Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 264
Wednesday, Oct. 03, 2012
The other day I was stuck in traffic on Highland, coming back from once again selling CD’s at Amoeba, so we could eat for another week, and then I saw the sign as “Scar Tissue” from Red Hot Chili Peppers came on the radio. It was the actual Hollywood sign above me and I smiled. Listening to “Scar Tissue” immediately took me back to 1999 to San Antonio and that road trip my former paramour, her two friends and I took to New Orleans. It was right after the “Scar Tissue” single dropped and we played nothing but Californication on that road trip. It was a very significant trip for all of us. Changes were on the horizon and even though we were heading to Louisiana, that road trip, were the first steps to me eventually moving to California in 2006. It was on this Californication trip to New Orleans was so memorable, I thought I could live in New Orleans. The wheels of change were ahead of us and I remember driving and having this feeling that even though, there was tension with my soon to be ex, driving back from New Orleans, I knew my life was evolving. As “Scar Tissue” played with windows open and highway air flowing inside the car, with the sunset in the horizon, I felt that something amazing was ahead for all of us.
One of the Red Hot Chili Peppers most beloved albums Californication signaled the return of the beautiful riffed sounds from guitarist John Frusciante. Frusciante took a sabbatical when he left the Peppers in 1992 during the Blood Sugar Sex Magic tour. On the verge of the millennium, Frusciante made his dramatic return to the Red Hot’s and one of the first fruits of his collaboration with Anthony Kiedis was “Scar Tissue.” Anthony explained the meaning of “Scar Tissue when he said, “Scar Tissue was another song where you open up the top of your head and it comes dusting down from outer space. [Producer] Rick Rubin and I were talking about sarcasm. Rick read a theory that it was incredibly detrimental form of humor that depresses the spirit of its proponents. We vowed to try to be funny without using sarcasm as a crutch. All those ideas were in the air when John started playing the guitar riff, and I immediately knew what the song was about. It was a playful, happy-to-be-alive, phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes vibe.” That’s how it felt stuck in traffic in Hollywood. Even though the car was stalled I still felt I was heading somewhere and that I was on the right path. And sometimes with all the stress of trying to survive we may forget where we live. The Hollywood sign reminded me that my home was in L.A. It took me back behind the wheel on that road trip where I wanted to live anywhere but Texas and that wish finally came true. Unbeknownst at the time, Californication was my destiny.
Kiedis talked about the moment when “Scar Tissue came to life when he explained, “I ran outside with my handheld tape recorder and, with John’s music playing in the background, started singing the entire chorus to the song. I’ll never forget looking up at the sky above that garage, out toward Griffith Park with the birds flying overhead, and getting a dose of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I really did have the point of view of those birds; feeling like an eternal outsider.” I feel and realize it now, that eternal outsider was me, I was that guy behind the wheel wandering lost on the road trip in 1999 and almost fifteen years later was now driving in Hollywood. “Scar Tissue” It didn’t matter that I was coming back from Amoeba, selling the last of my CD’s; what the Hollywood sign and “Scar Tissue” reminded me that I finally found my home. I feel less like an outcast that I ever have in my whole life and I like to think the album Californication and “Scar Tissue” is still one essential soundtracks of my ever evolving life.