John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

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John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by budda12ax7 » Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:06 pm

He is back in the RHCP ( not a well loved group in these parts), but what say yee about John. Interestingly: he gave a long interview talking about his love for 17 Seconds Era Cure guitar tones he was trying to create and named checked Carnage Visors as an important piece of music.

I'm on the fence, leaning towards yea.
I always thought his tone was kind of thin, despite playing through 3 Marshalls.

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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by mbene085 » Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:21 pm

Grew up idolizing him. He was by far the best songwriter to ever pass through the RHCP roster, and his playing and arranging (especially layers of guitar) always served the song without descending into self-indulgent wankery like most of his contemporaries in high-profile bands. He was always the gem of that lineup.

His chemistry with Flea was great and their jams were an organic part of their live shows in a way that stood apart from other pop/rock/alternative bands of their era. Saw them live a few times, pretty much to watch John and Flea and their chemistry in action.

When he released his 6 albums in 6 months in the 00's, I listened to them obsessively on my way to and from university. Shadows Collide with People was even better, and the Empyrean was his last hurrah before going off the reservation into electronic music that he is less gifted at creating.

I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a Frusciante fan, or a selective Frusciante-era RHCP fan. I don't know if they will produce anything I'll like in this reunion, but he gets the benefit of the doubt from me. He's immensely talented, fits Flea's playing like a glove, and Chad lays solid foundation for them.

The wildcard is whether Anthony ruins things, as he's not really the "aging gracefully" type. The rapping was a product of its time, and sounds like it. He's never been as good a singer as John's songs deserved (or as John became after getting clean), and his terrible, nonsensical and aggressively sexual lyrics have not aged well, either. John can write meaningful songs fueled by the emotions experienced during a life filled with higher highs and lower lows than most. Anthony just kind of creeps on women or babbles Gavin Rossdale-level word salads when he's not speaking literal jibberish.

I'd be happier to hear Flea and Chad were joining John on a new solo album like they did for Shadows Collide with People, but this might be good, too. Might.

Overall, John gets an emphatic "yea" from me. As a songwriter, lyricist, guitarist, singer, and arranger, he's made some really great stuff, without being the source of the toxic masculinity that makes some RHCP songs cringey or problematic. He's a pretty interesting and down to earth guy when you hear him speak, too, and I've never heard anything bad about him as a person after he got clean.

I hope playing more guitar means he'll start making guitar-based solo albums again, though. That would be the single best outcome from this reunion for me.

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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by budda12ax7 » Sun Mar 07, 2021 10:14 pm

I’ve never listened to his solo stuff, so I will check it out.

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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by soggy mittens » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:11 am

mbene085 wrote:
Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:21 pm
[...]He's never been as good a singer as John's songs deserved (or as John became after getting clean), and his terrible, nonsensical and aggressively sexual lyrics have not aged well, either. [...]
The Simpsons tried to tell him. x)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7bc8Yji68M

I like John's work on Blood Sugar and five songs from Mother's Milk but never even come close since. And yes Anthony's lyrics and vocals really make it a struggle to revisit any of their songs now but I loved them back in the day.
If OSG has tort me anything...

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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by MayTheFuzzBeWithYou » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:45 am

mbene085 wrote:
Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:21 pm
Grew up idolizing him. He was by far the best songwriter to ever pass through the RHCP roster, and his playing and arranging (especially layers of guitar) always served the song without descending into self-indulgent wankery like most of his contemporaries in high-profile bands. He was always the gem of that lineup.

His chemistry with Flea was great and their jams were an organic part of their live shows in a way that stood apart from other pop/rock/alternative bands of their era. Saw them live a few times, pretty much to watch John and Flea and their chemistry in action.

When he released his 6 albums in 6 months in the 00's, I listened to them obsessively on my way to and from university. Shadows Collide with People was even better, and the Empyrean was his last hurrah before going off the reservation into electronic music that he is less gifted at creating.

I'm not ashamed to say that I'm a Frusciante fan, or a selective Frusciante-era RHCP fan. I don't know if they will produce anything I'll like in this reunion, but he gets the benefit of the doubt from me. He's immensely talented, fits Flea's playing like a glove, and Chad lays solid foundation for them.

The wildcard is whether Anthony ruins things, as he's not really the "aging gracefully" type. The rapping was a product of its time, and sounds like it. He's never been as good a singer as John's songs deserved (or as John became after getting clean), and his terrible, nonsensical and aggressively sexual lyrics have not aged well, either. John can write meaningful songs fueled by the emotions experienced during a life filled with higher highs and lower lows than most. Anthony just kind of creeps on women or babbles Gavin Rossdale-level word salads when he's not speaking literal jibberish.

I'd be happier to hear Flea and Chad were joining John on a new solo album like they did for Shadows Collide with People, but this might be good, too. Might.

Overall, John gets an emphatic "yea" from me. As a songwriter, lyricist, guitarist, singer, and arranger, he's made some really great stuff, without being the source of the toxic masculinity that makes some RHCP songs cringey or problematic. He's a pretty interesting and down to earth guy when you hear him speak, too, and I've never heard anything bad about him as a person after he got clean.

I hope playing more guitar means he'll start making guitar-based solo albums again, though. That would be the single best outcome from this reunion for me.
Yes to pretty much all your points!
By The Way was one of the first albums I learned to play to (and through) - and later I discovered the heavier funk stuff like Blood Sugar Sex Magik and their likes - and a little later "Murderers" and the fantastic "To record only water for ten days" album it's on - through that his whole other solo stuff.

He has so much depth in his songwriting. So much feeling - my girlfriend also sees him as a therapist.
Honestly: I was bummed when he left back then - I tried to listen to their newer stuff once but without him I lost the connection somehow. He was the main reason I listened to RHCP. Now he joined back in. I was cautiously optimistic too - that this could also mean he would pick up his guitar(s) more often again.

budda12ax7 - please make sure to listen to Ataxia as well. It's a cooperation between John Frusciante, Josh Klinghofer (once again - here on drums) and Joe Lally on Bass (Fugazi) - it's probably my favorite work of John. I discovered this very late myself - maybe 4-5 years ago - and it has been on my mobile ever since.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5rDww15zls
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aDF5_3Hdh0

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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:18 am

Yeah, I think Mike said it all. I have always liked John Frusciante's guitar playing. I never listened to much of his solo stuff and from what I have I don't really get into it, it always sounds like he's deliberately trying to create his own Skip Spence mythos about himself or something. I could be wrong.

It could also be that my incredible bias against the Red Hot Chili Pepper's makes it impossible for me to have clear eyes. I find Anthony Keidis to have written some of the most laughable lyrics I have ever heard. I can't listen to a minute of it without cringing, and the idea that someone would walk on my listening to that shit is something I can't afford.

John Frusciante's talents are much, I wish they had extended to the lyrics in that band, maybe the singing.
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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by CaptainCrunch » Mon Mar 08, 2021 7:58 am

Anthony Kiedis has always been the least interesting thing about that band. As a general rule, I give anyone over the age of 23 who dates teenagers an extremely wide berth.

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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Mar 08, 2021 9:54 am

Yeah, it really sucks that Flea and Frusciante are stuck with such a person as Keidis, then again, they are all very wealthy people so who can really judge based on that.

You might dream of being a great chef, but if you get rich at your restaurant selling the Original Egg and Bacon Pancakewich(®) then you keep making fucking that.
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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by charmonder » Mon Mar 08, 2021 10:11 am

can they just issue the instrumental version of the album?

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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by mbene085 » Mon Mar 08, 2021 2:02 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:18 am
I have always liked John Frusciante's guitar playing. I never listened to much of his solo stuff and from what I have I don't really get into it, it always sounds like he's deliberately trying to create his own Skip Spence mythos about himself or something. I could be wrong.

It could also be that my incredible bias against the Red Hot Chili Pepper's makes it impossible for me to have clear eyes.
I don't think that he's deliberately tried to create any mythos around himself. He's always been a kinda weird and spacey guy, and his solo work has always reflected what he felt like making, with little to no regard for whether people will like or buy it. He's quit one of the world's biggest and most profitable bands twice, either because he couldn't handle the fame and pressure (1992) or because he just wanted to do something different (2009). To me, that shows some pretty deep artistic integrity. Very few people would pass up such a massive cash cow, let alone twice, and especially when it involved playing with people who were actually good friends and not Axl Rose types.

As for his solo work, it's a bit of a wild ride and depending where you try to come in, you could easily be turned off and nobody would blame you for never returning.

1994's Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-Shirt was a borderline unlistenable lofi mess of a 4-track album made by an addict near rock-bottom. Skip it unless you really want to get to know the arc of his musical career. If you want a 1.5-minute snippet where his good musical ideas briefly overcame the crippling mess of his addiction, Untitled #6 is my favourite track off that album. I've had many years to sit with the album and connect to it, but it involves looking past a lot of things that I would never blame someone for not wanting to have to look past.

1997's Smile From The Streets You Hold is similarly rough and inaccessible, because most of it was recorded at the same time. All of it was recorded between '94 and '96. Height Down (with River Phoenix) is among the highlights. If you don't like it, again...skip the rest. It doesn't get better or more listenable than that. There's a song titled with the N-word. He was a mess. He's spent a good chunk of his life talking and writing about just how low he sank and it's even painful to peer through a window at that time as an outsider.

He nearly died multiple times, lost friends, but found lasting sobriety by 1998. They asked him to rejoin RHCP and he did. About two years later, he used his RHCP clout to release To Record Only Water for Ten Days, which very clearly revisited whatever concept he had for a solo project during the Niandra era, but couldn't execute due to his addiction. Songs like Murderers and Ramparts are among the best-executed examples, and if you don't like those, I probably wouldn't worry about the rest of that album. There are also songs with vocals, but he was very much still figuring out how to use his voice effectively in his songs. He's still pretty pitchy and whiny at this stage.

In 2004, he showed some pretty shocking growth and released a polished album called Shadows Collide with People, which is frankly his greatest album in my opinion. The album opens with a banger called Carvel, though he couldn't resist opening the album with a 90-second synth/noise intro (which I skipped in the link). Chad plays all over the album and Flea makes an appearance. Josh Klinghoffer makes his first Frusciante album appearance, which foreshadows the next half-dozen albums and his eventual career with the Chili Peppers.

I know this is going to get way too long...but I have to call out and comment on a few specific tracks. Regret is as raw a song as he's ever written. It has only two lines - "I regret my past," and "Stay alone," which he shapes and hammers into a crescendo through arrangement decisions and performance alone. It's a meditation on pain, and also shows off just how far his singing came from the off-pitch screeching on his first two albums, as he pulls and pushes it from a soft chest range to a scream or growl from line to line. Omission and Time Goes Back are also gems on that album. If you like these, check out the rest. It was the first truly accessible Frusciante album. This is also the point in time by which it had become clear that he was a far better singer than Anthony ever could be.

Later that year, he released six indie albums that I recall him calling the "6 in 6," though I can't find that specific moniker anywhere online. It was 6 albums and EPs released over the course of 6 months, some of which were from distinct musical project or groups.

All of them featured Josh Klinghoffer, though, often with him as the only collaborator. The production is stripped down compared to Shadows, as you might imagine with that level of output, but they're nothing like the raw mess of his 90's stuff.

The Will to Death was just John and Josh (sample tracks: Time Runs Out and The Mirror). It's sort of like "Shadows Collide With People, low budget indie edition."

Automatic Writing then came out under the band name Ataxia, which was a pretty cool but brief experiment where John and Josh teamed up with Joe Lally from Fugazi. They played two live shows early in 2004, had a single recording session, and released the album later that year. In 2007, they went back and released a second album from the same recording session, but that wasn't part of the "6 in 6" (though it showed he actually wrote seven albums worth of material in 2004, while also having released the giant Shadows LP that year - what a fucking maniac). This is probably the most "OSG" album I'm going to talk about in this entire post. Start with the opening track, The Sides, and then listen to the rest of the album if it piques your interest. It's just about the most "Frusciante" thing ever - have a couple of jam sessions with a couple of legends, write two albums worth of material, have a single recording session, play two shows, and then move on without ever promoting it or talking about it again.

Then came the DC EP. Really, DC connects the first release to the fourth, though interestingly they all manage to have a distinct identity. Josh on Drums, John on guitar, both of them taking turns on bass, and both of them singing (with Josh backing up John, of course). The album opens with Dissolve, which is the highest-energy track, then it kind of lays back a bit with Goals. It's only four songs and at this point you probably have a sense of what you're getting.

Inside of Emptiness was next and continued the theme set by Will to Death and DC, and is just as strong. It has a broad dynamic range, getting arguably both harder and more intimate at times. Interior Two sits sort of in the middle of the road, and calls on some 50's tropes which is a fun thing John does fairly regularly. The album closes with Scratches, which is one of the best-placed tracks on a Frusciante album. If you listen to that album cover-to-cover like I did so many times, that song is just as close to the sound of closing a book as any I've heard.

Then there was A Sphere In The Heart Of Silence, billed as a John/Josh collaboration. It was an album of mostly more experimental electronic stuff, which was hit and miss for me. The Afterglow is a good enough example, though this album really varied track to track. Josh takes lead vocals over for some songs, some sound like his more introspective solo stuff, and some tracks foreshadow the direction he'd take half a decade later. I still don't know what to make of this album. At the time, it was like, "Ok, John, sure, you're playing around with synths and having a good time, but this doesn't seem to really be your strong suit." I think I came to view it more negatively over time, because he basically decided at some point that this was his sound, and I just don't think he's as good at it as he is at other things.

Curtains was next, which was the acoustic album in the series. The Past Recedes actually received a music video, so that seems like the logical one to post here. There are some great songs on this album, including some of the more obtuse songwriting he's done, but without the lofi aesthetic of his early work. It was a palette cleanser after Sphere, but in a few ways I always found it a bit of a disappointment. The first four albums were just such accomplishments, and the fifth was so bizarre, that I had really been hoping the 6th would pick back up where the first four left off. There were also technical issues with the pressing and distribution, so it came out 2 months late in February '05 instead of December '04, so I had many disappointing stops at my local indie record store (god I miss that being a thing) hoping for it to have arrived, and had about 3x longer to sit with Sphere being the newest release than I did with any of the others.

So maybe it was just my experience at the time, but I had had 5 killer albums in 6 months, then a weird experimental electronic one to dwell on for three months leading up to a slightly anticlimactic mostly-acoustic album. Maybe it's some people's favourite album. It's still good, but the heights of the first four albums hot on the heels of Shadows Collide with People had set an unreasonably high expectation. Having John go indie and kick so much ass was everything 18 year-old me could have ever wished for.

Shadows was actually released in April 2004, with the "6 in 6" starting in June, so although it was considered as being separate (it was released on Warner Bros vs the indie releases on Record Collection), he actually released 7 albums in 10 months, with an 8th recorded in the same time window (the second Ataxia album). Pretty wild.

It would be half a decade until we saw another Frusciante solo effort, the ambitious Empyrean in 2009. It has higher production value than his other Record Collection indie releases, but is simultaneously less accessible. It was released right when he quite the RHCP again, and was wanting to go in a different direction. I never connected with it the way I did with most of the albums leading up to it. It opens with a 9-minute ode to Maggot Brain called Before the Beginning, which, like everything else on the album, I just don't know what to make of. In a vacuum, it's good, but unlike his other stuff, it was sort of boldly derivative.

But this was the era where he really seemed to be struggling to figure out what kind of music he wanted to create. He had good friends and unimaginable commercial success in the RHCP, but it wasn't sitting right. He tried a concept album, and it wasn't sitting right. He then went completely off the reservation and made three albums of electronic experimental music before eventually deciding to rejoin RHCP.

This is from his 2012 album, PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone. This is from the 2014 follow-up, Enclosure. His 2020 album, Maya, opens with this.

Not to say they're without merit, but he just doesn't wield synths and breakbeats with anything resembling the degree of mastery with which he wields guitars and vocals. I was glad he was happy making the music he wanted to make, but I missed being able to connect to his music the way I used to.

So yeah. For him to announce rejoining RHCP the same year he released Maya was a real surprise to say the least. Honestly, with the pandemic, maybe he figures he won't have to play arena shows. He consistently, decade after decade, made comments about how he struggled with crowds and being put on a pedestal. Maybe jamming with his friends and releasing stuff online and in sparsely-populated venues is what he's hoping to get from this.

Anything that gets John writing and playing on a guitar again has the potential to lead to great places, in my opinion. If you actually read this post, thanks for sticking with me. This was basically an opportunity for me to go back through his catalog and reconnect, and I had a great time doing so. If it helps anybody navigate the ups and downs of his solo career, all the better. There's some really good stuff in there, it just takes some time to get to know it or to find the parts of it that connect.

The last time he was motivated to release anything truly guitar-based was in 2013. His friend, Wayne Forman, was dying, and he recorded a song for him that he only managed to finish the day after he passed. It's just called Wayne. He released it online for free, and I'll conclude this post with the message he released alongside the track.
This song was recorded for my friend Wayne Forman, the coolest, kindest friend anybody could ever have. When I used to play in arenas I would often mentally aim my playing at him. Wayne loved long guitar solos, and he was my favorite person in the audience to play for. As everyone who knew him is well aware, he was also the best chef ever. When I saw him two days ago, he was laying in front of a CD player, so when I came home I decided I'd make something for him.

I recorded this solo for him to hear, but I finished it a day too late, so now it is a tribute to his memory. It is what he would have wanted me to play for him, and it is my offering to his family and friends all over the world, as well as anybody else. Wayne lives in our hearts forever, the greatest guy anybody could ever know. I'm so lucky to have been graced by his friendship.

All the love in the world to him.

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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by s_mcsleazy » Mon Mar 08, 2021 4:01 pm

i like the album he did with joe lally from fugazi (even if it felt like there was little real songs in there)

honestly, i don't quite get the worship lot's of people have of him. but his influences are solid and i've seen a lot of guitar players say they got into lot's of interesting bands as a result of john being so vocal about them
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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:14 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 2:02 pm


All the love in the world to him.
[/quote]

Thanks, Mike, I'll take a listen to some of that.

I did listen to "Brand E", actually, and it wasn't too bad, I was enjoying it until that pitch manipulated voice said "give me a motherfucking break beat" and then the percussion duly kicked up.

That was pretty lame, still, it could have been him singing in tandem with samples from a gritty voiced blues guy like how they used to do. Still, not at all a bad song.
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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by mbene085 » Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:17 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 5:14 pm
Thanks, Mike, I'll take a listen to some of that.

I did listen to "Brand E", actually, and it wasn't too bad, I was enjoying it until that pitch manipulated voice said "give me a motherfucking break beat" and then the percussion duly kicked up.

That was pretty lame, still, it could have been him singing in tandem with samples from a gritty voiced blues guy like how they used to do. Still, not at all a bad song.
Yeah, that's basically how the last three albums went. It's like there were some decent ideas in there at times, but his electronic stuff just sounds like an amateur effort, even after all these years. It's just not his natural element, where his talent lies. It kinda feels like the musical equivalent of Michael Jordan's baseball phase. It's like, "I get that you've achieved more than most could dream of, so now you're pushing yourself to live a different dream you've had. And good for you. But also, this is a little hard to watch, and a little puzzling, too."

But the one thing that's been clear for a long time is that he's just going to make whatever music he feels like making. He seems to care deeply about trying to connect emotionally through music, but doesn't remotely care about succeeding commercially. He's a bit of a musical honey badger who somehow stumbled into commercial superstardom practically by accident.

There's an interesting quote where he explained his perspective a bit.
Music has always carried me through times of loneliness. So when I make music, I like it to make people who listen to it feel like they have a friend who reveals something personal to them, rather than trying to be like a god up on a pedestal
It's pretty clear why it was inevitable that he'd repeatedly piss off Kiedis by derailing the band and rejecting/sabotaging their commercial success. He'd be up there trying to tune out the crowd and "mentally direct his solo" to his friend while Kiedis was the prototypical rock star, trying to print money and gain worshippers. The whole thing started out with a teenaged John trying out for one of his favourite local bands, and escalated rapidly from tiny clubs to Lollapalooza. He was pretty open about his hope and expectation that RHCP was just going to be a local band and that it never fit with Anthony's ambitions. They were a white 80's funk-rock band...there was no real reason to think that'd blow up, but it was ironically his playing and songwriting that carried them to the places he didn't really want to go.

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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:59 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:17 pm


It's pretty clear why it was inevitable that he'd repeatedly piss off Kiedis by derailing the band and rejecting/sabotaging their commercial success. He'd be up there trying to tune out the crowd and "mentally direct his solo" to his friend while Kiedis was the prototypical rock star, trying to print money and gain worshippers. The whole thing started out with a teenaged John trying out for one of his favourite local bands, and escalated rapidly from tiny clubs to Lollapalooza. He was pretty open about his hope and expectation that RHCP was just going to be a local band and that it never fit with Anthony's ambitions. They were a white 80's funk-rock band...there was no real reason to think that'd blow up, but it was ironically his playing and songwriting that carried them to the places he didn't really want to go.
Well, I have to quibble with that a bit.

The first Red Hot Chili Peppers albums was produced by Andy Gill from Gang of Four, and the second album was produced by none other than George Clinton. Both of these albums were done before John Frusciante joined the band.

There was money bankrolling RHCP and you aren't going to bring in George Clinton for a local band, there was a real push to make the Chili Peppers what they were and I don't think that John F could have been unaware of that. Especially when you consider that the first album he played on was the first album that the band did for Warner Brothers, they did videos from it that were played on MTV and shit - all of this was a big league as it gets for "alternative music".

And considering that it was well understood that the Chili Peppers were going to get groomed for big label success when Hillel Slovak died, that can't have been missed. I am pretty sure they had been signed to Warner Brothers when Slovak passed away- Frusciante probably had to know what he was getting into.

That being said, the Hillel Slovak era stuff is dreadful, and I do agree that without Frusciante they never would have been able to fulfill the promise of the major label signing, and probably would have been shelved after an album or two on Warner Brothers.
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Re: John Frusciante.....yea....or....nay.

Post by mbene085 » Mon Mar 08, 2021 7:25 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 6:59 pm
Well, I have to quibble with that a bit.

The first Red Hot Chili Peppers albums was produced by Andy Gill from Gang of Four, and the second album was produced by none other than George Clinton. Both of these albums were done before John Frusciante joined the band.

There was money bankrolling RHCP and you aren't going to bring in George Clinton for a local band, there was a real push to make the Chili Peppers what they were and I don't think that John F could have been unaware of that. Especially when you consider that the first album he played on was the first album that the band did for Warner Brothers, they did videos from it that were played on MTV and shit - all of this was a big league as it gets for "alternative music".

And considering that it was well understood that the Chili Peppers were going to get groomed for big label success when Hillel Slovak died, that can't have been missed. I am pretty sure they had been signed to Warner Brothers when Slovak passed away- Frusciante probably had to know what he was getting into.

That being said, the Hillel Slovak era stuff is dreadful, and I do agree that without Frusciante they never would have been able to fulfill the promise of the major label signing, and probably would have been shelved after an album or two on Warner Brothers.
Sure, you make a fair point. I should have phrased it that there was no reason for teenaged John to think they'd blow up. He's a pretty clueless sober adult and I can't imagine he was any less clueless as a stoned teenager. Whenever he's spoken about that era, it's been clear that he just liked the band and liked the idea of playing in it. It would be pretty easy for a teenager to dismiss a frontman going on about how they'd be huge someday, since that's how every twentysomething frontman has ever spoken about their band.

So I definitely phrased it incorrectly. They were still local when he joined, and I don't think he had much of a business sense. He was a teenager and got way into drugs while he was in the band (arguably because of the band). I don't believe he understood what trajectory they'd end up on. As far as I'm aware, they only signed the WB deal after John joined, and I'm not sure if the WB deal would have looked all that different to a teenager than the EMI deal the band had had for the last two albums, which had managed to generate a 6-month US tour with a few dates in Europe.

It's kind of like joining Apple right after the release of the Apple I, or buying Amazon stock in 1997. Maybe you believed in what they were doing, but it's only in retrospect that success seems to have been assured. I mean, Hillel's playing and writing wasn't setting the world on fire. John couldn't have known he was the missing ingredient for an international breakout.

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