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Feature on John in the April issue of Premier Guitar

After having unintentionally broken news on Enclosure, Premier Guitar have more of interest. In their April issue, there’s a lengthy feature on John, which is also available to read on their website.

Here is how they announced the article:

John, photographed by Nabil
John, photographed by Nabil- click to enlarge
Premier Guitar April 2014: Gear connoisseurs rejoice—we just got back from the Winter 2014 NAMM show in Anaheim, California, and here we’ve got the top 28 guitars, basses, amps, and stomps to covet in 2014. We also get to talk to John Frusciante about his long-awaited solo album, be a fly on the wall as bass legends Will Lee and Nathan East interview each other, and hear the latest from roots-rocker Jimbo Mathus and classical virtuoso Jason Vieaux. Meanwhile, luthier/pickup maker Tom Jones (TV Jones) writes about the history of the baritone guitar. Our gear reviews this month include the Line 6 POD HD Pro X, Eastwood Airline Map Baritone, Vox Night Train G2 NT15C1, Carvin PB4, MXR Phase 99, Lowden 32 SE, Synaptic Groove Snapperhead, Markbass Bass Multiamp, Solid Gold FX Zeta, and Fender Kingman Pro Custom.

And here are a couple of excerpts from the interview:

How did you conceptually select songs for Enclosure?
My object was not to feature my songs, but to use the songs as a place to express myself sonically and rhythmically, with the drums as the primary instrument—more so than the melody. That’s really the change that’s taken place in the last 30 years in electronic-based forms of music. Drums have moved to the top of the hierarchy of musical elements, and typical chord changes or other elements aren’t a necessity in making music. In some ways I can go farther out than I’d be able to go if I didn’t have a song beneath me. For instance, the stuff I’ve done with chopping up jazz drum solos, doing drums that are in time with the song on certain accents and off time on other hits. I haven’t heard anybody go that far with sampling and chopping up off-time drums.

John's main guitar, Yamaha SG2000 - click to enlarge
John’s main guitar, Yamaha SG2000 – click to enlarge

Is expression the same for you on all instruments? Or is guitar a special tool?
The guitar is the best way for me to study other people’s music. Since I started playing, I’ve probably spent more time learning off records than doing any other activity in life. Doing that has so many values, among them the ability to think about music in intellectual terms. Not just hearing what you like and enjoy, but analyzing it and getting inside the heads of the people who played or wrote it. I like learning all the parts of a piece of music so I really know why I feel what I feel in the best terms that my mind is capable of understanding. I like to play one of the parts, but be able to visualize the rest of the parts and think about their relationship to each other in terms of intervals and rhythmic spaces.


What guitars did you use on Enclosure?
My main guitars are Yamaha SG2000s. My favorite is a purple one from 1980. I have a few others, and a few SG1500s. I switched from the Strat to the Yamahas in late 2010. I’ve played the Strat once in the last three years, and only on one little recording.

You can read the entire article titled John Frusciante: War and Peace on Premiere Guitar’s website for more answers, a complete list of the gear he’s used on Enclosure and a photo of his home studio.

To order your own copy of the magazine for $2.50 instead of the usal $6.95, click here.

Thanks to a friend’s kindness, will obtain a copy of this magazine, but it will probably take a while for it to arrive, so if you do not see it on here and you have it – drop a line and send in scans, please.

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    • Iva

      Oops, sorry to mention that. The printed version of the magazine seems to be available for ordering in USA and Canada only (I was surprised, too…they could offer it to the rest of us at a higher price, if nothing else); so if you have somebody there who can help you out – ask them.

      Or, well, eBay…

  • James

    Thanks for this. Its annoying theres not mention of his software, I'm pretty sure I know I just would of loved some clarity =[

          • James

            I think its the tracker/DAW Renoise. You can kind of see it in the background of those new studio photos. Its Venetian Snares' main software tool and seeing as they hang out and that, it makes a lot of sense.

  • bhit1771

    From the article:

    "Frusciante actually has six MC-202s, which he uses in various combinations to translate guitar parts into synthesized parts. With multiple machines, he can manipulate a single guitar string per machine, and then endlessly refine each string’s sound."

    I think that I can hear some of the string manipulation in Breathiac where the guitar tone turns into piccolo and into violin. I thought he was mixing the tones in from samples, but it would make more sense if he was mixing it with MIDI tones. Changing the guitar tone through filtering it with a guitar synth setup.

  • John Root

    I'm glad he mentioned some influences. I always love the interviews where he references different artists. I use it as a guide. He mentioned Alan Holdsworth and Genisis players. I was unaware of Alan Holdsworth so now I am listening to "Touching On" by Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Young, Ron Mathewson, John Stevens. I love free jazz and this is truly amazing music. Does anyone have any other recommendations by accredited to Holdsworth? Discogs shows quite a bit of involvement.

    • SachaWatson

      Start with Soft Machine for Allan Holdsworth, then probably move on to his solo albums. I remember JF mentioned Holdsworth during one of the Guitar magazine interviews for Stadium Arcadium as well as John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra). John's current style of guitar playing is defintely influenced by McLaughin aswell.

      • John Root

        cool! thank you. Ive only listened to early soft machine / robert wyatt solo and John McLaughlin w/ Santana.

  • Chip

    Does this interview blow your mind a little or is it just me? I mean wow, just read the whole thing. I can't believe how wise JF is! And I'm so pumped for this album and the next two Black Knights albums. So many great sounds, so much new material, and so much going on simultaneously in each song. Amazing! Thank you, John.

  • Anne

    It's a great interview. Wasn't always easy though since I don't play any instrument.
    But I certainly have even more respect for John's art now, for his knowledge and his hunger for music .

    I love that he mentions The Lamb lies down on Broadway. Always sing along with the last lines *It's only rock'n roll but I like it, like it, like it, like it*.

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