Before the Red Hot Chili Peppers can join Bruno Mars on stage Feb 2. at the Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show, they have to live down a brilliantly subtle fake Chili Peppers tune released by some exceptional Internet jokesters.
It all started when The Best Show radio host and music video director Tom Scharpling tweeted a link to the new Red Hot Chili Peppers tune, which he described as “a must-hear.”
Scharpling’s link takes you to an official-looking website, RHCP2014.com, which is covered in ads for Pepsi, L.A. radio station KROQ and Dodge Durango. It’s ugly, but in a very believable, tasteless-corporate-design way.
Then the new “Chili Peppers” song starts playing. The track titled “Abracadabralifornia” features a knock-off Anthony Kiedis crooning about California, replete with nonsensical lyrics like “Bing a bong bing a bong a bong Burbank,” “Shopping cart — escalator!” and then scat-rapping rhymes like, “I drink an Alabama slammer with your sexy-ass grandma.”
Obviously, it’s an instant classic.
But what’s the story behind the song? While Scharpling may have been the first to tweet it to the world, the idea stems from an old episode of the Comedy Bang Bang podcast that featured The Hangover star Zach Galifianakis and Kroll Show regular Jon Daly introducing podcast host Scott Aukerman to their Red Hot Chili Peppers fan club, which they called The Pepper Men. During the sketch, Daly sings the club’s theme song, which is called, “Abracadabralifornia.”
“This song started because me and Zach Galifianakis were at a party with a lot of celebrities, and he was the only person I knew there,” Daly told Radio.com in an interview about the song’s genesis. “It was really uncomfortable for me, so I went up to [Zach] and said, ‘Flea just texted me and said he’s stuck in traffic.’ Zach immediately said, ‘Oh yeah, I talked to [Anthony] Kiedis. He’s parking and should be here soon.’ For the rest of that night, we kept talking like the Chili Peppers were good friends of ours. It was just a dumb bit that we did, and part of the bit was singing ‘Bingabong Burbank’ and ‘G-G-G-G-Glendale.’”
Daly connected with musician Cyrus Ghahremani to write and record the song and put together the website. Then they waited for the right time to release the track — and the Super Bowl half time show provided the perfect excuse. They then reached out to comedian friends like Aziz Ansari and Patton Oswalt to get the fake song into circulation. Their tweets started to gain traction across the web, and soon fans and music sites alike were fooled by the sound-enough-alike song. “The song is classic Peppers, so much so, it almost sounds like a parody,” wrote a Yahoo music blogger.
Luckily, the Chili Peppers are aware of the joke and apparently think it’s quite funny:
“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
That came as a huge relief to Daly, who is a longtime fan of the band. “I was genuinely concerned that they’d be offended, but then [RHCP drummer] Chad Smith put out that tweet, and that’s all I needed: for one of them to acknowledge and like the song,” Daly told Radio.com.
“Abracadabralifornia” is available as a free download and is streaming on the rhcp2014.com site.