Anthony Kiedis Almost Binned Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Californication,’ Chad Smith Shares

During a recent appearance on Drumeo, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers shared the challenges they faced while creating their hit song, ‘Californication.’

After playing the drum parts of the track live, the musician reflected on its early making stages, saying:

“Usually, we come up with the music first, and then Anthony, our lovely singer, he’s inspired by the music to write lyrics and to write the melody. It’s normally the way it goes.

Then we were getting ready to do this record, ‘Californication,’ and he had traveled quite a bit, so he had the words for this song and the melody. He would sing it to us, and we’d try to come up with music for it.”

However, the band members couldn’t find the perfect vibe for ‘Californication’:

“We struggled to find the right feeling, and the right vibe, and the right supporting musical thing for what he was singing and talking about and just the melody that he had.”

In a surprising revelation, they initially came up with a reggae version of the song:

“So, we demoed the sessions for ‘Californication’ in a studio called Teatro which is in Oxnard, California, not far from where we live. We went up and did a few songs that we already had, one of them being a reggae version of ‘Californication,’ which, of course, like everything else, exists on the internet somewhere.”

Then, when the reggae rendition of RHCP played in the background, Smith continued telling the rest of the making process of the original ‘Californication’:

“We got ready to make the record. We got a bunch of songs, got all those great songs in ‘Californication.’ We go into the studio. Rick Rubin, being the smart, talented man that he is, the big ears.

He’s like, ‘I know there’s a song in there somewhere. We got to figure this out. There’s a song in there, but we don’t have it yet.'”

After John Frusciante started playing basic chords, it was easy for the remaining band members to keep up:

“And John came in one day when we were getting ready to cut the record, and he just had simple chords, the ones that you hear on the record today. He played, and I remember going, ‘What, ah!’ And we recorded this song really quickly. It’s a lesson in perseverance. Don’t give up on it. If there’s something in there, you just have to stay at it.”

You can watch the full interview and listen to the song below.