Slow Cheetah

Album: Stadium Arcadium (2006)
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  • The line, "Any other day and I might play a funeral march for Bonnie Brae," indicates that this may be a song about heroin use, since the corner of Bonnie Brae and 6th Street is where singer Anthony Kiedis would go to buy heroin, as told in his autobiography, Scar Tissue. Also, the line, "Slow Cheetah come, it's so euphoric, no matter what they say," may refer to the euphoric feeling one gathers from a heroin high, as Anthony always described it. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ethan - Mt. Pleasant, SC
  • Anthony Kiedis had the song title in his notebook for a year before he started writing the song. He didn't know what it was about until he started writing and singing along to some music guitarist John Frusciante was playing. "It kinda revealed itself," Kiedis told Classic Rock magazine. "The cheetah in this song is symbolic for life, but also for the female. It's about that beautiful feeling when life becomes slow motion, and all of the chaos and all of the distraction fades away for a moment and you can see things very clearly. It kind of quiets the heart, and in that instant you get a real sense of purpose."
  • In the album commentary, Flea, RCHP's bassist, calls this tune a perfect 10 because it's slow enough to really hear the lyrics and contrasts the frenzy that goes on in his own mind. "There's nothing I love more than slowing down," he said. "Like everything's so fast in my mind, when it slows down I get so happy. And the image of something that's fast and powerful, I just have the image of this slow-motion cheetah running through the Serengeti in its full stride, like it would go with its muscles rippling and its beautiful coat, but so slow, like in slo-mo - but not slowed down by a film, like doing it in this magic slowness, and it's an incredible image."
  • Compared to his less-is-more approach on the band's earlier releases, Frusciante found the freedom to open up and experiment with his sound on Stadium Arcadium. On this track, it's in the form of a psychedelic, electrified outro with a backwards guitar technique he used on the Blood Sugar Sex Magik track "Give It Away."
  • Stadium Arcadium, the band's first #1 album, is a walkthrough of the many different musical phases the Peppers have dallied in throughout their career, including hyperactive rap and funk offerings to mellow alt-pop ballads. "Slow Cheetah" moves in the latter camp and is one of the few tracks on the album to feature acoustic guitar.

Comments: 24

  • Alice from Down The Rabbit HoleI always thought, that in the chorus “slow cheetah come before my forest, looks like it’s on today”...means he himself is the lion, a natural predator of this slow cheetah...cheetahs are usually fast so is this cheetah being slow on purpose, as a girl teasing him, wanting to be chased? “Looks like it’s on today” meaning he’s going to chase her. The kill, or the capture, is so euphoric, “no matter what they say”. I never thought about it being about speedball but I guess I’m naïve.
  • Mike from BaltimoreGirl is the street reference for cocaine, not heroin. Boy is used for heroin. I think it’s more accurate that this is about speed balling, although the lyrics are not cryptic than some of their other songs. Slow (opiate) cheetah (stimulant). While the song might reference drugs, I think more meaning is tied to finding a solution for problems in the wrong places.
  • Natalie from GeorgiaThis song is about heroin use. “Looks like it’s on today” is a mention to the act of relapsing. “mysterious girl misunderstood, dressed like a wedding cake” refers to heroin and how it seems alluring and looks better than what it actually is of course. The verses “i knew a girl who worked in a store, she knew not what her life was for” could easily be a reference to his ex girlfriend Jennifer. She was a fashion designer who partnered with him in their heroin addictions, usually dragging each other back into the hole. Always always always getting High together, that was their most notable trait as a couple. So i would not doubt if he’s referencing her in those lines, saying she couldn’t find happiness within herself or her life so “she bought it with her pay”, it being the heroin.
  • Voxexrationis from UsaIt's a slow cheetah because It creeps up on you... even if you quit, and you will yourself not to... its inexorable.
    Its a slow cheetah, but it'll still catch you no matter how fast you run. Its fate.
  • Barry from Los Angeles, Cai scored black tar heroin about a zillion times @ bonnie brae & 6th. didn't know that anthony was in the car next in line behind me. shows to go that we suffer/are lost and alone in parallel universes. that's why music resonates. it's a reaching out, a confession, a plea.
  • Paul from Columbia, Scsong is definitely about heroin/heroin use.

    i think it's about shooting up, and livin your life just for the rush.
    i dunno, i just got the vibe it's about shootin up the moment i heard it, and knowing John and Anthony's pasts it may be.

  • Andrew from Ny, Ny"It's so bad its got to be good, Mysterious girl misunderstood, Dressed like a wedding cake"

    girl is the street-name for heroine and the feeling it gives makes it hard to see why it could be so bad acting as its disguise for its long term effects.

    this contradiction of the great feeling with the damaging results was the reason for the contradictory slow cheetah title
  • Gussie from Nottingham, United Kingdomi think it must be about drug use as at the end of the 3rd verse it says "she bought it with her pay" which could mean the girl he's singing about took drugs as she "knew not what her life was for".
  • Rita from South Pas., IsraelI always thought it was about the pressure placed on girls to be beautiful by the fashion industry... I'm not sure why, but maybe because it speaks of a girl who seems lost in this great big world, and clueless of what to do.
  • James from Durham,regarding "Kscott, Tampa" comments about speedball I think you might be right. Hillel Slovak (ex rhcp guitarist) died in 1988 from a speedball overdose, which leads me to think that ths is what the song is about
  • Dylan from Oneida, Wioh good thinking, cuase most cheetahs are fast..i never realized that contradiction in the title
  • Tomislav from Zagreb, CroatiaI believe this song is about not knowing what were you born for. About not being what you're supposed to be. Like slow cheetah.
  • Lola from Norwich, United KingdomThis song is about Anthony's ex, Yohanna Logan. I love it, as I can relate to some of the lyrics.
  • Jo from Bethlehem, PaAbout the people who are laughing at the guy who mentioned that the inspiration for this song came from a trip to the zoo, why is that funny? If you had any experience or knowledge on writing music you would know that inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to know that he got the metaphor 'slow cheetah' from a zoo. It doesn't mean that this is meaning behind the song, its just where he got the idea to use those words. ANYWAY!!!!!! this song is amazing, as is most of their music.
  • Abby from Dublin, IrelandI heard an interview with Anthony where he mentioned that slow cheetah was about his ex-girlfriend Yohanna cos she had they look of a cheetah. "i knew a girl who worked in a store, she knew not what her life was for" makes me think Yohanna too cos she worked in a restaurant before Anth helped her get a start in the fashion industry.
  • Kscott from Tampa, FlThis song seems to be about Speedball. A combination of Cocaine and Heroin. Hence slow(heroin)-cheetah(fast)

    It would be a stretch to say this, but the lyrics match up with this idea.

    "Waking up dead inside of my head
    Will never never do there is no med
    No medicine to take"
    Drug users have internal compulsions that lead them a drug lifestyle. Even though Anthony is clean, he still has these urges.

    "I've had a chance to be insane
    Asylum from the falling rain
    I've had a chance to break"
    Clearly a reference to his past drug use

    "It's so bad it's got to be good
    Mysterious girl misunderstood
    Dressed like a wedding cake"
    Dressed like a wedding cake, it SEEMS good, but what inside doesn't match.

    "Any other day and I might play
    A funeral march for Bonnie Brae
    Why try and run away"
    A street in LA where he would buy Heroin. Clearly on another day he would just give in and get the drugs

    "Slow cheetah come
    It's so euphoric
    No matter what they say"
    No matter what they say, the drug is euphoric

    It all matches, and Anthony has a habit of writing about his drug use
  • Randy from Clinton, IlWell, I haven't read any books about the Chili Peppers. But I love this song. Honestly, It's got to be my favorite song of any type. But I believe it is a song about the pressure of a person to do drugs. "Slow Cheetah" is not talking about an animal they saw at a Zoo.. How often do you thing the Chili Peppers go to the Zoo? I think "Slow Cheetah" is figurative. Maybe meaning someone who has problems, and maybe the don't fit in, or whatever. But the "Slow Cheetah, come, it's so euphoric," is maybe supposed to be the drug dealers trying to appeal to you. I'm not a Chili Peppers expert.. But that's the way I see it. Definetely the most underated Chili Peppers song.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaThis is a really good song.
  • Bert from Pueblo, Nmi hope that cheetah thing is sarcasm. the only reason its slow cheetah is because a slow cheetah is an oxymoron.
  • V from None Of Your Business, GaLOL lethargic cheetah haha whered u get that one? o by the way, that makes no sense
  • Handah Jane from Grafton, United Statesits not about a freakin lethargic leopard u idiot
    its like a totally amazing song tho
    love the slow lyrics
    wooo go rhcp
  • Adam from Sparta, WiProbably one of their most underated really can have personal meanings if you put yourself in the lyrics...
  • Mike from Edmonds, WaThe inspiration for this song came after the band spent the day at the San Diego Zoo. They were concerned that one of the cheetahs seemed to be lethargic.
  • Grayson from Cleveland, Ohanother great slow song by them
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