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CALIFORNICATION

RECORDING INFO:

Dates: December 1998 - March 1999
Players: Flea, John Frusciante, Chad Smith, Anthony Kiedis
Additional Performers: Greg Kurstin (keys), Patrick Warren (chamberlin)
Recorded at: Cello Studios, 6000 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CAVillage Recorders, 1609 Butler Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Produced by: Rick Rubin
Engineered by: Jim Scott, John Sorenson, David Schiffman, Ok Hee Kim, Jennifer Hilliard, Greg Fidelman, Mike Nicholson, Greg Collins
Mixed by: Jim Scott, Chris Holmes
Released on: June 8, 1999

SONGS RECORDED:

  • Around The World

  • Parallel Universe

  • Scar Tissue

  • Otherside

  • Get On Top

  • Californication

  • Easily

  • Porcelain

  • Emit Remmus

  • I Like Dirt

  • This Velvet Glove

  • Savior

  • Purple Stain

  • Right On Time

  • Road Trippin'
    released on the album "Californication"

  • Gong Li
    released on the Australian bonus disc and the "Scar Tissue" single in 1999. Apparently this tune was left over from Flea's shelved solo album

  • How Strong
    released on the Australian bonus disc in 1999 and the "Otherside" single in 2000

  • Instrumental #1
    released on the "Scar Tissue" single in 1999

  • Instrumental #2
    released on the Australian bonus disc for "Californication" in 1999.

  • Slowly, Deeply
    released on the "Universally Speaking" single in 2003 - the band apparently cleared up a misconception over its recording date in a By The Way-era interview that I am yet to track down, but its appearance on the 1999 B-Sides CD-R proves it was recorded during these sessions

  • Bunker Hill
    discarded until 2003 when it was released as a B-side for "Fortune Faded" - further work seems to have been done to it in the years in between

  • Fat Dance
    leaked in 2000, released as a bonus track (with a different mix) on digital outlets in 2006

  • Quixotic Elixir

  • Over Funk
    released as bonus tracks on digital media outlets in 2006

  • Trouble in the Pub
    unreleased, unfinished, leaked in 2015

Exactly how many songs were recorded during these sessions is unknown. This article mentions that 30 were, however a Rolling Stone article from April 1999 mentions only 28 and a Flea interview here only mentions 22. This means there are either four or five songs yet to surface. Jim Scott also mentions above that the band started recording with another engineer to begin with, but quickly scrapped those sessions. It's unclear if anything remains from those few days of recording; perhaps the two untitled instrumentals are from then.

ALTERNATES/MIX DIFFERENCES:

Here's a whole page dedicated to the different versions of Californication tracks.

  • Around The World - Californication rough mixes
    Different chorus vocals ('ning nang nong' for each chorus instead of just the final chorus), extended outro

  • Around The World - Californication Unmastered/Unsequenced
    Synths in final chorus are louder / Extended outro

  • Bunker Hill - 04/21/1999 CD-R
    Lacking overdubs, has an extra AK line at end.

  • Californication - Greatest Hits
    Extra flourishes of organ that come in early and a slightly different mix. No word if this is a mix from 1999 that accidentally got used or a new mix for the Greatest Hits CD.

  • Easily - Californication rough mixes
    Outro vocals are different, go on longer.

  • Fat Dance - Californication rough mixes
    Intro vocals are different to the iTunes release, which can be considered the 'official' version. Supposedly left off the album because Anthony wasn't happy with the vocal mix originally.

  • How Strong - Californication rough mixes
    Guitar line is different to version released on 'Otherside' single.

  • Right On Time - Californication Unmastered/Unsequenced
    Different backing vocals in the end, no "on top" pre-echo.

  • Road Trippin' (without strings)
    B-Side to 'Otherside' / initially leaked with the rough mixes - pretty much what it says on the tin

  • Savior - Californication rough mixes / Californication Unmastered/Unsequenced
    Extra before final guitar solo, extra backing vocals underneath guitar solo.

  • Savior - 2012 vinyl remaster
    Extra backing vocals underneath guitar solo

  • Slowly, Deeply - 04/21/1999 CD-R
    Alternate guitar solo - seemingly the one John recorded live in the studio.

  • This Velvet Glove - Californication Unmastered/Unsequenced
    Extra repeated first chorus.

More here.

WORKING TITLES:

The band referred to several songs differently in pre-release interviews and in privately circulated recordings.

All Around the World = Around the World
Blondie = Instrumental #2
Dreams From Bunker Hill (or) These Are Not My Dreams From Bunker Hill = Bunker Hill
Fat Dance appears to be the song's official name, but it's been spelled as Phat Dance and Phfat Dance in the past.
New Wave = Quixotic Elixir
Porcelain Alice = Porcelain
Right On = Get On Top
Universe = Parallel Universe

ALTERNATIVE SOURCES:

The 'Unmastered' bootleg/'Rough Mixes'
Also known as Californication Unmastered, this bootleg is sourced from a reference disc made during mixing to put all of the tracks from the recording sessions in one place, for the band or for Warner Bros. How it leaked out after that is unknown, but there are several different versions of it floating around and it is most people's preferred version of the album due to its better sound quality. 
There are a few Usenet postings from the early 2000's that could help track down its original source, as it seemed to have leaked only a few months after the album came out. These comments are unofficial, however they come from an experienced trader who may only be one or two generations down from the original source:
This posting mentions it being the 'original tracklist' and this posting, from the same user a few months later, refers to it as the version that Flea apparently preferred. Was Flea the source of its leak? If you're 'alexx', please get in touch and explain! 
(Note: I believe you may need a Gmail or Google account to access Usenet archives.) 
The band seem to be aware that it's out there; the posting here doesn't mention any surprise from John about knowledge of Phat Dance's existence: it had only leaked through this bootleg at the time of that posting. (However, he also mentioned the track Blondie - which had already been released under the title Instrumental #2 by then.)
There are several differences mix-wise between this version of Californication and the final retail version, most notably on the chorus of Around The World, the ending of Easily and the chorus vocals in Fat Dance. It also sounds far better than the final retail version, missing that nice sheen of distortion the band lovingly applied to it in the final mixing stages and mastering.
If you have ever noticed that the retail album doesn't sound too great - listen to this. 

Californication Unmastered/Unsequenced CD-R
A different beast to the rough mixes bootleg. This is sourced from a CD-R made for the band with the final tracklisting, seemingly for everyone's approval before the album was mastered. Contains complete endings to all songs and the extra verse to Savior as heard on the alternate masters / rough mixes bootleg.
It appears there was another, final editing session in between this disc being made and the final retail master being prepared and approved; when they removed the verse from Savior, edited the bass in Around the World, the backing vocals on Right on Time, etc.

B-sides CD-R
This is a CD-R made in April of 1999 (titled 'B-sides') that contains a few rough mixes of tracks that didn't make the final album. There are a couple of little curios here: Bunker Hill contains alternate mixes and Slowly, Deeply has two different guitar solos - one an overdub, one supposedly the original recording. Also revealed here for the first time is the fact that the much sought-after Blondie was, in fact, Instrumental #2 all along. Something we've trying to hear for a decade and a half ended up being... a song we already had. Such is life. This is the only source so far for a studio recording of Trouble in the Pub, whose recorded existence was a complete surprise prior to this release.

DOWNLOAD HERE.

SESSION PHOTOS: