For two decades it has been the subject of intense speculation, not least because no member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers would confirm its location. But now it appears the exact whereabouts of the bridge referenced in the L.A. funk-rock squad’s monster 1992 hit and anti-drug anthem “Under the Bridge” has been found.
Los Angeles-based writer Mark Haskell Smith states in Vulture.com that the infamous bridge where singer Anthony Kiedis plaintively claims “he gave his life away” shooting drugs is a pedestrian bridge located in city's MacArthur Park.
And judging by Smith’s exhaustive search – which had him combing through maps, double-checking with the California Department of Transportation, weighing drug references in Thelonious Monster songs and anecdotes from former junkies plus consulting BridgeHunter.com (who knew?) – his assertion is more than a shot in the dark.
Smith writes: “Inside, it looked like a school art project had been painted over decades of tagging, layers of violent history under a family friendly mural… but not that long ago it was the stomping ground of gangbangers and dope slingers.
He adds: "It must be the bridge in the song. It links Sixth and Union - the intersection Kiedis claims he was walking toward [in his memoir Scar Tissue] - with the drug dealers at Seventh and Hoover. And, unlike the other bridges, it provides a discreet location for private time with personal demons."
Granted, it’s not a mystery on par with a cure for cancer, but for Chili Peppers fans – and native Angelinos like the Vulture.com writer – it is a notable bit of pop culture lore. Plus, that song is/was by far the biggest hit in the band’s canon, and perhaps not surprisingly, the least representative of their overall sound.
So there you have it. Of course, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were last month inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so they are very much back on people’s radar. We’ll call this an excellent Friday water-cooler tidbit. Yeah, you’re welcome.