Californication



"Californication" is the Red Hot Chili Peppers' 4th single from their hit album, Californication. It was released in 2000, the song only reached #61 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA, and #16 on the UK charts, though it remains as one of Red Hot Chili Peppers' best known songs and has been played at nearly every concert since its release. It is notable for its sparse yet haunting combination of guitar and bass notes in the intro, and its unique music video.

The song is about the dark side of Hollywood. The track makes references to the decline in western society, and other topics such as pornography and plastic surgery and even some pop culture references including Star Wars (Alderaan isn't far away), Star Trek (Space may be the final frontier), Celebrity Skin magazine (Celebrity Skin is this your chin) (this could also be a reference to Hole's song, "Celebrity Skin"), Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain (Cobain can you hear the spheres), and David Bowie's Station to Station (Songs from Station to Station). One line ("Tidal waves couldn't save the world from Californication") is a possible reference to either the late comedian Bill Hicks, or the Tool song ├ćnema, which references the work of Bill Hicks. The line "teenage bride with a baby inside" refers to the fictional character Dani, who is also mentioned in later songs By the Way and Dani California.

Californication is a unique video in that it takes the form of a video game from the point of view of the player. The video itself bears resemblance to many games, including Tomb Raider, Grand Theft Auto, Crazy Taxi, SSX, Resident Evil , Tony Hawk's Pro Skater and the railcar level of Donkey Kong 64.

Guitarist John Frusciante starts off on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He bumps into a celebrity, and jumps over three security guards, then picks up an asterisk. The action pauses and cuts to a shot of the band playing on top of a hill for a few seconds. (This happens each time a band member picks up an asterisk, which is the logo of the band.)

Chad Smith, the Chili Peppers' drummer, is seen snowboarding down a hill (although he has never ridden a snowboard in real life). He falls into a ravine, but lands on a train.

Lead singer Anthony Kiedis starts off swimming in an ocean, passing sharks and swimmers and picks up an asterisk. He gets out riding a shark and lands in his car. The registration plate on the car says "GERMS", which is a reference to The Germs, the band that Kiedis listened to as he grew up.

Flea, the bassist, is seen in Muir Woods, and is about to pick up an asterisk, but he can't get past a bear guarding it, although he helps it out by kicking down a hunter about to shoot it. He goes on a mine-cart ride, and goes to another asterisk, but it's guarded by a pregnant teen (Dani of Dani California). He then gets surrounded by a horde of lumberjacks, but he jumps on top of a tree and sees all the other trees fall.

Meanwhile, John goes to a movie set, and ducks and weaves through a sci-fi film, a porno, and stops in a set apparently filming a biographical film about Leonardo da Vinci (John has an interest in da Vinci and his works). He sees a theorised flying machine being used.

Chad is meanwhile seen snowboarding on the Golden Gate Bridge, using it as a grind rail.

Anthony is in the same scene, driving around San Francisco. He drives underwater, and then jumps through the hole of a giant doughnut. His car falls off a cliff and he lands on a giant dragonfly, being harnessed by Flea, who rides it to the sky, where John is riding a da Vinci flying machine, and Chad is doing snowboarding tricks. Anthony eventually falls off, and lands in a poppy field, and the flowers grow huge, but he finds an asterisk.

Much later, there is a big earthquake, and a city is falling apart. All the band members narrowly escape death from falling buildings and car crashes. The video ends with all the band members falling into the center of the earth, finding a cube, touching it, and turning from computer graphics to real people. (Flea falls through an asterisk while falling to the center of the Earth).

The video is directed by the prolific husband-wife directorial team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.

There is a link between this video clip and the experience of relapsing into a drug addiction that Anthony describes in his book, Scar Tissue:

"... The chase is always exciting. There are cops and bad guys and freaks and hookers. You're diving into a big insidious video game, but again, you're being tricked into thinking that you're doing something cool, since the price is always bigger than the payoff. You immediately give up your love and your light and your beauty, and you become a dark black hole in the universe, sucking up bad energy and not walking around putting a smile on someone's face..."

When played live, this song is often proceded by a jam with John Frusciante and Flea. A few of these songs have been released, such as: "Permutation" on the Snow (Hey Oh) single, and Lyon, on the Tell Me Baby single. Also, an unnamed jam can be heard at the end of The Zephyr Song which procedes Californication on the Live in Hyde Park album.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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