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Scar Tissue by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Album: CalifornicationReleased: 1999Charted:
  • In 2004, lead singer Anthony Kiedis released his autobiography, which was titled Scar Tissue. In the book, he explained some of the lyrics: "Sarcastic Mr. Know-it-all" is Dave Navarro, whom Anthony refers to as "the King of sarcasm." "With the birds I'll share this lonely view" was inspired by birds that Anthony saw while he was singing outside of Flea's house, and he also says that the line has to do with how he felt like an outsider, looking in. Anthony was introduced to pot when he was 12, but he first got high when he was 4. He was walking down the street with his dad, and his dad blew pot smoke in his face. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Paul - PoCo, Canada
  • The video shows the band driving through a 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. Also, John is seen driving; the irony being that he can't actually drive.
  • This won a Grammy for Best Rock Song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tom - Trowbridge, England, for above 2
  • This spent a record 16 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England
  • The line, "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you 'cause," Anthony Kiedis is referring to guitarist Dave Navarro, and how in the music video for "Warped" (off the One Hot Minute album), they both kiss at the end of the video. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Andrew - Garden City, NY
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Comments: 69

From someone who has suffered in life, I think the song means that he wishes others could know the pain he went through. There's something so lonely about suffering because you alone are the only one experiencing it. When it's too intense it can't be explained. It's terrifying knowing that only you will know what you went through.Ashley - United States
Wow, anyone who wants to call themselves a fan of RHCP, instead of telling untruths about their song and the lyrics meanings, should know, without doubt or confusion, just read Anthony's bio book! within the band, since the very early days Anthony himself says in it that, he felt the rest of the guys were far more talented because he, himself didn't play an instrument, and so became the lyricist right from the start. Scar tissue means exactly what it read as, plain and simple.Chani - Australia
I rarely post but after reading the comments I just wanted to say that blood loss in a bathroom stall is possibly about shooting up. When your veins collapse from heroin use it makes it hard to find a vein leading to jabbing yourself over and over until you find a vein not scarred up enough to inject into. You lose alot of blood. A lot of junkies frequently use bathroom stalls to shoot up in.Amy - Mn
I've heard that the song is about their change in music style.Steven - Detoilet, Michigan
I'm a true fan because my brain is directly linked with Flea's... The song is obviously about the War of 1812 on the planet Xinu! :) Actually, I only bothered to read the lyrics last night because we were asked to perform it at open mic. Maybe he is singing about a girl from Kentucky that he wants to have sex with but she is on her period. Therefore, he's just going to step outside and share this lonely view with the birds and the one-eyed golfer.... Just my take on it anyway. Rock-out with your sock-out!!!!Alice - San Diego
you wrong and your right. music isn't what is about, its what you make of itDavid - Parsippany, Nj
i want to know what are you guys smoking because some of this s--t here is just beyond imagination! please
all that i know is that "blood loss in a bathroom stall" is a clear and pretty obvious reference of the movie "Stuff" about the house that John Frusciante used to live in while he was addicted to heavy drugs. The short movie, was directed by johnny depp, shows the image of blood loss in a bathroom stall. Yeah it does. look it up it's in youtube, and i all recommend you to see it, its so f--king deep and sad, and it has john frusciante songs and "poems".
and "soft spoken with a broken jaw" is another obvious reference about the fact that Frusciante f--ked up his jaw because of his addiction. look it up, im right
But anyway, i think the song is a reference for the return of john, about his struggles, about how f--ked up was to get him back to the band, after he left disturbed. and about all of their struggles! the french director who directed it (he also directed give it away and around the world), says in their dvd (greatest videos) that it is just to show that they all had pretty rough lifes and f--ked up moments yet they go on and together. that's all i can understand from what he says because he's french is damn thick!
And by the way this comes from a rchp fan that spends all her day looking thru their history and admiring john frusciante. i'll find more about that music since i love it so bad, and put in here. bye! :)
Luísa Rocha - BelÉm, Brazil
"with the birds i'll share this lonley view" refers to isolation, depression, and the inabiliy to proberly function socioly. Each verse is somthing he does because he feels like this, thats why he says "cause" through out the song. "Scar tissue that i wish you saw" refers to cutting, "sarcastic Mr. Know it all" refers to dave. He cuts himself because he feels the way he does. first verse refering to a girl, "lick your heart and taste your health" he wants to get close the the girl cause he's lonley. the 2nd verse being getting high, or cutting. the 3rd verse has refrences to getting high. this is my opinionDavid - Parsippany, Nj
I freakin' LOVE this song! Anthony's voice, the guitar, the lyrics...i could go on!Megan - Stevenson, Al
Ok part of my interpretation, was partly commented on You Tube and I have added and slightly rearranged it, Scar Tissue, refers to things that happen in your life that hurt, and cannot be healed (could be parents, upbringing, losing loved ones, drugs etc), you have to live with them,and grow from the experience so "scar tissue that I wish you saw" is the fact that everyone is unique, and no one else can see life from that unique perspective, you might be able to get close but...you alone have to carry that with you, and no one else can make that better only you, so "with the birds I share this lonely view".

As for where the band are, they have spent the better part of a decade, ultimately on the edge, scared of their shadow and darkness,in drug abuse, John just rejoining the ban after nearly obliterating himself through Heroin, losing Hillel Slovak, to the same addiction and this album in particular was the culmination of much angst, a rebirth (as commented on a live recording Live at Hyde Park,"put on your white coats, its our lets get reborn coat"), all of that emotion went in to this, and now as I understand it they are living in a very healthy way. It has been an massive inspriration for me, and a lesson for us all, U2 line "there is no failufre here sweet heart, just when you quit"

This is only my interpretation, I have read Scar Tissue by Antony Kiedis, and would like to think I have at least some idea of where he, and ultimately RHCP where with thjis song.
Ian - Bristol, United Kingdom
i think each verse is about a diffrent person he was very close personally, or tried to get close to or somthing but it got ruined some how because with the birds he "shares this lonley view". and the main one "Scar tissue that i wish you saw sarcastic mr. know it all. close your eyes and i'll kiss you cuz" is about dave, the last person he ruined things with.Cheif - Don't Worry, Nj
This is such a beautiful song. It's just my opinion, but the official video is an injustice to the song. Nevertheless, it's just entertainment, so no big deal.Paula - Houston, Tx
This ranks next to "Needle and the Damage Done". Now if I could just stop hearing the chorus as "with the birds of shame..."Ekristheh - Halath, United States
I don't know if you guys ever saw the commentary for this video, or read what the peppers wrote in reference to their own songs. They say themselves that chili peppers songs are written with little or no intent behind them. I'm not saying this is one of them, but most of your metaphores are bulls--t, and Anthony Kiedis will be the first to tell you that.Melissa - Caballo, Nm
from my point of view "with the birds i'll show this lonely view" is saying how lonley you are when your addicted to heroin. my step brother has been addicted to it for years, and has been in and out of rehabs. he's always sitting in his room alone, every year or two i'll hear about a firend dying from an overdose. it probly gets lonley after a while. he's clean now but it seems like he's been slipping.Cheif - Don't Worry, Nj
The ashes that Kiedis spreads out over himself and the field might refer to Slovak.Olaf - Drachten, Netherlands
I think that the over all meaning of this song is that he feels bad for kicking dave out of the band for being on drugs, while at the same time Anthony started doing drugs again too. But he might of not knownDavid - Lol Hiawatha, Nj
John driving in the video is a metaphor for him returning to the band and taking creative leadership.Alec Thorp - Yorktown Heights, Ny
Some of this song is obviouslu refering to River Phoenix (who Flea and John F. both played and recorded with) and Anthony was very good friends with.
"Step outside but not to brawl" is a reference to when River and his brother and sister and girlfriend followed him outside of the Viper Room when he passed out on the ground...
"Autums sweet, we call it fall" it was October 31st (autum time) and River passed out and fell on the ground on the sidewalk outside the Viper Room (thats how the story goes anyway).
"Ill make it to the moon if I have to crawl" which comes right after fits in as well--to me, it sounds like a drug referance, getting high "making it to the moon" no matter the consequnses (if you have to crawl, or be sick from it).

Also before that happened he was apparently doing drugs in the bathroom with some people, and it is interesting that the lyrics "Blood lost in a bathroom stall" come before the part where he goes outside the club abd passes out--cause thats how it happened in real life.

They said after the bathroom i ncident River felt sick right away and got light headed and threw up, then walked through the club and outside to pass out.

The Chili Peppers were close with River Phoenix, ever wrote "Transcending" on One Hot Minute about him.
Layla - H-town, Az
for me this song is about life and how losing or getting close to losing life does not make life more beautiful. what anthony is saying here is that life is too precious to be put in danger even if getting close to death and surviving like he did with drugs,makes one apppreciate life AND EXPIERENCE LIFE MORE VIVIDLY.THE LONELY VIEW IS THAT THE ROAD TO DEATH IS SIMPLY NOT WORTH LOSING LIFE FORAnthony - Galway, Ireland
I don't really care too much what this song is about, but i read all the comments, and i like Mike P. from Beverly Hill's explanation the most. But let's not yell at me for expressing my opinion.Jack - Claremont, Mn
My first thought was "it's lonely at the top," so "with the birds I share this lonely view." The view from the top...that kind of thing...he could have felt that way but thought it arrogant to out and say it. "I'll make it to the moon if I have to crawl and
With the birds I'll share
This lonely view" He'd do whatever-crawl to the moon if he had to-but he's going to make it. When he gets there he shares the lonely view. The scar tissue is part of the price paid. I could go on but nobody would bother reading it. Just a different take on an awesome song.
Mark - Worcester, Mi
bloodloss is reffereing to like the oxygen getting cut of or somethiiiiiing liek that when you have sex, thats what i first thoughtDylan - Oneida, Wi
so not much was said specifically about the third verse 'blood loss in a bathroom stall'-is that a refernce to suicide or sex, because it says right after it, 'souther girl in a scarlet drawl', and the verse before it almost another example of not caring/ going with the flow (push me up against the wall) n then followed by a another girl(young kentucky girl in a push-up bra) the first verse seems clearly about sex right on the spot, like w/ soemone he just met n is going with the flow/confused or lost/ not caring or in a stoned state of mind, n it especially seems liek that because of how the song actually sounds, it sounds more calm. but what im getting at is that third verse 'blood loss in a bathroom stall', is it just another reference to sex w/ a southern girl that could be the same girl as the kentucky girl, or is it suicide? or maybe even a complex metaphorDylan - Oneida, Wi
I think the line "Scar tissue that I wish you saw" is saying that he doesn't know what he did to deserve all the crap happening to him, and he wants to show everybody he's not really a bad person. One of my all time fav. songs, too.Blake - Chico, Ca
First of all this is a great song. It is very obvious to me what it means. When you shoot up heroin over and over again like Anthony did your veins collapse and it eventually turns into scar tissue. His arms are most likely full of scar tissue. But more than this, this song is a cry out from AK saying that nobody will ever know how painfull his addiction was, and it can not be seen on the outside hense "scar tissue that I wish you saw." Being a drug addict like Anthony is such a lonely thing, you lose contact from all your friends and you feel disconnected from the world..It is a beautiful song and you can almost feel his pain through Frusciante's slide solos.Dave - New Haven, Ct
Why are you people just making stuff up? It's about the drug past, and feeling alone when he's high. The Scar tissue is just a reference to all the sh*t the band has been through, and how they continue to heal, and go on. Don't make things up.Randy - Clinton, Il
I love this song...I wish some people could see my scar tissue....Aleah - New Kensington, Sc
god anthonys got a horrible past doesnt he? i guess the most amazing artists are always screwed up in some way: ex: jimi hendrix- heavy drugs, led zep, pink floyd etc- hippies on pot, more and moreV - None Of Your Business, Ga
I think that "Scar Tissue" in this song is just about how much crap he's went through in life, he can't change his past and he's just going to keep living anyway...and that your life sucks and you're truely "lonely" when you don't know yourself and your a drug abuser.Rachael - Nowhere, Pa
ALPINA says people usually get high alone. i never get high alone. just thought id put that inJim - Seattle, Wa
Hillel Slovak, Flea, and Jack Irons wrote this song around 1985 but figured the fans weren't ready for this song.Richard - Bradley, Il
if i haven;t mentioned it yet, i love the lyrics in the chili peppers songs, cause at first they just seem like a bunch of random words that rhyme, but then when you listen closley or look it up you find out that these wongs acctually mean something really deep and meaningful.
this song is one of them. it's beautiful.
Lexie - Haifa, Israel
"Scar tissue I wish you saw" is referring to AK's drug scarring tracks and the struggle from drug use and keeping it hidden although wanting to console and wishing you knew this not so perfect part of him so he would not have to hide the struggle within himself. "Fallin? all over myself To lick your heart and taste your health" refers to Anthony lust for the love and youth of a girl he met in Kentucky. "lick your heart" means to get to know her a little inside and "taste your health" means to feel her youthfulness and beauty. "Step outside but not to brawl" is referring to him hiding his addiction while stepping out to get high. "Soft spoken with a broken jaw" refers to the feeling of when you?re trying to talk when you?re high. "I?ll make it to the moon if I have to crawl" is saying I can quit using even if it's going to be a long slow process. "with the birds I share this lonely view" means birds are flying high as he is while being high and his view of life is lonely being addicted to this altered state of mind. Most of RHCP songs are related to cocaine and heroin addiction due to it's an addiction you never get over completely and can turn into a life long struggle. I love the encrypted lyrics. All the lyrics have deep meaning and are not always what they seem. I would love to hang out with Anthony for a day.Mike P - Beverly Hills, Ca
sam from Le Sueur, "with the birds i'll share this lonely view" is the first line in the chorus of scar tissue.Josh - New York, Ny
This is my fav. chili peppers song i highly recommend EVERY chili peppers fan read the scar tissue book it tells you so much about the band and their music!Matt - Buffalo, Mn
what are you talking about Sam from Le Sueur, MN "with the birds ill share this lonely view" isnt in by the way its in scar tissueMax - Boston, Ma
why did lyzette write about "with the birds i share this lonely view" when that is in by the waySam - Le Sueur, Mn
read the autobiography, his dad didnt blow it in his face when he got high at 12. there are pictures of him holding a joint in Scar Tissue (the book). just read it.Josh - New York, Ny
When i was in 11th grade, I had an english teacher who was hyper-obsessed with The Catcher In The Rye. For a project, he made us find a song and relate phrases from it to the book. He used this song, and managed to find some parallel for almost EVERY line in it. Catcher is totally free of drugs, yet it still worked amazingly well. Just goes to show the diversity of interpretation this song allows.Dan - New York, Ny
ok the comment below this is wrong too! i just read that part of the book i started that part last night and finshed that part today. he did know the name of the girl from kentucy because he looked up her last name in the phone book and called everyone to see if they know her. one person did but didn't know what she was up too at the time.Jennifer - Cleveland, Oh
"Nope that david guy is wrong.. there was apparently a girl that Anthony met while on tour with the peppers and he fell in love with her, he said they didn't have sex or anything but did some stuff and he didn't know her name and so he got hooked up with another girl and well, when he saw that girl whom he called "Kentucky" not knowing her name just knowing where she came from or the city they were in. funny thing is he ditched the other girl and handed her over to john while he pursuised a lost cause (Kentucky apparently had a boy friend). What i know is that at that time anthony got clean off drugs and came out of his house and looked up at the Californian sky and got inspired to write yet another drug related song, but this time i guess this song expresses everything that the peppers have gone through, all the pain and self harm they afflicted upon themself, or the pain that herion and coke caused.
- Mistik, Sydney, Australia"

Read the autobiography, which actually reveals the meaning.
Matt - London, England
the scar tissue was from all his heroine shootings in his arm, causing scars and scar tissueNate - Sandwich, Il
I cannot add many things in the comments above, only that I am now really interested in reading Anthony ' s book. actually this comment is to say :thank you! to all the gyus who helped me understand the lyrics!!!!!!!!!!!!!!And something else. It will always remind me of Guille.Stella - Thessaloniki, Greece
Comparing the chili peppers to blink182...haha sounds like apples and oranges to me. there's a lot less toilet humour (if any) in a chili peppers song..

I guess anyone quoting his autobiography will obviously have the most accurate interpretation of the lyrics, but I agree with norman; what's to say the song has to be about only one thing? Parts of it sure sound like drug references, but other parts sound like other things, like experiences and reflections with his Dad. In other words, yeah, I reckon they were referring to a lot of things in this song, with different meanings at different levels.
Ash - Perth, Australia
i think the first girl is the one from the concert "Kentucky" and the second girl is the one his dad tried too set him up with and most of it is to do with his dad and the chorus could have to do with the lonley feeling you get when your on stage in front of thousands of ppl singing your heart out.its a really inspirational song. rock on forever RHCPStacey - Nowra, Australia
this is a kickass song no matter what anyone says!its beautiful!Heather - Irving, Tx
This song could be written for a lot of things, but for me, it's a wonderful reference to my actual scars, as well as the emotional ones. It's enough of a connection to get me to stop cutting when I listen to it, so I guess it does it for me. And I've got my own 'Sarcastic Mr-Know-It-All' who tells me I'm too miserable, but doesn't know my scars are there. So it's a nice parallel for me *grins*Ellie - London, England
I think its about their drug addiction and sort of a healing. its really obvious. im addicted to speed and this all rings a bell. what is blood loss in the bathroom. its not about some relationship. I can almost sense song that they wrote when they were high. i dont know what it is but ill bet its speed.Evan - Chapel Hill, Nc
I interpreted this song a little differently. I'm not saying that these other interpretations are wrong, far from it. But the great thing about art is that anything can be interpreted any way you want.

In these lyrics, It made me think of a person who loves a girl very much but wants a loving relationship and not nessecarrily sex. ("I'm falling all over myself to lick your heart and taste your health") and then the effects of having an unpopular opinion ("With the birds I'll share this lonely view") I realize this mught seem a bit far fetched, but at the time this made perfect sense to me and it made me cry.
Brett - Jersey, Nj
Jake, u're funny..I was just thinking abt how the past few songfacts I read mentioned the song reflecting on John..lol but the songs all come from the mind of one unique Anthony whose motives are a mystery..so nething goes.A - Scarborough, Canada
John can drive, but doesn't have a license because he doesn't drive often. In an interview he mentioned "..when I drive around the city or something.." while speaking of when he listens to his music, and so I'm guessing that he drives sometimes but without a license.A - Scarborough, Canada
I thnk they were to poetic to have their songs interpretted on only on level so its prolly about alot of thngsNorman - Detroit, Mi
Your right Mistik, David is wrong. Although Part of the song is about his relationship with his dad, not all of it is.Ashley - Winnipeg, Canada
I totally agree with ALPINA. Read "Scar Tissue" the novel written by Keidis himself. It all gets explained!Ashley - Winnipeg, Canada
if i believed you guys i'd think every chili's song is about John's drug problems. sheesh.Jake - Sydney, Australia
Nope that david guy is wrong.. there was apparently a girl that Anthony met while on tour with the peppers and he fell in love with her, he said they didn't have sex or anything but did some stuff and he didn't know her name and so he got hooked up with another girl and well, when he saw that girl whom he called "Kentucky" not knowing her name just knowing where she came from or the city they were in. funny thing is he ditched the other girl and handed her over to john while he pursuised a lost cause (Kentucky apparently had a boy friend). What i know is that at that time anthony got clean off drugs and came out of his house and looked up at the Californian sky and got inspired to write yet another drug related song, but this time i guess this song expresses everything that the peppers have gone through, all the pain and self harm they afflicted upon themself, or the pain that herion and coke caused.Mistik - Sydney, Australia
Scar tissue is basiclly about how his life was kinda a rough time but its catchy and a great song love the solo!Elle - Uk, United States
"With the birds I share this lonely view" is, without a doubt one of the most misheard lyrics of all time!!Lyzette - Moorpark, Ca
really really good song!!!Jane - New York City, Ny
"...sarcastic know it all, close your eyes and I'll kiss you.." This refers to Dave Navaro, who Anthony calls "the master of sarcasm." The kiss is a reference to a video where Dave kisses Anthony. Im not sure which one it is though.
"with the birds I share this lonely view" When John joined the band again, they were jamming in fleas garage with the door open and when anthony was singing this song he was watching birds fly in a nearby ravine.
Anthony talks about this in "Scar Tissue."
Ryan - Edmonton, Canada
Some one said that John's jaw rotted away in real life, and in the video u can see him rubbing his jaw, thats kind of interesting. also i am just wondering does anyone know why john can't drive?Josh - East Longmeadow, Ma
The chille peppers are an awsome band.scar tissue is the best chile pepper song EVER.the song scar tissues has been inturpited many different ways. i belive that the song is about getting high and all the troubles that come with it. like for instance the chours" With the birds Ill share
This lonely view" is reference to getting high, when most people are addicted to a drug the useually get high alone. because most people look down on a person having an addiction rather then the drug there using. the verse "Fallin all over myself to lick your heart and taste your health cause" i belive this verse is a reference to getting high also. when you have an addiction you put everything else behind it, and will do anything to satisfy your craving. "To lick your heart" I inturpited two ways. first being that when you get hurt you have your wounds licked,
(to make better) the other way is when you give someone " a lick or licken" you punch or hurt them. so when Ant says " to lick your hart" i belive he meanse to hurt your heart. when he says "taste your health", this is obviously a drug reference to shooting up. i can see how this song relates to his dad but i belive that this song is about getting high and being addicted. ANYONE WHO HAS OR STILL DOES HAVE AN ADDICTION WILL KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT WHEN THEY READ THE LYRICS WHILE LISTENING TO THIS SONG
Alpina - Abq, Nm
The song is actually about Ant's relationship with his dad Jack (nicknamed spider, changed to Blackie Dammett). When Ant was a teenager he jumped off an apartment block building into a pool when he was stoned and broke his back. The song is about his father (who introduced him to pot at 4!) visiting him in hospital screaming "didn't i tell you this would happen? You smoke pot. you jump off the thing. This was bound to happen!". Ant turned and said to the nurse "somebody take him away from here. He's not allowed in here..."
A common misconception is that scar tissue refers to heroin scars. Rather its the emotional ones from the relationship and from when he broke his back. The references to the girl I've entered below.
David - London, England
Oh another thing, the reference to "young kentucky girl in a scarlet drawl/push up bra" etc. is related to the fact that Ant's dad arranged for him to lose his virginity at 12 to one of his (the dad's) own teenage girlfriends. I kid you not this song is all about his relationship with his dad. The scar tissue is from the accident and the emotional scars ("that I wish you saw")David - London, England
he is talking about his first love and how he has scar tissue, and he is lonly, hence "with the bird i share this lonly veiw" and he is driving, he is driving away from his problems.Susan - Venice, Ca
Aparrently, when John Frusciante was addicted to heroin, he took no consideration towards his health and hygine. Consequently his teeth and part of his jaw rotted away, and his jaw was saved by using part of his hip to rebuild it. It cost him a lot of money in medical bill.
Don't know if that's actually true though.
James - Bransgore, England
The song seems to be about John Frusciante, with references to heroin (John had skin grafted onto his arms to hide the needle marks and in some pictures you can clearly see scar tissue. Also "Blood loss in a bathroom stall" is a direct reference to taking heroin) and also the lonliness you feel as a junkie (as Anthony sang about in Under The Bridge).

It would seem more likely that it's Anthonys song/poem to John, warning him of the dangers of heroin, mentioning the women in his life as he often does and showing his affection for a band member/friend, as is often done in RHCP songs. It s also showing John that theres life after heroin with inspirational sayings ("I'll make it to the moon if I have to crawl").
Steve - Los Angeles, Ca
a scar tissue is just what it says the tissue from a scar. It's commonly used in surgical reference.The Jorge - Hell, Other
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