Fifteen years ago, around the release of Shadows Collide with People, John was interviewed by Steve Rosen. This interview never made it to the internet or print and was instead quietly posted online circa one month ago. The other day, Rosen decided to publish it with a full transcript on Rock Cellar magazine and now that John’s reunion with the Red Hot Chili Peppers is a trending topic worldwide, the views are skyrocketing.
You can listen to the interview on YouTube.
Here are some interesting excerpts from the transcript, at least in our humble opinion.
On what he considers himself to be as a musician
JF: What I consider myself to be above all else is a songwriter, and this is why I write songs. In the Chili Peppers I might write a whole song but it’s still just a guitar part. I’ve been writing lyrics since I was eleven years old and I’ve been getting better and better at it. And there are so many more from this period of time that aren’t on this [album]. There were about fourteen songs that were contenders to be for The Brown Bunny soundtrack for Vincent Gallo’s movie and five of them ended up on the soundtrack album.
On the sonic brilliance and high-end production of SCWP
You would characterize your production on this album as extreme?
JF: Yeah, I’m really using the studio like an effect rather than just using the studio to represent a realistic representation of what we sound like playing together. I’m using things like compression and echo and reverb in a very extreme kind of way.
On the fact that his sound is very recognisable
The sound and feel of your rhythm guitar parts are so uniquely you – where did this come from? Can you describe your approach to rhythm playing, the way you strum?
JF: It’s just something that comes from playing a while. I mean I can recognize most of my favorite guitar players playing. There’s something that makes no two people’s muscles and skin and the electricity in an individual’s body like no one else. You can hear somebody like Jeff Beck playing one note and you know who it is.
On getting in the zone onstage
JF: Sometimes live in the Chili Peppers I get into that flashy rockstar lead guitar thing, but it’s more because of the energy of playing in front of an audience. It’s not something that I’m interested in musically, it’s more something I do because I get off on the interaction between the audience and the excitement that’s generated in the exchange of love. And a lot of the time that will make me play in a way that’s more blues-based and flashy and stuff.
If you’re not in the mood to listen via YouTube, you can read the full transcript on Rock Cellar Magazine website.
And if you are in the mood for more raw, live-on-air 2004 interviews, how about the ones with Virgin Radio and Deutchlandfunk. Ignore the weird characters, they will be replaced and the text is readable even with them in it.