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A song about the deterioration of society, this reflects how the world is becoming very superficial and plastic, much like California. The Red Hot Chili Peppers formed in Hollywood and are quite familiar with the quirky nature of life in Los Angeles. (thanks, spunky-jethro - southampton, England)
As written in the dictionary, "Fornication" refers disapprovingly to any sexual activity outside the confines of marriage. (thanks, ronartl - Laguna Niguel, CA)
The lyrics, "Cobain can you hear the spheres singing songs off station to station and Alderaan's not far away, it's Californication" get in a few pop-culture references - Kurt Cobain, David Bowie's album Station To Station, and Alderaan - the planet princess Leia was from in Star Wars. Alderaan was destroyed by The Empire, implying that the world is being destroyed. (thanks, Joseph - Wise, VA)
A 30-minute instrumental song by The Cure called "Carnage Visors" was a big influence on this. The Cure song is from 1981 and was written as a score for a movie.
Flea: "Californication is the best record the Chili Peppers have ever made."
The lyrics, "Celebrity skin is this your chin, or is that war your waging" get in a reference to Celebrity Skin, the third and final album from the band Hole. Hole was formed by Courtney Love, Kurt Cobain's wife. (thanks, Colton - Puyallup, WA)
Many of the lyrics tell a story about the plastic unrealistic image that Hollywood sells to the world and yet how obsessed people are with attaining that fame and that forever young image. For example:
"Little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotations." - Becoming famous.
"Pay your surgeon very well to break the spell of aging" - The obsession with being forever young, the image that Hollywood sells.
"And buy me a star on the boulevard, It's Californication." - The dream of becoming famous.
"Space may be the final frontier but it's made in a Hollywood basement." - The image that Hollywood sells is manufactured. (thanks, Mark - Fresno, CA)
Amazingly it appeared that writers for the Showtime comedy drama Californication
did not negotiate with the Red Hot Chili Peppers before borrowing this song's title for their show. Consequently 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 barring further use of the title. In addition, one of the characters in the program played by Rachel Miner was given the nickname Dani California
, the title of a 2006 Chili Peppers song, and one episode featured a character describing California as "the edge of the world and all of western civilization," a line from "Californication." (thanks, Bert - Pueblo, NM)
Brad Smith of Blind Melon
The Blind Melon bassist/songwriter tells the story of "No Rain," which he wrote before the band was formed.
Charlie Benante of Anthrax
The drummer for Anthrax is also a key songwriter. He explains how the group puts their songs together and tells the stories behind some of their classics.