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Studio album by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Released June 8, 1999
Recorded January 1999 – March 1999 at Cello Studios in Los Angeles, California
Genre Alternative rock
Length 56:24
Language English
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Rick Rubin
Red Hot Chili Peppers chronology
One Hot Minute
By the Way
Singles from Californication
  1. "Scar Tissue"
    Released: May 25, 1999
  2. "Around the World"
    Released: September 14, 1999
  3. "Otherside"
    Released: January 11, 2000
  4. "Californication"
    Released: June 19, 2000
  5. "Road Trippin'"
    Released: January 9, 2001

Californication is the seventh studio album by American alternative rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, released on June 8, 1999 on Warner Bros. Records. Produced by Rick Rubin, Californication marked the return of John Frusciante, who had previously appeared on Mother's Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik, to replace Dave Navarro as the band's guitarist. Frusciante's return was credited with changing the band's sound altogether. The record was a notable shift in style from what was produced with Navarro. The album's subject material incorporated various sexual innuendos commonly associated with the band, but in terms of themes it is more varied than previous outings. Lust, death, contemplations of suicide, drugs, globalization, and travel are all part of themes introduced in the album.

Californication produced several hits for the band, including "Otherside", "Californication" and the Grammy Award-winning "Scar Tissue". Californication peaked at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200. It is the Chili Peppers' most commercially successful album to date, selling more than fifteen million copies worldwide;[1] a revitalization in comparison to their previous album, One Hot Minute (1995). The record marked a change in style for the band; Rolling Stone's Greg Tate noted that "while all previous Chili Peppers projects have been highly spirited, Californication dares to be spiritual and epiphanic."[2]



Guitarist John Frusciante departed from the band mid-tour in 1992, while touring their critically acclaimed album Blood Sugar Sex Magik.[3] It took over a year before the band found a new guitarist to officially begin recording with. Dave Navarro, formerly of Jane's Addiction, was invited to join the Chili Peppers after Arik Marshall, who had finished the remaining tour dates for Blood Sugar Sex Magik, was fired.[4] Navarro influenced the band's ensuing album, One Hot Minute, by incorporating various elements of heavy metal and psychedelic rock,[5] which was something that the Chili Peppers had not previously been notable for. One Hot Minute was a commercial success, selling roughly five million copies (although a let down compared to Blood Sugar Sex Magik).[6] Critics, however, dismissed the album, claiming it was weak and unfocused.[5][7] Shortly after the release of One Hot Minute, Navarro was fired due to internal differences.[8]

In the years following Frusciante's departure from the Chili Peppers, he had developed a vicious addiction to both heroin and cocaine that left him in poverty and near death.[9] He was talked into admitting himself to drug rehabilitation in January 1998.[10] In April 1998, following Frusciante's three month completion, Flea visited his former band-mate and openly invited him to re-join the band, an invitation Frusciante readily accepted. Within the week, and for the first time in six years, the foursome gathered to play and jump-started the newly reunited Red Hot Chili Peppers.[11]

Writing and composition

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Much of the album was written in the band members' homes in the summer of 1998. Kiedis and Frusciante often spent days together discussing song creation, guitar riffs and lyrical content. Bass and percussion aspects of the record were constructed through jam sessions and the individual work of Flea and Smith.[12]

Californication's lyrics were derived from Anthony Kiedis' ideas, outlooks, and perceptions of life and its meaning. "Porcelain" resulted after Kiedis met a young mother at the YMCA, who was attempting to battle her alcohol addiction whilst living with her infant daughter.[13] Sarcasm was a concept that Kiedis had dealt with in the past and ultimately crafted a song around it. He was inspired by former band mate Dave Navarro, who he considered to be the "King of Sarcasm".[14] Frusciante approached the guitar line present in "Scar Tissue" as an attempt to utilize two notes that are played far apart, but produce a "cool rhythm".[15] He had explored this technique on his first solo album—1994's Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt. Frusciante considers "Scar Tissue" to be a "very simple example of the technique, but I think it's a style that sounds like me." The guitarist made use of slide guitar playing for the two solos in the song.[15]

"Get On Top", a song which contains significant use of a wah pedal, was formed after a jam session conducted shortly after Frusciante had listened to Public Enemy: "I came up with [the rhythm to the song] on the way to rehearsal—just tapping it out with my foot."[15] The understated guitar solo played in the middle of the song was originally intended to be more noticeable, according to Frusciante, who was playing screaming guitar solos. He changed his thought process after listening to Steve Howe's guitar solo on Yes' "Siberian Khatru": "the band sounded really big—and they're playing really fast—and then this clean guitar solo comes out over on top. It's really beautiful, like it's on its own sort of shelf. For 'Get On Top' I wanted to play something that contrasted between the solo and the background."[15] "Savior", a song found towards the end of the album, features heavy effects, most notably an Electro-Harmonix Micro Synth with 16-second delay.[15] Frusciante notes that the sound is "directly inspired by Eric Clapton's playing in Cream. If you listen to the actual notes, they're like a Clapton solo—they just don't sound like it because of the effects."[15]

The hit "Around the World", which harkens back to the Chili Peppers' funk-influenced sound, was constructed by Frusciante at his home. The rhythm and beat, however, are intricate; this required him to play the song with the rest of the band rather than alone, in order for them to understand it.[15] The bass lick was composed in "maybe 15 minutes," according to Frusciante: "Flea is the best bass player in the world. His sense of timing and the way he thinks is so crazy."[15] The title track of the album was among the most difficult for the band to complete. Frusciante felt compelled to write an appropriate guitar ensemble that would appropriately compliment the poignant lyrical content, but encountered difficulty.[16] The song was barely making progress, and would have been scrapped had it not been for Kiedis' urgency to include it on the album. Frusciante completed the final riff two days prior to recording, after drawing inspiration from The Cure's soundtrack song to "Carnage Visors".[15][16] The title track was intended to represent Californian lifestyles, and more specifically, the "fake" nature which is associated with much of Hollywood. It references Kurt Cobain of Nirvana and uses numerous imagery to capture the evocative nature of California.[16]

The record was a change of style for the Chili Peppers, especially compared to their previous album, One Hot Minute, which combined various elements of psychedelic rock and hard rock. Although Californication still contained elements of their once ubiquitous "punk funk" sound (such as "Purple Stain", "Get On Top", "I Like Dirt", "Around the World", and "Right on Time"), it leaned towards more melodic riffs (for example, "Scar Tissue" and "Otherside") and focused on songs with implemented structure rather than jams.[17]

Promotion and release

Rick Rubin had produced their two previous albums. However, The Chili Peppers decided to look for other producers for Californication.[18] David Bowie had shown great interest in working with the band and asked to produce the album; however, the Chili Peppers chose to remain with Rubin for Californication.[18] Rubin had, in the past, granted the Chili Peppers creative freedom on their recording material; this was something they thought necessary for the album to be unique, and could only occur with his return.[19] Recording took place at Cello Studios in Los Angeles. In early 1999, following the recording process, the band played "Scar Tissue", "Otherside", and "Californication" to their managers, and it was decided that "Scar Tissue" would be the lead single for the album.[20] To support their reunited line-up, the band played various proms across the country in order to promote Californication.[20] It sprouted a competition, which called upon high school students to write essays on " they could make their schools better, safer, happier, more rocking places, so that they didn't have to go to school afraid. If you wrote the essay, you got a free ticket to the show."[20]

Californication was released on June 8, 1999, debuting at #5 but peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200 chart. In Europe, the album peaked at #5 on the UK Top 40, #1 on the Finnish, Austrian, Swedish and New Zealand charts, and #2 on the French Top 40. It was certified gold just over a month later, on July 22, 1999, and its continuing sales have resulted in it being certified five-times multi-platinum.[21][22] In March 2006, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' albums were made available to purchase on the iTunes Music Store.[23] Albums bought there included new previously unreleased tracks ("Fat Dance", "Over Funk", and "Quixoticelixer").

Critical reception

 Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[24]
The A.V. Club (favorable)[25]
BBC (highly favorable)[26]
Robert Christgau (* honorable mention)[27]
Entertainment Weekly (B+)[17]
Pitchfork Media 7/10 stars[28]
Q 4/5 stars[29]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[2]

Californication gained positive critical acceptance in contrast to its less popular predecessor, One Hot Minute, and was a greater success worldwide.[24] Rolling Stone credited Kiedis for his drastically improved vocals: "[his] vocal cords have apparently been down to some crossroads and over the rehab, and returned with heretofore unheard-of range, body, pitch, soulfulness, and melodic sensibility."[2] Songs such as "Otherside" and "Porcelain" were called "Pumpkins-esque", while the album as a whole was "epiphanal" and that the "RHCP furthermuckers are now moving toward funk's real Holy Grail: that salty marriage of esoteric mythology and insatiable musicality that salvages souls, binds communities and heals the sick."[2] Other critics credited the album's success to the return of Frusciante. Allmusic's Greg Prato said that the "obvious reason for [the band's] rebirth is the reappearance of guitarist John Frusciante", considering him to be the "quintessential RHCP guitarist".[24] The album as a whole was "a bona fide Chili Peppers classic".[24] Entertainment Weekly also credits Frusciante with transforming the band's sound into a "more relaxed, less grating, and, in their own way, more introspective album than ever before".[17] Mark Woodlief of Ray Gun commented that "'This Velvet Glove' strikes an intricate balance between a lush acoustic guitar foundation and anthemic rock," Woodlief continued "the disco intro to 'Parallel Universe' gives way to a scorching Western giddy-up motif in the chorus, and Frusciante's Hendrix-like excursions at the song's close."[30]

While many critics found the band's new sound refreshing, NME criticized the Chili Peppers for rarely utilizing their trademark funk sound, asking: "Can we have our brain-dead, half-dressed funk-hop rock animals back now, please? All this false empathy is starting to make my removed rib tingle."[31] Pitchfork, while considering the album a triumph over One Hot Minute, felt Californication lacked the funk that was ever-present in Blood Sugar Sex Magik.[32] It went on to scrutinize some lyrics for being overly sexual, but also considered Frusciante to be "the best big-time American rock guitarist going right now."[32]

Over the years, Californication has maintained its popularity. "Scar Tissue" won a Grammy award for best rock song in 2000.[33] The album was ranked number 399 on Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time and, in 2006, the Chili Peppers recorded a five-set playlist for AOL Sessions that included "Scar Tissue" and "Californication".[34][35][36] The album produced many staple hits for the Chili Peppers; five of the sixteen songs on their Greatest Hits album were taken from Californication.[37]

Sound quality issues

Loudness War Waveform of bootlegged "unmastered" version (top) versus waveform of original CD release (bottom), scaled to show relative volume levels.

The album received criticism for what Tim Anderson of The Guardian called "excessive compression and distortion" in the process of digital mastering.[38] Stylus Magazine labeled it as one of the victims of the loudness war and commented that it suffered from digital clipping so much that "even non-audiophile consumers complained about it".[39] An unmastered bootleg has been circulated around the internet.[40]

Californication tour

Immediately following the release of Californication, the band embarked on a world tour to support the record, beginning in the United States. To culminate the US leg of their tour, the Chili Peppers were asked to close Woodstock '99, which became infamous for the violence it resulted in.[41][42] The band was informed minutes before arriving that the crowds and bonfires in the fields had gone out of control.[41] When the Chili Peppers performed a tribute to Jimi Hendrix's song "Fire" to finish their set as a favour to Hendrix's sister, the disruption escalated into violence when several women who had been crowd surfing and moshing were raped and nearby property was looted and destroyed.[43][44][45][46] Kiedis felt that "It was clear that this situation had nothing to do with Woodstock anymore. It wasn't symbolic of peace and love, but of greed and cashing in... We woke up to papers and radio stations vilifying us for playing 'Fire'."[44]

To kick off the band's European tour, the band staged a free show in Moscow's Red Square, on August 14, 1999, to a crowd of over 200,000.[47] Kiedis recalled the situation: "Red Square was so filled with wall-to-wall Russians that we needed a police escort to get near the stage."[47] Following the European leg, the group did a show in New York City, at the Windows on the World, for KROQ radio contest-winners, and then at the Big Day Out festival in Australia following several Japanese tour dates.[48] Flea, however, began to feel the repercussions of touring causing the band to set up concerts that were less strenuous, and consequently less financially rewarding, for them. These shows would finish the remainder of the Californication tour.[49] As one of the last shows before the release of their next album By the Way, the Chili Peppers played Rock in Rio 3.[50]


The information regarding accolades attributed to Californication is adapted from[36]

Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
Robert Dimery United States 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die[51] 2005 *
Rolling Stone United States The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time[52] 2003 399
Classic Rock & Metal Hammer United Kingdom "The 200 Greatest Albums of the 90s"[53] 2006 *
Mojo United Kingdom "The 100 Greatest Albums of Our Time 1993–2006"[54] 2006 89
Rolling Stone Germany "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time"[55] 2005 189
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame United States "The Definitive 200: Top 200 Albums of All-Time"[56] 2007 92

(*) designates unordered lists.

Track listing

All songs written by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

  1. "Around the World" – 3:58
  2. "Parallel Universe" – 4:30
  3. "Scar Tissue" – 3:35
  4. "Otherside" – 4:15
  5. "Get on Top" – 3:18
  6. "Californication" – 5:21
  7. "Easily" – 3:51
  8. "Porcelain" – 2:43
  9. "Emit Remmus" – 4:00
  10. "I Like Dirt" – 2:37
  11. "This Velvet Glove" – 3:45
  12. "Savior" – 4:52
  13. "Purple Stain" – 4:13
  14. "Right on Time" – 1:52
  15. "Road Trippin'" – 3:25
Australian edition bonus CD
  1. "Gong Li" – 3:43
  2. "How Strong" – 4:42
  3. "Instrumental #2" – 2:34
iTunes Store bonus tracks
  1. "Quixoticelixer" – 4:48
  2. "Over Funk" – 2:58
  3. "Fat Dance" – 3:40


Song Length B-side of
"Gong Li" 3:43 "Scar Tissue"
"Instrumental #1" 2:48
"Teatro Jam" 3:06 "Around the World"
"How Strong" 4:43 "Otherside"


Red Hot Chili Peppers
Additional musicians
  • Lawrence Azerrad – art direction
  • Lindsay Chase – production coordinator
  • Greg Collins – additional engineering
  • Greg Fidelman – additional engineering
  • Jennifer Hilliard – assistant engineer
  • Ok Hee Kim – assistant engineer
  • Sonya Koskoff – photography
  • Vladimir Meller – mastering
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers – art direction
  • Rick Rubin – production
  • David Schiffman – additional engineering
  • Jim Scott – engineer, mixing
  • John Sorenson – additional engineering
  • Tony Wooliscroft – photography

Sales chart positions and Certifications

Chart Peak position Certifications Sales/Shipments[I]
Billboard 200[57] 3 5x Platinum[58] 5,349,230+[59]
Netherlands[60] 2 2x Platinum[61] 100,000+[62]
UK Top 40[63] 5 3× Platinum[64] 900,000+[64]
Germany[65] 2 3x Gold[66] 450,000+[67]
Australia[68] 1 8x Platinum[69] 560,000+[70]
Swedish Top 60[71] 1 2x Platinum[72] 80,000+[73]
New Zealand[74] 1 8x Platinum[75] 120,000+[76]
France[77] 2 2x Gold[78] 200,000+[78]
Finland[79] 1 Platinum[80] 40,000+[81]
Norway[82] 1 Gold[83] 15,000+[84]
Austria[85] 2 Gold[86] 20,000+[86]
Switzerland[87] 3 2x Platinum[88] 100,000+[89]
Canada[90] 4 6x Platinum[91] 600,000+[91]
Belgium (Flanders)[92] 6
Belgium (Wallonia) 13
Italy[93] 7
  • I^  Most figures in this column are of the numbers of units shipped based on the certifications accumulated. Sources provided for these figures give the value of certifications for the country they were issued in.
Year Song Peak positions
US Mod
US Main
1999 "Scar Tissue" 9 1 1 15 3 66
1999 "Around the World" 7 16 35 35
2000 "Otherside" 14 1 2 33 19 5 65
2000 "Californication" 69 1 1 16 37 8
2000 "Parallel Universe" 37
2000 "Road Trippin'" 30 44 91


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External links

Simple English

Studio album by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Released June 8, 1999
Recorded December 1998 – March 1999 at Cello Studios in Los Angeles, California
Genre Alternative rock
Length 56:24
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Rick Rubin
Professional reviews
Red Hot Chili Peppers chronology
One Hot Minute
By the Way
Singles from Californication
  1. "Scar Tissue"
    Released: May 25, 1999
  2. "Around the World"
    Released: September 14, 1999
  3. "Otherside"
    Released: January 11, 2000
  4. "Californication"
    Released: June 19, 2000
  5. "Road Trippin'"
    Released: 2000

Californication is the seventh studio album by American alternative rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was released on June 8, 1999 on record label Warner Bros. Records. The producer was Rick Rubin. On Californication, John Frusciante returned to Red Hot Chili Peppers. He had appeared on Mother's Milk and Blood Sugar Sex Magik, but Dave Navarro was the guitarist on the band's last album, One Hot Minute. The band's sound was very different because of Frusciante's return.[1]


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