In the song, lyricist Anthony Kiedis laments the early death of Dani California, a poor, young girl from Mississippi who became a bank robber and lived a hard, fast life. A girl by the name of "Dani" also appears in the Red Hot Chili Peppers' 2002 single "By the Way". "Californication" is also said to have a reference to Dani; although there is no mention of her name in the lyrics she is the "teenage bride with a baby inside". Kiedis has explained that the character of Dani California embodies all the women from his past relationships, "When this funky groove came up it struck me as a perfect place to actually tell a story. It sort of revealed itself to me that it's been the same character, just kind of developing. At first I didn't realize that I was writing about the same girl."
RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS lyrics - "Dani California"
Gettin' born in the state of Mississippi
Papa was a copper and mama was a hippie
In Alabama she would swing a hammer
Price you gotta pay when you pick the panorama
She never knew that there was anything more than poor
What in the world? What does your company take me for?
Black bandana, sweet Louisiana
Robbin' on a bank in the state of Indiana
She's a runner, rebel and a stunner
Oh her merry way sayin' baby whatcha gonna
Lookin' down the barrel of a hot metal forty five
Just another way to survive
California rest in peace
California show your teeth
She's my priestess, I'm your priest, yeah, yeah
She's a lover baby and a fighter
Shoulda seen her coming when it got a little brighter
With a name like Dani California
Day was gonna come when I was gonna mourn ya
A little loaded, she was stealin' another breath
I love my baby to death
Who knew the other side of you?
Who knew what others died to prove?
Too true to say good bye to you
Too true to say say say...
Push the fader, gifted animator
One for the now and eleven for the later
Never made it up to Minnesota
North Dakota man was a gunnin' for the quota
Down in the badlands she was savin' the best for last
It only hurts when I laugh Gone too fast...