What does Otherside mean?

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Red Hot Chili Peppers: Otherside Meaning

Song Released: 2000


Otherside Lyrics

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 it brought up the past
Once you know you can never go back
I’ve got to...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 15th 2006 report

    'otherside' as a single word is common slang for the afterlife. If it meant something else, it would have been spelled as two words. The voice is actually supposed to be slovak's as sung and written by anthony. The rhcp's intended this album to be in tribute of him. Slovak was a former band member who overdosed on heroin. The song describes slovak's personal struggle with drugs, at a point when it has just become a terminal crisis. Slovak realizes heroin now has complete and total control over him and that he is a helpless slave to it. Like other severe addicts to this drug who eventually overdose and die, it's gotten to the point where sub-lethal doses of the drug are no longer satiating his cravings, making a lethal overdose not question of 'if', but 'when': "how long can I slide?"

    slovak is conveying that the only way to take back control is to end his life. To do this, he must come to terms with suicide. The repeated line, "I don't believe it's bad" is of great significance. It's essentially slovak finally taking back control from the drugs, and resolving in his mind that suicide isn't bad under the circumstances (drug overdose). It's interesting to note that at time index 3:59 anthony switches to saying "I don't believe it's sad."

    when anthony (singing as slovak) says, "i've got to take it on the otherside," it means that he (slovak) is craving the drug, but that he'll have to take the drug in the afterlife, because he's putting an end to the chaos by killing himself. "burn me out, leave me on the otherside"... This specifies drug overdose as the method of suicide. In effect, in order to both satiate his craving for the drug and to bring an end to the suffering, he's going to take a megadose that will leave him both satisfied and dead.

    Slovak explains that he's tried to fight the addiction, but it was futile: "I yell and tell it [drugs] that it's not my friend; I tear it down , and then it's born again." this refers to the inevitability of relapses. "once you know, you can never go back": this means that the addiction is never over. Once you've become hooked, you're craving it forever. It's permanent.

    In a nutshell, the song is about getting people to understand slovak's state of mind and the hell he was going through. The lyrics aren't meant to be cryptic. The song is about getting the listener to empathize and understand the mind of someone who was suffering terribly. It's about getting people to understand the misery and why he took his own life.

    The song "savior" is also in reference to slovak.

    Everything about this song is ingenious: the music, the poetic lyrics, the whole production. One of the very best rock songs ever, imho. -ryan, lansing, mi

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    robertellerbeck
    click a star to vote
    Nov 9th 2006 report

    I've always though this song was about how he can't stop taking drugs and how he believes he has to pay for it in the afterlife (otherside).

    "how long will I slide, separate my side, slitting my throat"
    when will he stop killing himself

    "I yell and tell it that its not a friend, I tear I down I tear it down and then its born again"
    he can't stop

    "pour my life into a paper cup"
    his life is in a delicate state

    "the astrays full and I'm spilling my guts"
    he doesn't think his body can handle much more drug abuse

    "still her slut"
    slave to the drugs

    He feels the addiction is destroying his body and soul but I think he also feels guilty about something, something to do with "push the trigger and pull the thread" which are both metaphors, the gun being a syringe and the thread part being about the addiction process and how once it starts sometimes it doesn't stop

  3. 3TOP RATED

    #3 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 27th 2011 report

    I think that that number 1 answer here is way overrated. i don't think it is another persons word. plus i wouldnt say hillel slovak killed himself on purpose as in suicide. he was deep into drug use and shit happens. he was in a new band to the popular music scene and things where starting to go good with record deals, the drugs just got the better of him. u cant subject the body to that physical abuse for long before it doesnt work for you.

    this song seems more about AKs struggle with heroine and coke, etc. reading other comments I did get some good insights though.

    you can't take it too litterally cuz RHCP lyrics, especially earlier, where kinda out there, but this song does have a drug theme. so i will do my best to translate, haha.

    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

    This song is about AKs relapses. He was caught up in hard drugs for so long. He actually was sober for over 5 years and relapsed. As an addict, after you kick it once u do it once again you just "cant" help but keep going again. You feel bad about it, but when you are on a high, u cant help but feel that its OK or good, and there is always another time to get better. so i think he is writing that he wonders how much time will he keep slipping up on sobriety, but growing up in the circumstances that he did and the people he hung out with drug addiction was normal. he got clean but then relapsed and then in that state reasoned that its not bad. its normal. but he also had been sober and knew that there was help and the addiction just takes over.


    I heard your voice through a photograph
    I thought it up it brought up the past
    Once you know you can never go back
    I’ve got to take it on the otherside

    this section goes back to the top rated. the voice through the photo could be hillel, but more likely a girl/ junkie gf he had that used to do drugs with him. but these could have been written when he was using and saw hillels pic and that makes more sense about the "once you know.." lyric and he is depressed that he feels he needs drugs to ease the pain.

    Centuries are what it meant to me
    A cemetery where I marry the sea
    Stranger things could never change my mind
    I’ve got to take it on the otherside
    Take it on the otherside
    Take it on
    Take it on

    This is interesting as well. He is obviously talking about someone he was close to. either hillel or an ex. "centuries..." lyrics. but take it on the otherside means doing drugs so i think that he is reminiscing about someone he loved alot and the time with them meant the world. as far as the cemetary and sea. could be poetic of the west coast. maybe the cemetary would be skid row where he used to by drugs which is near the ocean. and then the next line, basically says that its a weird situation but he has to get some drugs.


    Pour my life into a paper cup
    The ashtray’s full and I’m spillin’ my guts
    She wants to know am I still a slut
    I’ve got to take it on the otherside

    first line of this, could be a reference to alcohol, but i also liked the other comments about his life was so unmeaningful to him it could be in a small paper cup.

    second line, ashtrays full- apparently he used to hide coke or heroine under the ashtray in his car and then the last part makes sense. in withdrawls from opiates you get really sick.

    im taking this one from the top 3 comments too, i think that this song is more about a girl rather than hillel, and he was a womanizer, but its a pretty convincing metaphor that she being drugs wonders if he still would give up anything to her. which furthers my take that this is about relapse.

    Scarlet starlet and she’s in my bed
    A candidate for my soul mate bled
    Push the trigger and pull the thread
    I’ve got to take it on the otherside
    Take it on the otherside
    Take it on
    Take it on

    sounds like he is talking about a girl. as far as i know scarlet doesnt have any drug reference but this person or thing he shared his bed with, so he was very comfortable and close with it.

    next line kinda leaves me hanging a little bit. if its a ex or female refernce it could be in the literal context one could say he was thinking about this girl as his fulltime girlfriend but she "bled" which id interpret as injecting drugs. or it could be a battle of having drugs in his house/bed and he was on the verge of using.
    then he goes ahead and injects. pulls the trigger- pretty obvious needle ref. and pulls the thread ill agree with one of the top 3 comments about the strap on the arm for injecting.

    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 otherside
    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

    basically he does the drugs, its good, but when it wears off he is strung out, and pissed about the experience. he "tears it down" trys to kick, but then relapses.

    great song!

    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

    How long I don’t believe it’s sad
    Slit my throat
    It’s all I ever

  4. JakeyPooh
    click a star to vote
    Nov 18th 2021 report

    In my opinion the song is mainly about addiction. "How long, how long will I slide" refers to how long before I relapse again but I can also see it maybe meaning how long before i o.d.
    The number 1 rated interpretation of this song is number 1 for a reason obviously, I think it's pretty spot on. About it not being Anthony's voice but the founding members I would say it is but it's also Anthony's voice too as the longer he fights the battle the more he wonders if his friend overdosed on purpose & he understands why he would've.
    Push the trigger & pull the thread is maybe the most elegant way ever to say "inject your shot of dope then untie tourniquet"
    But like all the best art there are many interpretations and who's to say that any of them are wrong? I believe any song that has lyrics that can make that many different people feel that many different things would have to be one of the greatest songs of all time, and that's not taking into account Flea's always amazing bass riffs.

  5. anonymous
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    Oct 18th 2017 report

    I read a lot of really great things. Two things come to mind while reading through everyone else's interpretations that I just want to give another view, because I'm a recovering drug addict and this is what my experience was like.

    Scarlet.....the blood flash in the syringe when you've hit the vein and are good to inject the drugs successfully.

    The homosexual references....drug addiction fucks you bigtime in the ass and I've said it myself and heard many other addicts refer to it in this sense as well.

    Female/girlfriend references....your drug addiction, whether you want it to or not, becomes your most revered and intense love affair. The "girl" in reference to a man, that you would do anything for and love above all else, because when you're in the throes of addiction, will come before anything and anyone else no matter how much you have love for any of the real live humans in your life. Drugs always comes first.

    Hope this adds to the possible meaning.

  6. anonymous
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    Dec 18th 2014 report

    It sounds like butt sex.... and i mean the lyrics. Not the song. I was listening and think its about taking it backward /:(

  7. anonymous
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    Aug 10th 2013 report

    At the end when he says "slit my throat it all I ever had" it means he feels he has no control over his addiction, so suicide is the only way to regain control.

  8. anonymous
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    Apr 13th 2013 report

    Legit answer.
    It's in Kiedis' autobiography "Scar Tissue". The song, Otherside, is about their first homosexual experience.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  9. anonymous
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    Feb 5th 2013 report

    So i got really high and concentrated. if by "i heard your voice through a photograph" he means i rolled a doller bill to take dose, then my concentration works find. eh.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  10. anonymous
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    May 18th 2012 report

    Every English major will tell you it's impossible for a writer to write about just one topic. The metaphors of their life slip into everything they produce.

    Otherside clearly has three main topics that have surfaced again and again in Kiedis' lyrics.

    1) Drug addiction
    2) Suicide
    3) Homosexual love

    Every line of the song can be read as indicative of all three. To deny the third (as I have seen people do about the Red Hots all over the place) is homophobia. If realizing they're sexually experimental is a problem for you, change your mind, as you can't change them.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  11. anonymous
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    Feb 12th 2012 report

    I dont know why everyone thinks he still says "bad" instead of "sad".

  12. anonymous
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    Nov 17th 2011 report

    well, well well, try to look at it from the point of view of a cancer-to-be victim. suffering from none other than stomach cancer, severe stomach cancer, he chooses to die or kill himself before the cancer takes his life. he's in so much pain and he goes pale from so much blood pouring into his stomach. think about it.

  13. anonymous
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    Mar 22nd 2011 report

    "pour my life into a paper cup"
    methadone is served in paper cups!

  14. anonymous
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    Mar 14th 2011 report

    Well if you all must really know what the song is about then here it is from a submissive male in a real life Dominate/submissive relationship.
    It is about his Mistress about being uncollared. in case none of you know he is a submissive! and a term of endearment for a sub is also to call him/her a slut, because that is what we are. we do what we do for our Mistress/Master whatever the case may be to please them and a big part of that is being a slut on sexual level as well as on a pain level. hense the term pain slut. do your homework people but as probably none of you are in this lifestyle it stands to reason why you have misread the lyrics. search for his explanation of the song and he tells you!

  15. anonymous
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    Jun 18th 2010 report

    In AK's book, he said that "I don't believe it's bad" refers to him not believing that his experiences with drugs are bad

  16. anonymous
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    Nov 17th 2009 report

    slit my throat is all i ever had- it means he know he is doomed for death when using his addictive drug which could be heroin, but is definately a drug shot up.

    I dont believe its fair- means its not fair because he has no control over banging his drug up with an intense addiction.

    wi

  17. foolish
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    Jan 12th 2009 report

    Means how long will I slide down a ween
    separating his side from partners
    and obviously doesn't believe its bad

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  18. themilkman1_9
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    Nov 7th 2008 report

    the songs definately about the drug addiction to heroin. It's basically about how his arms are so infected that when he goes to the hospital he has to take shots in his ass, so they literally mean the otherside. Theres an interview of him talking about it online, just look.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
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