When I got outside of a hospital facility where the patients were being treated for aggression ( I was one of them), I heard “Under the Bridge” on the way in the cab to the commuter train station to take me home to Boston – it was under a bridge. The song really grabbed me, right in the gut. “This is the song I need to hear right now,” I said to the cab driver. I was untangling my necklaces from the pouch, which I had been unable to wear. It was nice to be outside. “Everybody should spend some time inside,” I had said to the social worker who had treated me. “It makes. you a better person.”
I was a better person, I believe, and I was grooving high to the music that was playing, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. I think the singer, Anthony Akidis, understands the moods that have dug into people like me, the hurt that makes them mad, and wild – and what makes them aggressive. The music has the feel of a heavy beast of a shark tearing through the sea, this innocent, protected, force of a thing of nature.
Right now, I am playing Californication. It was released in 1999, but until now, when I just looked it up on Wikipedia, I thought it had been released much earlier. A friend in the neighborhood across the street said that was his favorite album of theirs, and that it was their first big hit. Anyway, it was the first album he paid attention to when he first came of age. It has a mature sound, with hardcore touches that are melded and blended well – perfectly – like a scotch highball at a club, in the middle of the night. I can see why he likes it so much. The lyrics are heavy and smooth and precise and accurate and hard-hitting, and the guitars are restrained but completely wild.
I used to hear “Aeroplane” all the time when I was working at night as a supply clerk at the OR of a hospital. That is my favorite song. “That motherf***** is always spiked with pain…” That was from One Hot Minute, in 1995, and it was their biggest hit. It really broke clean on popular radio. It was wild. It would play in the Irish Pub I would go to after work and see my friend, who worked with me, and someone would buy a case of Becks, and we would go for an afterparty at his apartment. Then Bobby, my friend, would go back to his home and get some weed.
There is a sexual energy to the band that is completely abandoned, yet it is tame, in a way, because it is safe and sound. And there is the blood, the blood pounding in the bodies of the whole organization that makes up the band, with the energy of the people that listen to them – all of them. Like some other artists – Madonna, New Order – they made it big in the 1980s, but they have still been continuing to come out with great music well into this century. Their music is all about evolving, and the evolution of the human psyche of the body. They have wrecked trains, but the trains keep moving, and going on, and the music opens up the mind and pours the waters of introspection into the aggressive, savage jungle of the dark country inside.