Upon completing post-lunchtime pleasantries, Audrey paused by my desk said, "Do you know of anyone who might have the latest Red Hot Chili Pepper's release? I'd like to copy it for my personal collection."

I suppose I would have been more astounded if she had added, "By the way, I'm very into leather," but it's hard to say. As it was, I blinked at her for a few seconds before asking, "Do you mean it?" because I just happened to be in possession of Partick's promotional copy of Californication, and willingly handed it over to have its copyrights violated.

When I recovered and reflected on the content of the album rather than the rep of the notorious sock wearers, I understood why Audrey would seek it out. The relatively mellow tunes from Californication she'd heard on the radio are representative, and not immediately identifiable as having the same origin as, say, the boisterous "Suck my Kiss." This is not a shock, after all two of the more notable tracks on their previous album BloodSugarSexMagic were the lyrical "Breaking the Girl" and "Under the Bridge." On Californication, however, they spend more time in that mode, but without compromising their superabundant machismo. They are like champion soccer players demonstrating a natural ability for ballet, but on them it looks cool.

The lyrics on Californication demonstrate another change in RHCP's approach. Whereas their past lyrics were straightforward and tended toward the narrative, those on Californication are more fragmentary and evocative. "Otherside," for example, seems to catch the singer mid-crisis, without the inclination to fully account for his present circumstances. The song teeters on the brink of epiphany--almost post-knowledge ("Once you know you can never go back"), but still pre-gnosis in its absence of conclusions and broken phraseology. That liminal aspect is emphasized by surreal imagery--"I heard your voice though a photograph," "The cemetery where I marry the sea," etc, also exploited in its video (which can currently be found on the RHCP website which borrows heavily from 1920's German Expressionism.

The title subject, "otherside," is specified by the absence of a space between the words "other" and "side," but generalized by the impossibility of detecting this detail aurally and by its uncapitalized status on the lyric sheet. Likewise, otherside is at once personalized as a part of the singer's being ("how long will I slide/separate my side"), objectified as a place where he deals with consequences ("I've got to take it on the otherside"), and personified as a Shiva-like entity perpetually destroying and restoring itself and the singer ("I yell and tell it that it's not my friend/I tear it down I tear it down and then it's born again").

Okay, okay, I know the article's gotten boring. But the point at which the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Audrey St. Clair connect has got to have its fascination, so check it out.

(Written by Sharon C. McGovern)

From Vol. 19
Back to Cobra Music

Chorus: How long how long will I slide
Separate my side I don't, I don't believe it's bad,
Slit my throat, it's all I ever

I heard your voice through a photograph
I thought it up it bought up the past
Once you know you can never go back
I've got to take it on the otherside

Centuries are what it meant to me
A cemetery where I marry the sea
Stranger things could never change my mind
I've got to take it on the otherside
Take it on the otherside Take it on, Take it on


Pour my life into a paper cup
The ashtrays full and I'm spillin' my guts
She wants to know am I still a slut
I've got to take it on the otherside

Scarlet starlet and she's in my bed
A candidate for my soul mate bled
Push the trigger and pull the thread
I've got to take it on the otherside
Take it on the otherside
Take it on, Take it on


Turn me on take me for a hard ride
Burn me out leave me on the otherside
I yell and tell it that It's not my friend
I tear it down I tear it down
And then it's born again


How long I don't believe it's bad
Slit my throat It's all I ever

Audrey & Child