the release of his third solo album, Red Hot Chili Peppers' guitarist
John Frusciante bares his soul to Rock Sound on the subjects of
life, love... and yoga.
Frusciante is speaking from his home, a hotel apartment in Hollywood.
Lying on his bed, he's talking softly about the problems that
saw him leave the Chili Peppers after 'Blood Sugar Sex Magik'.
There seems to be some interference, but there's nothing wrong
with the phone line. It takes a few minutes to work out that it's
just the beating of the guitarists soul...
didn't quit playing music because of drugs," he explains
honestly, "I quit playing music because I wanted to quit
playing music, and drugs were something I took to self-medicate
myself, to deal with the things that had made it ugly to me. It
worked y'know, it worked, I mean during the course of time there
were some really rough times, but in the back of my head I think
I felt how it was going to come out and I was never scared. Even
when times got really bad I just had a feeling that there was
a higher reason for them being that way. I always felt good about
myself, I always loved myself, and as long as I had a certain
spiritual energy around me I was happy. It didn't matter if I
was starving, it didn't matter if I had to be sick, what mattered
was that I knew who I was and I was always proud of that, being
who I am."
something in Frusciantes voice that sounds like childhood, a frankness
that taps gently at your heart. He has resolved the problems that
engulfed his songwriting, the problems that threatened to swallow
him whole, and now he's completely clean. "I don't need to
take drugs," he notes quietly, but emphatically, "I
feel so much more high all the time right now because of the type
of momentum that a person can get going when you really dedicate
yourself to something that you really love. I don't even consider
doing them, they're completely silly. Between my dedication to
trying to constantly be a better musician and eating my health
foods and doing yoga, I feel so much more high that I did for
the last few years of doing drugs."
feeling is such that, not content to rest on his laurels until
later in the year, when the Red Hot Chili Peppers will start work
on the follow-up to the frankly astounding 'Californication',
he has spent his in between time working on a new album. To
Record Only Water For Ten Days is his third solo effort, and
it's out this month. "It has something to do with getting
yourself into a state of being pure and being open,"
John observes, carefully trying to explain the emotion of the
record, "and therefore being able to give yourself to
this physical dimension by having a sort of purity that has nothing
to do with this dimension." If that's kind of hard to
understand, then it's just an extension of an album so sublime
it really is hard to find explanatory words.
honesty of the record, however, is overpowering, and Frusciante,
who at times comes across as so sensitive he might shatter, connects
a lot of it to that feeling of childhood. "I got into
the music that I'm into at a pretty young age," he recalls,
"I found new wave, and punk shortly after that, when I
was nine or ten years old, and it came at the perfect time, because
I was feeling completely lost and I had too much pain in me, and
I didn't know what to do with it. I knew I didn't want to do anything
bad to other people with it, but it was that intense where if
I hadn't had music to put it into, if I hadn't had that soothing
feeling of knowing that Darby Crash, the singer of The Germs,
was feeling a certain pain that was so much like my own, that
I had a friend y'know..."
willingly or otherwise, constantly skips over the details of his
childhood, the things that made him feel like this at the age
of nine but, while candid, he does note that, "They weren't
things that were in my conscious memory. I had always been good,
especially at the ages of four, five, six when something really
awful happened, at being able to forget it almost immediately.
Those things really came out in around '91 or '92, it was almost
like meeting yourself as a child or something, because it came
back to me like I was actually feeling physical pain in my body.
When nobody was there, I felt like somebody was kicking me in
the legs. "
power that music has to connect people to each other has always
been one of the guitarists driving forces. It is, he emphasises,
"One of the main reasons why I feel like it's important
for me to do what I do for a living. To me, it's the most beautiful
way of soothing peoples pain. I think people often don't think
about what the planet would be like without music. There are so
many people doing beautiful things in music, people complain about
the world and stuff, but so many people are doing their damnedest
to make it beautiful by making music. So many people are trying
to create these invisible places that anyone who wants to can
feel with music, theres so much of it and there always has been,
there's always so much to find out about."
always so much to find out about." Something that John,
still only 30, knows all too well. At the age of 18, he joined
the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He was already a fan, and he says it
took a year and a half before he saw them as actual human beings
rather than rock stars. He then quit the band, and lost himself
in heroin- he admits that a year of that period is still a complete
blank- before joining up again to become part of the team that
delivered Californication to the world. In writing some
of the best guitar pieces ever, John Frusciante has, perhaps inadvertently,
indelibly etched himself upon out lives, and now he is completely
confident that every year from here on in will be one that he
can, and wants to, remember.
this point I'm the happiest person in the world," he
says, his heart in his hands. "These things do not fuck
with me at all, and I'm so proud of that, you don't know how proud
I am. It's such a beautiful thing to be able to face life, to
face yourself, without hiding behind drugs, without having to
have anger towards people who love you. There are people who are
scared of losing stuff, but you don'y lose anything for any other
reason than if you just give up on yourself." And
John, you can be sure, has no intention of giving up on anything