For many LA citizens, “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers comes close to capturing the city’s true face. The song starts out with a bright and cheerful mood. “I drive on her streets ‘cause she’s my companion / I walk through her hills ‘cause she knows who I am / She sees my good deeds, and she kisses me windy / And I never worry … “
And then it takes a quite dark turn: ” … Now that is a lie.” and underlines the phony side of the city of angels. The song, off the album Blood Sugar Sex Magik, was a turning point for the Chili Peppers. It was their first mainstream hit. In his memoir Scar Tissue, Anthony Kiedis talks about how the song came out of a sense of loss and isolation. This feeling reminded him of his drug addiction and the day he hit rock bottom, “downtown with f*cking gangsters shooting speed balls under a bridge.”
But one may ask under which infamous bridge? After a lot of research, a writer from vulture.com found that the bridge was located in MacArthur Park in Westlake, LA. He describes it as a pleasant space, with palm trees and benches, grassy areas for picnics, a small lake, and paths for strolling. Instead of looking like some dark and forbidding portal to hell, it was painted with graffiti in the form of a friendly octopus. It might be clean and safe and have a happy octopus, but not that long ago it was the stomping ground of gangbangers and dope slingers, which led Kiedis to write a masterpiece of a song.