Scar Tissue

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This article is about the Red Hot Chili Peppers song. For other uses, see Scar tissue (disambiguation).
"Scar Tissue"
Single by Red Hot Chili Peppers
from the album Californication
B-side "Gong Li"
"Instrumental #1"
Released May 25, 1999
Format CD, cassette
Recorded 1999
Genre Alternative rock, psychedelic rock, blues rock
Length 3:35
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Flea, Frusciante, Kiedis, Smith
Producer(s) Rick Rubin
Red Hot Chili Peppers singles chronology
"Love Rollercoaster"
"Scar Tissue"
"Around the World"
Music video
"Scar Tissue" on YouTube

"Scar Tissue" is the first single from the American alternative rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers' seventh studio album Californication, released in 1999. It is one of their most successful songs, spending a then-record 16 consecutive weeks on top of the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, as well as 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and reached #8 on Billboard Hot 100 Airplay.[1] It peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2] In the UK, the song reached #15 on the UK Singles Chart. It won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 2000. The song is notable for its mellow intro guitar riff and for its slide guitar solos throughout. Guitar World placed the guitar solo 63rd in its list of the "100 Greatest Guitar Solos".

"Scar Tissue" has been a live staple in the band's setlists since its first performance in 1998 making it the band's third most performed song ever behind only "Give It Away" and "Under the Bridge".[3]


"Scar Tissue" is considered to be representative of the new, more melodic rock sound the band experimented with on Californication (in contrast to the psychedelic One Hot Minute, and dry funk of Blood Sugar Sex Magik).

The song is about the Red Hot Chili Peppers' singer Anthony Kiedis and his battles with drugs, as well as the quarrels he had with friends and bandmates as a result of his addiction. The line "sarcastic mister know it all" was directed at the band's former guitarist Dave Navarro, who Kiedis referred to as the "king of sarcasm", while the line "make it to the moon if I have to crawl" is a reference to Kiedis' heroin addiction, which made him desperate to get high.[citation needed]

Kiedis has stated that "Scar Tissue" came to him at the precise moment when he heard the other band members play the music and he felt as if an exterior influx had succeeded in merging the melody and the words, with both suddenly coming into his unconscious mind.[citation needed]

Guitarist John Frusciante has stated that the guitar playing on his first solo album inspired the song's technique of taking two notes that are an octave apart and playing them in a rhythm. The song is written in F major and the solos are played in D minor.[citation needed]


The lyrics for "Scar Tissue" were written by Anthony Kiedis probably because of the return of guitar player John Frusciante. Frusciante left the Peppers in 1992, uncomfortable with the band's success. He developed a severe drug addiction, but returned in 1998 to work together to make the album Californication. The theme of this song is often referred to as "life and resurrection".

The music of "Scar Tissue" is remarkably melodic, which contrasts with the earlier work of the Peppers. This was typical of the new style the band embraced since Californication.


In 2004 Anthony Kiedis published Scar Tissue. Co-written by Larry Sloman, it was an autobiography with the principal theme of sex, drugs and rock-'n-roll. In the book he talks about the consequences of drugs (especially heroin) and in which way this can destroy somebody's life.

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Scar Tissue" was directed by Stéphane Sednaoui, who also directed the video for "Give It Away".

The opening shot is of John Frusciante driving, a metaphor for Frusciante's return to the band (he does not drive in real life). But the four of them are battered, beaten and bandaged. They are traveling in a rusty wreck and playing broken instruments on the comeback trail. The video ends after an emotional thirty second Frusciante guitar solo at the moment of sunset, with John tossing the broken guitar from the car. The car Frusciante drove for the video was a 1967 Pontiac Catalina convertible.[4] A very similar concept was considered, then scrapped, for the earlier "Soul to Squeeze" video. Prior to the video shoot Kiedis had his hair cut and dyed his brown hair platinum blond.

Track listings[edit]

CD single (1999) (Catalogue Number 9 16913-2)[edit]

  1. "Scar Tissue" (Album) – 3:37
  2. "Gong Li" (Previously Unreleased) – 3:42
  3. "Instrumental #1" (Previously Unreleased) – 2:48

CD single (Slipcase) (1999)[edit]

  1. "Scar Tissue" (Album) – 3:37
  2. "Gong Li" (Previously Unreleased) – 3:42

Cassette single (1999)[edit]

  1. "Scar Tissue" (Album)
  2. "Gong Li" (Previously Unreleased)

Jukebox single[edit]

  1. "Scar Tissue" (Album) – 3:37
  2. "Gong Li" (Previously Unreleased) – 3:42

Chart positions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 523.
  3. ^
  4. ^ The music video on
  5. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Scar Tissue". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  6. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Scar Tissue" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  7. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Red Hot Chili Peppers. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 70, No. 4, November 15, 1999". RPM. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  9. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 69, No. 14, July 26, 1999". RPM. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  10. ^ "Red Hot Chili Peppers: Scar Tissue" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  11. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Scar Tissue" (in French). Les classement single.
  12. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Scar Tissue". GfK Entertainment.
  13. ^ "Chart Track: Week 23, 1999". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  14. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Scar Tissue" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  15. ^ " – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Scar Tissue". Top 40 Singles.
  16. ^ "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 20. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  17. ^ "Archive Chart: 1999-06-12" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d e "Red Hot Chili Peppers - Billboard Singles". allmusic. Retrieved 2010-03-06. 
  19. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1999". Retrieved 2010-08-28. 
  20. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 70, No. 8, December 13, 1999". RPM. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  21. ^ "Rock/Alternative - Volume 70, No. 8, December 13, 1999". RPM. Retrieved 2010-10-18.