This is a love song
, a ballad for the city of Los Angeles
-- both Anthony Kiedis
moved to LA when they were still young, and their facination with the city influenced much of their early work
It is about love, but it is a lost love. The lyrics refer explicitly to Kiedis' battle with heroin addiction: " . . . is where I drew some blood* . . . I could not get enough". What I find the most touching and troubling is that as much as Kiedis laments how he has forsaken his love, the lyrics suggests that the city was there with him during these troubled times. We see him huddled, perhaps the noise of traffic and sirens and people around him -- and not alone, but cradled in the dark in the warm hands of the city.
I also wonder if the infidelity between the narrator and his city might not go both ways: it is likely that Kiedis first enountered heroin in LA's club scene, to which he owes his musical beginnings and his success -- and likely, too, that drugs and drug culture were an unavoidable part of city life. In that way, as much as Kiedis might love the city, he knows that it has betrayed him by facilitating his addiction.
*Specifically, this line refers to intravenous injection of heroin: to be certain that one has placed the needly inside a viable vein, one must first draws back a bit on the syringe (blood will fill the chamber if the needle has been placed correctly) before injecting.
and astute czeano
has informed me that Kiedis considered this to be his first "serious
" song, and that it was inspired by the death of a close friend (probably original lead guitarist Hillel Slovak
from, you guessed it, heroin
.) The lyrics come from of Kiedis's own poetry
-- which he never intended to set to music
until urged to do so by the album's producer