After a lengthy interrogation of Parker’s creative process, Rubin asked if there was anything else Parker wanted to talk about. Parker took this opportunity to gain insight into one of his favourite albums as a teenager – Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Californication.
“What was recording Californication like?” he asked. Rubin produced the 1999 album, along with every other RHCP release from 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik to 2011’s I’m With You. And Rubin didn’t hesitate to give an overview of his working method with the Chili Peppers at the time.
“Typically the way it worked with the Chili Peppers is they would write songs on their own for a long period of time. We’d get together in pre-production and they’d play me songs in various stages of completion,” said Rubin. “And we would talk about ’em and discuss strengths and weaknesses and how they could maybe be better and whether they had too many parts or whether they had maybe not enough parts.”
Watch: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication
Rubin explained that once they’d nailed down the song structures, the band would exhaustively rehearse before entering the studio. “The goal of that really was to not confuse the writing process with the performance process,” Rubin said. “Still we might play the same song a hundred times [in the studio] to get it to just come together in that way where it feels like it’s the perfect version, but it’s also got mistakes in it. You know – it’s natural, it sounds like a band on a really good night.”
Californication has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, making it the most commercially successful album of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ career. It includes the mega singles ‘Scar Tissue’, ‘Around the World’, ‘Otherside’, ‘Californication’ and ‘Road Trippin’. Check out the full podcast below.