Guitar Player recently published a new interview with Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante. It’s been about three years since his official return to the band and the disbandment of Josh Klinghoffer who pretty much kept the seat warm for him. When asked what it’s like to play with Flea, Anthony Kiedis, and Chad Smith again, Frusciante replied:
“It’s a real different experience, just because of the size of the stadiums. It pulls a lot out of you, especially because I came back into the band in a spirit of giving. I really wanted to play for people, you know? But when we made the records, it was more about playing for the other guys in the band, or playing something that I’d want to play for my friends.“
“But going out onstage, there’s times where I go up to the mic to sing and I make eye contact with people, and I see two people that are clearly in love and really happy to be there, or a little kid who’s really happy, or a young girl who’s jumping up and down, or a group of guys that are jumping around in a circle because they’re so happy that we played the particular song that they really like.“
Sometimes those moments, I start crying. Or I get choked up and I can’t sing and I have to shut my eyes and stare down at the ground and collect myself.”
He also added:
“There’s a lot of emotional moments like that. And I don’t know that in the band we’ve ever been so appreciative of being there with each other before. Because we have this lifetime behind us of these meaningful moments playing together. It’s very important to us. We all feel very supported by each other.“
Going further into the matter, Frusciante was asked about the band improvising on the stage. Although it’s not something that you see often these days, at least not with shows of their size, the fans still seem to welcome this. Frusciante explained:
“Yeah. It’s a good way to really get in touch with the particular energy that’s there that night. Because every crowd is different and every venue feels different, and we’re also in a different mood every night.”
“So by improvising right at the beginning, we get in touch with what the spirit of the moment is, and oftentimes that sets the tone for the rest of the show. And you know, throughout the show there’s lots of spontaneity.”
“Every time there’s a solo, whether it’s a song that we don’t play often or a song that we play every night, I feel really creative in those moments. Every second on the stage feels worthwhile.”
In late 2019, Red Hot Chili Peppers officially announced John Frusciante’s return. The guitarist originally joined the band in 1988 and then left in 1992. After being replaced by Jesse Tobias and then Dave Navarro, Frusciante came back in 1998. He then left once again in 2009 and was replaced by Josh Klinghoffer who already acted as a touring guitarist for a while. Frusciante’s latest return was a bit of a surprise for the fans but most of them embraced it, although they couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for Klinghoffer’s dismissal.
The COVID-19 pandemic postponed their return to the stage and the studio, but the band finally released “Unlimited Love” in 2022. The sessions for the new album were so prolific that it resulted in another record, “Return of the Dream Canteen.” So far, things look good for the Chili Peppers and there’s a high chance that we’ll see more of their original material in coming years.
Photo: Hel Davies (John Frusciante (52183315960))