"Slow Cheetah" as written by and Chad G Smith Michael Peter Balzary....
Waking up dead inside of my head
Will never never do there is no med
No medicine to take

I've had a chance to be insane
Asylum from the falling rain
I've had a chance to break

It's so bad it's got to be good
Mysterious girl misunderstood
Dressed like a wedding cake

Any other day and I might play
A funeral march for Bonnie Brae
Why try and run away

Slow cheetah come
Before my forest
Looks like it's on today

Slow cheetah come
It's so euphoric
No matter what they say

I know a girl
She worked in a store
She knew not what
Her life was for
She barely knew her name

They tried to tell her
She would never be
As happy as the girl
In the magazine
She bought it with her pay

Slow cheetah come
Before my forest
Looks like it's on today

Slow cheetah come
It's so euphoric
No matter what they say

Everyone has
So much to say
They talk talk talk
Their lives away
Don't even hesitate

Walking on down
To the burial ground
It's a very old dance
With a merry old sound
Looks like it's on today

Slow cheetah come
Before my forest
Looks like it's on today

Slow cheetah come
It's so euphoric
No matter what they say

Slow cheetah come
Before my forest
Looks like it's on today

Slow cheetah come
It's so euphoric
No matter what they say


Lyrics submitted by quazy_qual

"Slow Cheetah" as written by John Anthony Frusciante Michael Balzary

Lyrics © MoeBeToBlame

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Slow Cheetah song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentI'm going to try abandoning my past as an English major and avoid an extended explication...

    I think these lyrics reference the slow cheetah as someone known to the speaker who didn't turn out "right," but nonetheless tries to force themself into the mold.
    The song opens with a declaration by the speaker that being dead on the inside is unacceptable, and a condition with no remedy. While he had his chance at accepting insanity and therefore gaining protection from the rain, or the masses beating down upon him, he also "had his chance to break," or break away, something commonly considered so bad that, for someone who can't follow the fold, it must be good.
    If I knew more about Bonnie Brae other than the fact that it's a street/area in LA (and I only know that thanks to Google,) I'd have more to say about the next bit other than the speaker poses "Why try to run away" as a rhetorical question, and that this line signifies him rejecting the mandate of the majority which dictates a specific manner of existance, whether or not it applies to a specific person. In other words, since the speaker's happiness and ability to live fully is his own creation, following the will of "they" would essentially be the same as running away from himself.
    In the second half of the song, a girl who knows nothing about herself is told by people referenced only as "they," (perhaps the same "they" as in "you know what they say,") that she will "never be as happy as the girl on the magazine," which can be assumed to be the stereotypical bleached, airbrushed, starved, makeup-ed, faked-up girl on all the covers of those magazines that offer up the secrets to weight loss, mind blowing sex, looking beautiful, achieving perfect style, etc. She "buys it," or believes them, "with her pay," or by sacrificing what she has earned by her hard work.
    In the chorus, the speaker beseeches the "slow cheetah" to come nearer to his "forest." "Looks like it's on today" seems to indicate that a conflict exists, most likely between the options of doing what is expected and doing what is right. The speaker persuades the slow cheetah that, regardless of what "they" dictate, the forest is something "euphoric." Coming before the speaker's forest, therefore, is a metaphor for the slow cheetah doing what is best for herself. After all, even if a cheetah *should* live on the plains, a slow cheetah could never catch a gazelle. It would only ever struggle miserably in vain to hunt while slowly starving to death.
    After this, the speaker speaks of "their" words as meaningless babble, and again refers to the conflict mentioned in the chorus, urging the slow cheetah not to hesitate. Then, action occurs, specifically a walk to a "burial ground," and also "a very old dance" with "a merry old sound," indicating that the speaker, and perhaps the slow cheetah, as well, engage in a time honored celebration of the death of what one can infer to be his/their allegiance with the previously referenced "they" by happily dancing upon the grave where it has been buried.
    Thus, don't listen to what everyone else has to say about your life. Any group large and vague enough to be known only as "they" could never hope to know the best course for any one person to take. The only hope any individual has for decent advice is in another person much like them.

    ... Well, I said "try." I tried. I just didn't succeed.

    Also, I'm going to throw in a couple of corrections, because I'm an anal retentive bitch like that....

    Waking up dead inside of my head
    *Will never* never do there is no med

    Any other day and I might play
    A funeral march for *Bonnie Brae*
    lahdeefriggindaon May 09, 2006   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningRHCP is amazing... my favorite band of all time.

    I agree with tesseract... this song is about death and death is the slow cheetah.
    The first time I heard this song it made me think of my own mortality.

    I think it is Anthony's way of describing death in a Native American way. The cheetah is an inescapable predetor, but death is slow from the sense that it takes a whole lifetime to catch you. It starts from the day you are born but is inevitable... so know that and make the most of the time you have... don't waste it!
    Just1on August 30, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentok, this song has nothing to do with drug use.. its means exactly what it says. Some people talk about his book scar tissue, and say its about drugs. yes the guy was, and may still be a fuck up. but, this is about a girl, who he tried to have a relationship with. it didnt work because of how dysfunctional his life was at the time. and because people couldnt obviously mind their own business. the man does have a reputation, and im sure there were plenty of people trying to talk her out of it. he even has like a whole chapter about this girl in the book. even though he tried to have a heartfelt relationship with her, at that point in his life, it wasnt realistic, and she wasn’t exactly a picture of mental health.you can read my breakdown if you want, but thats basically it. It doesn’t take away from how much this song kicks ass, but its that simple.

    Firstly, the title “Slow Cheetah” is a contradiction to the norm. This paints an immediate picture, which can be seen before the song is even heard. Realistically, a slow cheetah could not live in this world, and would be weeded out while contending for survival of the fittest. Though in the song, this concept is not applied to the characters physical condition, but to their mental state of mind. The first lines read “Waking up dead inside of my head will never, never do there is no med.” Implying there are feelings of depression. In the second verse, the focus then turns from “my” to a girl, more specifically a “mysterious girl.” I the lines “it’s so bad it’s got to be good” to refer to the mysterious girls unusual qualities. It is these qualities that actually attract the speaker to the girl. “Any other day then I might play a funeral march for Bonnie Brea, why try and run away” refers back to the state of mind he describes in the first line. It is this mood that encourages him to take interest, and approach the girl, instead of just admiring her from afar. Then a build in the music occurs, followed by the first chorus. The strong energy of the music, and the lyrics here seem to almost represent the first encounter between the two; possibly an empowering introduction/invitation. After hearing the chorus, It is confirmed that the title of Slow Cheetah is given to the girl. It also supports the idea of an introduction/invitation. The music immediately returns to a softer feel, and the next two verses give us further insight the meaning of the chorus. First we hear a description of the girl. We are given the idea that she average girl, who is discontented and uncomfortable with whom she is. She often compares herself to the Medias contorted image of a woman, and believes this is a representation of happiness. The lines “they tried to tell her she would never be as happy as a girl in the magazine.” could be actual people telling her that she won’t find happiness, or what she has convinced herself of, after exposure to these “magazines.” The final verse brings the energy back down. This verse explains the real issue at hand, and gives us the conclusion to the story. “Everyone has so much to say they talk, talk, talk their life away, don’t even hesitate.” He is obviously a very famous person, with a very famous reputation. This line could refer to people the girl knows, media reports, or both. Gossip is obvious stopping his heartfelt attempt to build a healthy relationship with this woman. “Slow cheetah come it’s so euphoric, no matter what they say” Whether this gossip is accurate or not, the relationship was never even given a fair chance. The final lines basically are saying that the relationship ended, but he still holds onto the memories, and revisits them from time to time…. When its all said and done, just enjoy the song.
    exindeyeon September 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, after reading Anthony's biography... this song makes a lot of sense. The book explains many songs, but some of the stories indirectly explain others songs.

    To me, this is 100% about his drug addiction.

    This song is about one his lapses. The book describes one right before recording the album One Hot Minute.

    He had been sober for over 5 and a half years before this lapse.
    ----------------------------------
    "Waking up dead inside of my head
    Whenever never do there is no med
    No medicine to take"

    The book explains how after a few days of going back to heroin he woke up and wished it was a dream. He didnt want to be back in his binge routine.

    This lapse was actually triggered by a medicine given to him at a dentists office.
    ----------------------------------

    "It's so bad it's got to be good"

    "Slow cheetah come it's so euphoric
    No matter what they say"

    All of these can be linked with heroin use.
    ----------------------------------

    "Any other day and I might play
    A funeral march for Bonnie Brae"

    This line, I know for damn sure!

    Bonnie Brae is a street where he'd go to get his heroin.
    Any other day and would consider Bonnie Brae to be dead, but this day he drove on Bonnie Brae to revive his heroin addiction.



    All of this comes from Chapter 11: Warped of "Scar Tissue"
    ChiliPepperron March 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNow, i fucking love this song....i like the first verse...
    because of the drugs....just the drugs.
    Waking up dead....waking up on a comedown, with no more drugs to take,
    i swear is the most depressing feeling ever.
    You feel used and abused.....tossed around and mental.
    When you do enough of this ' medication'.....
    you feel absolutely 'insane', your brain just doesn't work, youdon't feel fit for society.

    I also like the '....they tried to tell her she would never be...'
    Because the stress put on young girls theses days is unbelievable and the desire to be 'beautiful' and 'perfect' is a constant bane on most women's life....

    and last but not least the word 'Euphoric'
    is my favourite word.:)
    It just describes happiness, and the context in which it is used is amazing....
    put in the context of drugs (again, i'm sorry!)
    Just yeah.
    VanNuys666on August 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is just a giant oxymoron basically. All the lines contradict themselves like a slow cheetah and such. It's a beautiful song and I love it. Honestly it's my favorite off of Stadium Arcadium. I think it's also about breaking the social norm, like not being a normal apple pie life kinda person.
    Robbyace21on September 17, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song, its feel and its lyrics, are second to nothing i have heard not only from the chilis but any band.

    i love it!
    stugeon May 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is a really good song.
    maggotbrainon May 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt'a great song, but i really have no idea what it's about, broken dreams maybe...
    quazy_qualon May 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's a metaphorical oxymoron, it's about not being what you're supposed to be.

    This is Flea's favorite song on the album.
    adam07on May 09, 2006   Link

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