This Wednesday a new Red Hot Chili Peppers track was birthed upon the world. Called “Abracadabrafornia,” it hit all the beats that longtime RHCP fans had come to expect from the venerable band: nonsense lyrics about an “Alabama scamma” and having a stick jammed into your butt, strummy guitars, alternating rappy and singy parts, and references to California (“bang-a-bong-a-bong-a-bang-Burbank!”).
“The song is classic Peppers, so much so, it almost sounds like a parody,” wrote a Yahoo music blogger. “Of course the title immediately recalls their year 2000 hit 'Californication.' The track begins with a slightly melancholy guitar riff before slinking into the prototypical Peppers' groove, with Anthony Kiedis's pained vocals, amped up rapping, and nonsensical scatting.”
Except it wasn’t Kiedis singing, it was comedian Jon Daly (of the Kroll Show and Betas), and the whole thing was a parody expertly executed by Jon and the musician Cyrus Ghahremani. The song was good but the website where you can download it was the icing on the cake—stuffed full of corporate logos, it looks like exactly the kind of thing that a past-their-prime band would release right before their Super Bowl halftime performance.
Media outlets more hip to the comedy world than Yahoo (or simply more careful about avoiding internet hoaxes) figured out it was Jon almost immediately after connecting it to a bit he and Zach Galifianakis did on an old episode of the Comedy Bang Bang podcast about being part of a RHCP fan club called the Peppermen. But to my knowledge Jon hasn’t formally acknowledged that it was him yet—he’s just been basking in the glory of having made something good that the internet is eating up. So I called him up to ask him how the whole thing came together.
VICE: The response to this has been pretty crazy. How did it feel to trick Yahoo?
Jon Daly: That was the biggest dupe so far, other than some people online getting really mad about it. [Chili Peppers drummer] Chad Smith tweeted it out, so that’s all I needed to feel OK. He liked it, he was like, “Hahahahahaahahahaha.”
“Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!@johnmoe: From what I understand, this new Red Hot Chili Peppers song is 100% real: http://t.co/pvUrkiTSA1”— Chad Smith (@RHCPchad) January 30, 2014
A lot of people caught on to this coming out of that Comedy Bang Bang bit you and Zach Galifianakis did last March. How did that joke start?
Me and Zach were at a party one time and there were a lot of celebrities there, so we started joking around. I was like, “Hey man, Flea texted me, he’s stuck in traffic but he’ll be here soon.” He was like, “Kiedis said he’s parking so we can hang out soon.” By the end of the night, we were like, “Have you heard their new album, Bing Bong Burbank? It’s gonna be great.” Every time I saw him for the next two months we’d do this dumb bit to each other—we’d talk about how the Chili Peppers were our friends and how all their California-isms and California style and stuff came from hanging out with me and Zach in California. We came up with that song during the podcast and we were like, “This song actually kind of exactly encapsulates the Chili Peppers.”
I had already made a song with [Cyrus] for some project, and I was like, “I’ve got this Peppers song…” I sat on it for about a year knowing it was good but wanting to put it out at the right time and then [it was announced] they were playing the Super Bowl. Then Cyrus built the website.
Were you ever a big Chilies fan?
They were my favorite band for about three years of my life. My older brother gave me the record Mother’s Milk when I was in seventh grade and then I was like, “This is my favorite band.” The Chili Peppers, Dave [Matthews], Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Nirvana… I saw them at Lollapalloza, I was a huge fan. I have all of their records up to Blood Sugar Sex Magik. I think that “Abracabralifornia” is a nice conglomeration of what I like about their old stuff and what is terrible about their new stuff.
Yeah, you brought back the super explicit stuff when you sang about getting your butt jammed with a stick and your dick sucked.
They abandoned they whole “We really talk about fucking in detail” thing after Blood Sugar Sex Magik so I put a little bit of that back in.
How quickly do you think people figured out that it was you behind the song? On Wednesday, it seemed like some people immediately knew it was you—I saw that Comedy Bang Bang bit making the rounds.
A lot of people passed around that episode of Comedy Bang Bang. One of the reasons we made that song was that people really loved that episode and this was the next logical step. People thought it was my buddy Tom Scharpling for a while in the morning… I tried to get friends with a lot of music connections to tweet it out so it wouldn’t be coming from a comedian. I wanted it to be dropped by big Twitter accounts that would say, “Have you heard this new Chili Peppers song? It’s insane!” I tried to make it like that, but I think by like 10 AM people knew it was me.
But the beauty of it is, people are still being tricked by it. People are tweeting me people who are tricked by it, which is really funny. If anyone buys into it or it makes them angry, that’s amazing—to me that’s a big victory. I love it when people like it, like, “The Chili Peppers are doing kind of a early Faith No More thing here and I like it.” Or like, “The Chili Peppers are going back to their roots. The song has a dumb name but it’s kinda good.”