe album marked the return of the guitarist John Frusciante – left the group after the 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

“Californication” is the band's best-selling album to date, led by the success of three hit singles: “
Scar Tissue” (6x Platinum in US and Platinum in Italy), “Otherside” (5x Platinum in US and Platinum in Italy) and “Californication” (6x Platinum in US and 2x Platinum in Italy).

“Scar Tissue” debuted at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 2000.

Also “Road Trippin'“, “Around The World” And “Parallel Universe” were also released as singles.

With over 15 million copies sold worldwide, the album was recently certified 8x platinum in the United States and has achieved multi-platinum status in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia ( 2 x Platinum in Italy).

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of this album, a limited edition of 2 LPs will be released: one LP pressed on red vinyl and one LP on ocean blue vinyl. The reprint will be available on July 26th.

Californication – Tracklist
1. Around the World
2. Parallel Universe
3. Scar Tissue
5. Get On Top
6. Californication
7. Easily
8. Porcelain
9. Emit Remmus
10. I Like Dirt
11. The Velvet Glove
12. Savior
13. Purple Stain
14. Right On Time
15. Road Trippin

The songs and curiosities about the album

Much of the album was written in the band members' homes in the summer of 1998. Kiedis and Frusciante often spent entire days together discussing song creation, guitar riffs and lyrical content. The bass and percussion parts were built through jam sessions and the individual work of Flea and Chad Smith.

Many of the song lyrics on the album “Californication”, written by Kiedis tell the story of the plastic, unrealistic image that Hollywood sells to the world and how people are obsessed with achieving that fame and image of eternal youth.

For example:

“Swedish little girls dream of big screen quotes.” – Becoming famous.

“Pay the surgeon very well to break the spell of aging” – The obsession with being always young, the image that Hollywood sells.

“And buy me a star on the boulevard, it's Californication.” – More about the dream of becoming famous.

“Space may be the final frontier, but it was built in a Hollywood basement.” – The image that Hollywood sells is fabricated.

A 30 minute instrumental song by Careentitled “Carnage Visors“, had a great influence on this work. The Cure song dates back to 1981 and was written as a soundtrack for a film and is contained in the cassette version of the album “Faith”, the third by the band of Robert Smith and associates.

When it was released, Flea called Californication “the best record the Chili Peppers ever made”.

It is surprising that the writers of the comedy Californication of Showtime did not negotiate with the Red Hot Chili Peppers before borrowing the title of this song for their show. As a result, the rock group filed a lawsuit against Showtime on November 19, 2007 seeking damages and restitution and asking the court to issue a permanent injunction preventing further use of the title. Additionally, one of the program's characters, played by Rachel Miner, was given the nickname Dani California, the title of a 2006 Chili Peppers song, and in one episode a character described California as “the edge of the world and of all Western civilization,” a line from “Californication.”

Californication (The Song)

The title track is a song about the deterioration of society, reflecting how the world is becoming very superficial and plastic, just like California. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, hailing from Hollywood, are familiar with the eccentric nature of life in Los Angeles.

The part of the lyrics, “Cobain can you hear the spheres singing songs off station to station and Alderaan's not far away, it's Californication”, contains some pop culture references: Kurt Cobainthe album Station To Station by David Bowie And Alderaan, the planet where Princess Leia comes from in Star Wars. Alderaan has been destroyed by the Empire, implying that the world is about to be destroyed.

The video mixed live footage with a simulated video game where each band member was on a different virtual adventure. This wasn't easy to do in 1999, when computer modeling was still rudimentary. It sounds very dated, but the concept was innovative and preceded Ready Player One by 19 years.

The directors were Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, who were storytellers, not virtual effects artists. The two then directed the films Little Miss Sunshine (2006) and Battle Of The Sexes (2017).

Around The World

This song is about Anthony Kiedis' love for the beauty of the world. Kiedis wrote the song while the band was on tour, with lyrics that reference the group's experiences. The line “Alabama baby say Hallelujah, Good God girl, I wish I knew ya” refers to an attractive church choir girl in Alabama that he sees.

Originally, the music of this song was supposed to be mixed with the vocals of “Road Trippin'”, which is the last song on Californication.

The line “I try not to whine, but I must warn ya, about the motherf–kin' girls in California” kept the song off some radio stations until until they recorded a clean version. The original version is on the album.

Scar Tissue

In 2004, singer Anthony Kiedis released his autobiography, titled Scar Tissue. In the book he explained some phrases of the lyrics: “Sarcastic Mr. Know-it-all” is Dave Navarro, who Anthony defines as “the king of sarcasm”. The line “Close your eyes and I'll kiss you 'cause” also refers to guitarist Dave Navarro and the fact that in the music video for “Warped” (from the album “One Hot Minute”), they both kiss at the end of the clip. “With the birds I'll share this lonely view” was inspired by the birds Anthony saw outside Flea's house while he was singing, and he also says that the line has to do with the fact that he felt like an outsider, that looked inside.

The video shows the band driving through the desert. It was directed by French director Stephane Sednaoui, who also directed the videos for “Around the World” and “Give It Away”. In the video, the band members are all battered and bruised and the neck of John Frusciante's guitar is broken. Additionally, John is seen driving; Ironically, he doesn't know how to drive.

This song won a Grammy for Best Rock Song and spent a record 16 weeks at number one on the Billboard Modern Rock chart.

A string quartet version (performed by the Vitamin String Quartet) was used in the 2020 film The King of Staten Island.


In the autobiographical book Scar Tissue, Anthony Kiedis explains that this song is about his drug addiction. The “slide” is the degree to which he relapsed into drug addiction, as he would stop taking drugs for a certain period, only to relapse soon after. “I don't believe it's bad” is a reference to the fact that he doesn't regret taking drugs.

Anthony was introduced to weed when he was 12, but got high for the first time when he was 4. He was walking down the street with his father, and his father blew weed smoke in his face.

This Velvet Glove

This song is also about Anthony Kiedis' battle with his drug addiction and his girlfriend at the time, Claire Essex.

Road Trippin'

This song is about a trip Anthony Kiedis took to rural California with John Frusciante and Flea: “Road Trippin with my two favorite allies.” This trip consolidated their friendship in this new phase of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The song reflects a more mature Kiedis, who wrote about this friendship triangle in “Under The Bridge” when he felt left out. It's one of the few Red Hot Chili Peppers songs without drums.

For this track the Peppers used a Chamberlin organ to achieve a sort of orchestral sound. According to Anthony Kiedis and Chad Smith's interview with Music Express, the original intention was to have legendary Led Zeppelin musician John Paul Jones arrange that part. They decided not to do it after seeing how much it would cost.


This song was written for a mom Anthony Kiedis met at a YMCA in downtown Los Angeles in the summer of 1998. She was nearly broke, had an estranged husband, and couldn't afford to care for her baby: “Do you carry the moon in your womb/Someone said that you're fading too soon/Nodding and melting and fading away.”

Get On Top

The song is apparently about sex, but it could also be about being and thinking you are the best. It was written by singer Anthony Kiedis and guitarist John Frusciante. Both had been addicted to heroin in the past: one of the effects of heroin is the feeling of being invincible because there is no pain.

Guitarist John Frusciante modeled this song's guitar solo on Steve Howe's guitar solo at the end of the Yes song “Siberian Khatru”.

Frusciante came up with the beat after listening to some old-school Public Enemy before walking into a Chili Peppers jam session.

Purple Stain

According to Anthony Kiedis: “The purple stain refers to the double entendre of a girl's hair dye staining her pillow and a girl's menstrual flow staining everything.”

In Live In Hyde Park, John Frusciante introduces this song by saying, “I really like blueberries. I eat them every morning,” which may indicate that the purple stain is from blueberry juice.

The lyrics of this song, like the title track, also contain vague references to pop culture. Between these:

“Python power straight from the Monty” – refers to Monty Python, an English comedy troupe formed in 1969. They are best known for the television series Monty Python's Flying Circus and the films Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Life of Brian.

“With Dracula and Darla Hood” – refers to Dracula, the protagonist of Bram Stoker's classic horror tale, with hundreds of film titles named after him. Darla Hood was a child actress best known for starring as the boys in Our Gang from 1935 to 1941 and died of natural causes in 1979 at the age of 47.


The meaning of this song is based on the idea that even a hero has flaws. It could be referring to the death of Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Hillel Slovak, or how Anthony Kiedis saw himself as a protector of students who were bullied in their school days.

Emit Remmus

The seemingly incomprehensible title is actually “Summer Time” spelled backwards and is about an English girl who dates an American man. Anthony Kiedis ended it after dating Spice Girl Mel C.