What does By The Way mean?

Search Login

Red Hot Chili Peppers: By The Way Meaning


No tags, suggest one.

Song Released: 2002

Get "By The Way" on MP3:

Get MP3 from Amazon

By The Way Lyrics

Play "By The Way"
on Amazon Music

Standing in line
To see the show tonight
And there's a light on
Heavy glow
By the way I tried to say
I'd be there... waiting for
Dani the girl
is singing songs to me
Beneath the marquee... overload

Steak Knife Card Shark
Con Job Boot...


    click a star to vote
    Jul 10th, 2009 7:57am report

    the song is about a 18 year old guy, who gets killed by a car whilst waiting for tickets for a RHCP concert, he was sleeping in a parkinglot when someone ran over him.."standing in line, to see the show tonight and there's a light on"(discribes the car coming)."heavy glow"(the car running over him)"by the way i tred to say ill be there" (he dies) its their tribute for the kid "dani the girl , singing songs to me"


    click a star to vote
    Oct 16th, 2017 10:28pm report

    I think it's just about the craziness and all the varied happenings along Hollywood Blvd and the Sunset Strip that a kid would see while going to meet his girlfriend, Dani, for a show. People waiting for shows, homeless people, some violent (steak knife), people on drugs, businesses or homeless people trying to con you out of money for different things (con jobs card shark) hookers (turn that trick to make a little leeway, kiss that dyke I know you want to hold one), people hanging out smoking pot (I'm about to bowl one), tourists from out of town (bootcut). Also the cut throat nature of Hollywood in general (dog town blood bath).


    click a star to vote
    Sep 8th, 2016 9:42pm report

    Story time here. When I was younger, I started talking to this girl, roughly at the same time i found this song and I started seeing some similarities. She was the sort of person who all the guys fancied (although she had never had a proper boyfriend) so there were always loads of guys sniffing around trying to get with her. At the time I started talking to her, I felt I was in some sort of long waiting queue ("standing in line to see the show tonight") to try and get with her. She knew that the vast majority of the guys who were trying to talk to her were self centred people, so I "tried to say I'd be there" for her, in the sense that I was more genuine and caring. The "Dani the girl is singing songs to me / beneath the marquee of her soul" part could potentially suggest the girl is spilling her secrets to the guy, as was the case with me. The faster and 'meaningless' raps in the verse represent a more frantic and confusing feeling that the girl experiences. I also used to think that Anthony said "ooh ahh guess you never meant it", meaning that the girl expresses her feelings to the guy, but then tries to hide it and deny them. This is nowhere near an official theory by the way, just an explanation of what I used to think it was about. And yes, I got the girl in the end.


    click a star to vote
    Sep 5th, 2016 9:44am report

    No one knows what lyrics mean, sometimes the author, they are a rendition of the subconscious; "standing in line to see the picture show" may mean, waiting to get a fix. 'And there's a light on, heavy glow" is the burning of heroine on tin foil" as in by the way this is what I see in the lyrics. 'The picture show" is what happens when the drug works, good memories in the form of pictures is what he is waiting for, running through his mind. "By the way I tried to say I'd be there..." Is his last thoughts of where he was suppose to be before the drug starts working, that's why the sentence stops or runs off. "Waiting for DANI THE GIRL IS SINGING SONGS TO ME BENEATH THE MARQUEE ... OVERLOAD." This is one of his favorite memories where this girl he had something for would bear her soul by sing songs to him while he listened. The overload is the rush that someone gets as the drugs kick in. The show is his memories being played back from his past as if he were at a picture show. The 'HEAVY GLOW' MAY ALSO BE THE FEELING HE GETS AND SEES AS THE TRIP CONTINUES. This "SHOW" takes away the pain, it's were he goes mentally. I can't see the rest of the lyrics, but she bearing her soul brings him happiness and peace. He keeps trying to say he'd be there, but I think she is dead, and in a way he is dead too. The double meaning, is if he's missing the show, he's recovered, detoxed and can't go there like he use too. "BY The WAY" has an interpretation meaning that to see this show, he has to BUY THE WAY IN WITH MONEY AND SACRAFICING HIS BEING CLEAN. ALSO IT MEANS, BY THE WAY, LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING THAT MEANS EVERYTHING TO ME, BUT NOT YOU. THE INTERLUDES WITH THE WORDS REFERRING TO THE SEEDY SIDE OF DRUGS IS WHAT MUST BE DONE TO SEE "THE SHOW". Double entendra is that there is somewhere he should be, but he can't explain all of this to someone else, meaning he never meant to tell them he would be off on a drug trip. The SONG IS YING/YANG, FULL OF OPPOSITES, BUT THE MEMORIES LIKE A PICTURE SHOW IS THE FOCUS OF DANI BEARING HER SOUL, A SPECIFIC MEMORY OR GROUP OF MEMORIES.


    click a star to vote
    Jun 30th, 2016 6:01pm report

    The first interpretation talks about a show, but the way I see it, it's a merge of both the first interpretation and the interpretation on drugs. In reality he's high on drugs then gets killed by the car, "standing in line to see the show tonight" that's him being high and "there's a light on heavy glow" is the car. The lists all pertain to different events, as he starts of with a bad life con jobs and card sharks, and he goes to drugs, dope dicks and quick pricks. You can also see that his life ended the point where it says, "by the way I tried to say I'd be there waiting for" as you might've noticed, this isn't a complete sentence. Another thing to show he died is when it says "beneath the marquee of her soul" the soil being a none physical object that represents more of the afterlife than anything else. Being why it comes up so close to the end, in short he left his girl for drugs, got high and then finally got hit by a car.


    click a star to vote
    May 28th, 2014 5:02pm report

    I feel like this song is about the author "standing in line to see the show tonight" and he said something to this girl he met, like he wanted to do something with her but she cheated on him "Kiss that dyke I know you want to hold one" may suggest she cheated on him with another girl and screwed him over and he was supposed to go to this concert with his girlfriend but she left him, and he was going to help her with her problems, or maybe he screwed up and when he was going to fix his problems she left him, and he's just waiting on line and regretting what he did "By the way I tried to say i'd be there, waiting for.."


    click a star to vote
    Jul 5th, 2013 7:32am report

    Drugs - the beautiful 'Standing in line" part is trying to resist drugs and the chaotic phases are full fledged strung out on drugs. Dani is the temptation of drugs - the addiction "singing songs to me".
    And all the other lyrics are when the drug wins and the words express experiences while high "Black jack dope dick Pawn shop quick pick".


    click a star to vote
    Mar 6th, 2012 3:16pm report

    while the #1 rated post seems like a logical explanation to the storyline of "by the way", it does not cronologically align with the events. this song was written in 2002 and the boy was killed in 2007.


    click a star to vote
    Apr 9th, 2011 4:49am report

    Story of a guy running into his soulmate, love of his life, call her Dani to protect identities. This run-in was in Cali, he was visiting from east coast. They meet again at a bar so random in the middle of the night, she's uncharacteristically wasted out of her gourd on heavy drugs, but she didn't remember him-a spell she'd cast on herself because the pain the last time they parted broke her heart. regardless, they instantly fall in love again. He doesn't tell her they already knew each other. They spend about a week together in blissful love, along with several shady drug deals, making sure to take back mountain roads and not freeways, etc. He showers her with gifts, crystals, jewels, plays her songs to try to get her to remember, loves her but leaves for coast to coast responsibilities. Shortly after she has an intense acid trip and remembers everything, wondering why he hadn't told her. The steak knife is a joke about cutting tomatoes with a dull steak knife. And by the way, she still loves him.


    click a star to vote
    Apr 19th, 2008 4:03pm report

    I love this song and all the meaning behind it. Its amazing how he describes all the things around him and how they make him feel or influence his look on the world.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Dec 10th, 2007 12:40pm report

    I think this song is about what would have happened if the band wasn't famous..like the part with the blood bath may mean the way they lived their life before being famous..

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Nov 17th, 2007 11:01am report

    The last guy is right, this song his about picking up prostitutes

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Oct 31st, 2007 10:45pm report

    Yeah you guys are completely wrong...the guy in the song is waiting in line somewhere(maybe movie theater) for a girlfriend that he has a not so good relationship with, then this dani girl comes(possibly a hooker) and "sings her songs" to him and he's faced with the choice to wait or go with dani-"overload" then the random crazy shit gets said. He talks about how good she is at tempting him, and how he has to do it quickly, he even refers to a trick. more random crazy tings

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Aug 16th, 2007 8:21am report

    You guys are complete idiots. This song is the last bit of Dani's life, and how he would have gone to see her musical show if she hadn't died. Bit obvious isn't it:
    Standing in line
    To see the show tonight
    And there's a light on
    Heavy glow
    By the way I tried to say
    I'd be there... waiting for

    Me = right.
    You = wrong.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Aug 5th, 2007 8:36pm report

    I might be wrong but I think it's about him doing drugs with a member of a Mexican gang under a bridge which is also shown in the video of by the way and under the bridge.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Apr 18th, 2007 4:41pm report

    According to NME magazine, Dani (at least in "Dani California") is created as a tribute to an old roadie who traveled with the band in their early days, Danny C

‹ prev 12

More Red Hot Chili Peppers song meanings »


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Float anonymous
Waste It On Me anonymous
Breakdown anonymous
No Grass Today anonymous
A Trophy Father's Trophy Son anonymous
Limelight anonymous
Hold My Girl anonymous
Happier anonymous
Neon Gravestones anonymous
Whatever It Takes anonymous
Dying In LA PanicPrince
Both Sides Now anonymous
Tiptoe through the Tulips anonymous
Bohemian Rhapsody anonymous
Under the Milky Way anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

Sweet But Psycho
Ava Max
Tory Lanez
Close To Me
Ellie Goulding
Dear Drunk Me
Chad Brownlee
Trippie Redd
Arms Around You
Waste It On Me
Steve Aoki