Rock Sound Magazine
# 21- February 2001

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ith 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.

John 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...

"I 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."

There's 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."


The 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.

The 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..."

Frusciante, 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. "


The 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."

"There's 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.

"At 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 ever again.


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