How long, how long will I slide?
Separate my side, I don't
I don't believe it's bad
Slit my throat, it's all I ever

I heard your voice through a photograph
I thought it up and brought up the past
Once you know you can never go back
I gotta take it on the other side

Well, centuries are what it meant to me
A cemetery where I marry the sea
A stranger thing could never change my mind
I gotta take it on the other side
Take it on the other side
Take it on, take it on

How long, how long will I slide?
Separate my side, I don't
I don't believe it's bad
Slit my throat, it's all I ever

Pour my life into a paper cup
The ashtray's full and I'm spillin' my guts
She wanna know am I still a slut?
I've got to take it on the other side

A scarlet starlet and she's in my bed
A candidate for the soulmate bled
Push the trigger and pull the thread
I gotta take it on the other side
Take it on the other side
Take it on, take it on

How long, how long will I slide?
Separate my side, I don't
I don't believe it's bad
Slit my throat, it's all I ever

Turn me on, take me for a hard ride
Burn me out, leave me on the other side
I yell and tell it that it's not my friend
I tear it down, I tear it down and then it's born again

How long, how long will I slide?
Separate my side, I don't
I don't believe it's bad
Slit my throat, it's all I ever had
(How long) I don't
I don't believe it's bad
Slit my throat, it's all I ever

Lyrics submitted by The Marine, edited by dygrvans, thomaswong

Otherside Lyrics as written by John Anthony Frusciante Michael Peter Balzary

Lyrics © Hipgnosis Songs Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Otherside song meanings
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  • +35
    My Interpretation

    I believe it's about drug addiction. WARNING - This may contain explicit information about drug use, please don't read if it offends you

    Once you've been a heroin addict, there is no true going back. You can change your life, you can end your addiction. But the desire to use, the things you've experienced, they will never truly go away. Places remind you of fond memories of using, they trigger you. People trigger you. Photographs, anything that reminds you, it brings back memories and a desire to use.

    "I heard your voice through a photograph" - Referring to seeing a photo that reminded him of drugs even if it isn't even particularly related. Maybe the photo was of a person or a place that reminded him of drugs.

    "I thought it up and brought up the past" - It reminded him of his past. Maybe he just thought of heroin or the photo reminded him.

    "Stranger things could never change my mind I’ve got to take it on the otherside" - Once you've been to the "other side", ie, you've tried heroin a few times or you've been addicted, there's no going back. You're on the otherside and you're going to have to live there forever. Once you have that desire to use after being triggered it's extremely hard to throw off.

    "The ashtray’s full and I’m spillin’ my guts" - Heroin users smoke a lot because it enhances the high. Spillin my guts could refer to vomiting which happens during withdrawal.

    "She wants to know am I still a slut" - People often refer to heroin as "she" because the drug can be like an abusive relationship. You love it, it shows you a wonderful time then give you hell. By slut, he is referring to abusing "her" and allowing her to abuse him... Enjoying her like a slut enjoys sex then feeling dirty afterward.

    "I Don't believe it's bad" Can be that heroin addicts don't believe it's bad, they know its bad, but well... its hard to explain unless you've been there.

    "I yell and tell it that It’s not a friend I tear it down I tear it down And then it’s born again" - You hate the drug, you know it's wrecked your life. It's not your friend, you defeat it, but it so easily comes back. Someone calls you. You're reminded of it by some little reason... You drive past a place you've used... You see a user and you're tempted to "Befriend" them and get contacts.. the list goes on... So many things out there can give you the urge to bring it back into your life.


    "Scarlet starlet and she’s in my bed A candidate for a soul mate bled Push the trigger and pull the thread I’ve got to take it on the otherside" - When you inject, if you use a tourniquet, you tie something around your arm to make the vein show. Then you put the needle in and pull the plunger out to register blood. Before you push it in you "pull the thread" (untie the tourniquet) then push in. Then once you've used once after being clean for a while you're back on that "other side", craving, fighting the drug, all over again. SORRY for being so descriptive and explicit but this is what I understand the lyrics to be in relation to.


    Also the tune of the song is very... reminiscent of the sad and hopeless feeling that haunts your life once you're on that "other side"

    anonduseron March 15, 2013   Link
  • +6
    My Interpretation

    this is a great song , and the fact the people can interpret it different ways showz its a real work of poetic art .. after reading some info etc I wish to give my idea:

    ~Waning~ adult themes - 18y only plz

    "otherside" (1 word) = slang for afterlife/death

    rhcp say its about their band member that died from drug overdose. the song is the wordz of that man Hillel Slovak from isreal .. talking about his life.. and addiction .

    "How long how long will I slide" - passive .. let it slide = to put off or delay / to leave things as they are; to not change or disturb a situation. he isn't dead yet , he isn't cured .. survives passively .

    "Separate my side" - he avoids a side of him , a side that want to use drugz all the time .

    "I don't believe it's bad" - doing drugz / being a former drug addict isn't cuz he evil ..

    "Slit my throat" "It's all I ever" - he iz depressed like 90% of people in the world , but he wont kill himself - I think he tell people - u can kill me in a brutal way , but using drugz is all I had in life - the words all addict say to people who criticize them .

    "I heard your voice through a photograph" - the addiction is callin him in is head .

    "I thought it up and brought up the past" - he tried to avoid that part/past , but he accidently remembered vividly the dark timez .

    "Once you've gone you can never go back" - he understands he can never realy be cured , cuz even a simple photo or thinkin bout the past brings back the cravings and pain .

    "I've got to take it on the other side" - take it on = to accept unpleasant events bravely and without complaining . he will take this curse with him all thru life .. bravely quietly .

    "Centuries are what it meant to me" - this curse will haunt him for long time .. centuries even .. all people with addiction feel they curesed for eternity .

    "A cemetery where I marry the sea" - he is stuck in a grave , his love is the sea = not a women , no happy family - only a giant desert of loneliness .

    "Pour my life into a paper cup" - when in drug detoxification clinic , the man gets methadone in paper cups . he puts his entire life on the possibility that this treatment cures his suffering . from the net : "detox by methadone maintenance treatments were determined to be more cost-effective , but patients more likely to remain in treatment ."

    "The ashtray's full and I'm spillin' my guts" - he is in the clinic , he burns thru alot of ciggarets talkin . to spill guts = to tell secret or personal information . he is telling his story.

    "She wants to know am I still a slut" - a female there insults him by asking if he is still a lowlife weakminded-beast , or does he feel like a man/gentelman now . slut =Slut or slattern is a term applied to an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous. The term is generally pejorative and most often used as an insult, offensive term .

    "I've got to take it on the other side" - he must fight thru insults and suffering till end .

    "Scarlet starlet and she's in my bed" - scarlet starlet = a stunningly beautiful and promiscuous woman. a sexy female is in his bed , almost any man will lose his Judgment and inner strength .

    "A candidate for a soul mate bled" - this is a female that might be his "true love", his soul-mate . but she is using drugs .. bled - when shooting drugs they usually pull out some blood into the syringe .

    "Push the trigger and pull the thread" - he gave in , he uses the syringe to "shoot" the drugz , like its a gun to his head like in russian roulette . after the syringe is empty he removes a cloth/string/wire the is around arm .. allowing the drug to rush thru his body .

    "I've got to take it on the other side" - he lost this fight , but he must keep fighting the war till he dead .

    "Turn me on take me for a hard ride" - he yells the drug to take him thru the high and after it the painfull low he usually gets when doing the drug .

    "Burn me out leave me on the other side" - he dont care if this kills him , he dares the drug to end his life and end the hell , but most times people survive usual drug use .

    "I yell and tell it that It's not a friend I tear it down I tear it down And then it's born again" - the addiction doesnt leave him , the drug is a guy obsessed about the addict and wont leave him alone.

    in the video u see a man who his defeated on the ground . he is taken to a hospital where the give him something to make him sleep out of pain .. but after that "cure" his fight just starts.

    he is attacked by a hell beast .. he fights till he got no weapon , the a ladder lowers to take him out of hell , but needs to find his way out .

    when he finally reaches a picture of a woman , his own mind attacks him . the shadow disarms the man , but he escapes again with a kiss from the picture .

    he floats above the pain of the gray city .. only to be beaten down but a black crow . black crow is usually death .. but its also a trickster, manipulative, mischevious .

    the crow makes him land , and then attacks the man until he is defeated again and back to the video starting point , where the cycle starts again

    mizdoton August 17, 2014   Link
  • +5
    Song Meaning

    The song is about drug use plain and simple. Push the trigger and pull the thread is shooting up. Its the terms anyone who has shot up would know. Push the trigger is pushing the plunger. Pulling the thread is pulling the tourniquet to get the rush. Doesn't anyone who reads song lyrics have a drug history?

    Pour my life into a paper cup the ashtrays full and I'm spilling my guts... Pour my life into a cup is someone loaded on alcohol talking about his past. Obviously, for a long time or the ashtray wouldn't be full and he is talking about bad things he's done or he wouldn't be spilling his guts. Doesn't anyone who reads song lyrics have a drinking history?

    A lot of musicians aren't that deep so it is good that like a painter their work is in the eye of the beholder. It's the musician's job to expose their pain and glory to the world.

    Pepper (and yes that is my name)

    Oh ps scarlet scarlet and she's in my bed... He is talking about pulling up the blood into the syringe, then pushing the plunger etc (see above). Remember, you normally pull a trigger not push it. The only time I have heard someone say push the trigger is when they are talking about shooting up.

    The otherside is where the drugs and booze take him after he has done them. I guess that is where I am going tomorrow to start to celebrate Labor Day.

    pepperjon September 02, 2011   Link
  • +4
    My Interpretation

    I believe the term "other side" in this song has a double meaning. The song is primarily about drugs and the band members' (particularly Kiedis) struggles with addiction, but it could also be the "afterlife", a metaphor for death (slit my throat its all I ever had), and I think it focuses on the relation between the two (the line "once you go you can never go back" would then be appropriate for both getting high and death). The music video shows a young man going through a series of trials: the first and most literal is being taken to a hospital and getting relief, after which he is attacked by a monster in a cave, but is given a ladder and climbs out. Once he is "safe", however, his shadow (inner demons?) attacks him and they engage in something like a sword fight. After being disarmed by the shadow, he flies away, only to be attacked by a crow, who pushes him off a cliff where he appears to die. Notice how in every scenario, the protagonist does not kill or vanquish his attacker, but instead flees and runs away. These attackers are the addiction, and the message is that they cannot be killed (I yell and tell it that its not a friend I tear it down I tear it down and then its born again). Ultimately, the only definitive escape from an addiction you could possibly have is death, which is what the protagonist appears to suffer in the end, either by overdose (Hillel Slovak) or by suicide, depending on your interpretation. However, there is some degree of hope that I think is often overlooked; the man allegedly dies in the exact same position that the music video starts off in, where he suddenly opens his eyes before being taken to a hospital. Not only does this show that addiction can be a cycle of sober and relapse, but also gives the idea that it is possible to break out completely, as Kiedis appears to have done since 2000, ironically right in the realm the album Californication and this song was released. Oh, and just as a side note, Frusciante does a breathtaking backing vocal that fits beautifully with Kiedis not only because it just sounds wonderful but also considering both of them have had rough struggles with addiction. This is probably my favorite Chili Peppers song as well. Just outstanding.

    HammerFloydon May 27, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I think it's a justification for the use of drugs. When you're fucked up and your life is a mess, you want to go to the "otherside", that means the other reality induced by the drugs.

    Deadon May 09, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Amazing song. From the first time I've heard it, I never had any doubts that it was about drug addiction, although there are probably other themes and subjects woven in there as well. "How long how long will I slide Separate my side I don't I don't believe it's bad Slit my throat It's all I ever" For me, this verse is about him questioning how much longer he can go on like this and how much deeper he will sink ("How long how long will I slide"). He tries to justify his drug use to himself ("I don't believe it's bad") but this just causes self-loathing and suicidal thoughts ("Slit my throat"). I heard your voice through a photograph I thought it up and brought up the past Once you've gone you can never go back I've got to take it on the otherside In this verse, he mentions someone who was clearly important to him in the past but is no longer a part of his life ("I thought it up and brought up the past"). It seems that he misses this person, as he is looking at their photograph while thinking about them ("I heard your voice through a photograph"). Then he dismisses thoughts of this person and returns to speaking about his drug abuse. He says that it is impossible to stop taking drugs once you have started ("Once you've gone you can never go back") and must continue taking drugs to cope with your life ("I've got to take it on the otherside"). cont.

    marchingbandsofmanhattanon January 04, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment


    soodamncoldon January 06, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    It means when you're screwed over, You can't just go on living through it. (How long will I slide") You have to move on and try something different ("Take it on the other side")

    NtoTheDrkon April 26, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think it might have something to do with d rug use.. not a justification, but questioning an addiction maybe...

    Victory Marchon May 20, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Yep, this is a pretty kikazz song. As I was reading the lyrics though, I think it might be about suicide, or just death in general. "Slit my throat" Otherside could be relating to the afterlife. "Once you've gone you can never go back"

    Also, I think it may be relating to drug use because of the line, "Burn me out leave me on the otherside" Burn is a term for smoking marijuana, so "Burn me out" would be like, "get me stoned" and "leave me on the otherside" could mean that he likes being in that other state of mind, or being stoned, the drug world is the otherside and he wants to stay there.

    Just my two cents though.

    Resistanceon May 27, 2002   Link

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