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Desert Island Thursday • Californication

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… the album sold quite well (Okay. Maybe not that well. Not Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik well.)

On June 8th, 1999, the Gods and Goddesses of the World Beyond laid their ever loving hands on the California’s own Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 7th studio album, Californication marked the return of inspired guitarist, John Frusciante. Their previous album, One Hot Minute, recorded with Dave Navarro handling axe duties was just not the same without John. It was gawd-awful. John Frusciante had abruptly left the group in 1992 during the band’s highly successful Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik tour. Drug addiction and not being able to cope with the perils of fame, John made his exit. Taking over for John at that time was hired axe man, Arik Marshall, who was fired at the end of said tour. One Hot Minute was a definite departure from what made the Red Hot Chili Peppers red hot. The album was very much influenced by Dave Navarro, which meant a lot of heavy metal and psychedelic infused rock music. Commercially, the album sold quite well (Okay. Maybe not that well. Not Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magik well.) Dave Navarro was fired from the group in 1998 after only one shit-tastic studio album and three years as a Red Hot Chili Pepper. Good riddance, I say.

John Frusciante was that missing element that the band needed.

1999 was a very good year for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. As I already stated, John Frusciante was back where he belonged: playing the ax for a band, who, after Frusciante’s departure (John couldn’t deal with all the pressures that came with being in a huge rock band, so he fell into his own heroin laced hell) the Red Hot Chili Peppers were not the same. His exit from the group proved one thing: the Red Hot Chili Peppers can really only work as a cohesive unit if all the right elements are in place. John Frusciante was that missing element that the band needed.

Woodstock 1999

…all the sexual innuendo-laced lyrics took a back seat to the darker elements…

As opposed to the failure that was One Hot Minute, Californication was all together inspired. Whereas with One Hot Minute, all the sexual innuendo-laced lyrics took a back seat to the darker elements of the band that focused more on themes having to do with heavy drugdom and depression (Red Hot vocalist and lyricist extraordinaire, Anthony Keidis was back on the H train hardcore after a five year absence from the junk.) So yeah, One Hot Minute was not a very Red Hot album, to say the least.

John being back in the fold was just the creative juice Anthony Kiedis needed to get his lyrical mojo back…

Bass playing demon, Flea visited his friend John after Frusciante kicked the horse and openly asked him if he would consider re-joining the band. John accepted the invitation (Thank the twelve deities!) John being back in the fold was just the creative juice Anthony Kiedis needed to get his lyrical mojo back and he had it in spades.

The newly re-formed Red Hot Chili Peppers started writing the album that was to become Californication in each others homes beginning in the summer of 1998. The songs all came together rather quickly with the title track, “Californication” being the toughest track to nail down, but it was at the insistence of Kiedis that the song just had to get on this album. Eventually, it did all come together.

Just like with the band’s two previous albums, producer Rick Rubin was back doing what he does best (or worst. I don’t know, it’s hit and miss with this guy and his producing. I just can’t seem to shake the unbearable loudness of Metallica’s 2008 album, Death Magnetic. Anyway…)

red_hot_band

Californication is an album that will be with me always.

Californication was rife with sexually charged lyrics that we all came to know and love the Red Hots for. One song that sticks out in my mind, “Purple Stain” was the right kind of Red Hot song that I had missed on their previous album: “To finger paint is not a sin/I put my middle finger in/Your monthly blood is what I win/I’m in your house/Now let me spin…” If that ain’t poetry, then I don’t know what is. Elsewhere on the album you had hits such as, “Scar Tissue”, with Frusciante beautifully working the slide; there were also aggressive guitar heavy tracks such as “Get On Top” and “Around The World”. Also on this same album, you had memorable tracks such as “Californication”, “Easily”, and the ultra beautiful “Porcelain”. Was this really the seventh studio album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, or was it a greatest hits album? It played out like a greatest hits record, that’s how good it was/is.

Red_Hot_Fancy

Californication is way the hell up there in that pantheon of Greatness.

Californication is an album that will be with me always. It’s the best of the best of what makes the Red Hot Chili Peppers who they are. It’s now 2014, and unless you’ve been living under several rocks, you most likely already know that John Frusciante is once again no longer apart of the group, having, once again fallen victim to the pressures of fame. He departed the group in 2009. In his place, the Red Hot Chili Peppers recruited the mediocre, can’t even hold a candle in the House of Frusciante, Josh Klinghoffer. Josh is so unworthy of his position in this band that his guitar tracks were mixed way the fuck down for 2011’s “I’m With You”. If you’re going to do that, then why say that this guy is THE guy to replace such a talent as John Frusciante? It doesn’t make any sense to me. The Red Hot Chili Peppers should go back to the drawing board and get someone equal or better than John Frusciante. You’re the Red Hot Chili Peppers for Christ sake!! Have some respect for yourselves and your legacy!! Hopefully this blog will find Anthony Kiedis & Company and they take heed in my words, until then, we’ll always have their previous masterpieces and Californication is way the hell up there in that pantheon of Greatness.

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