August 2007, Guitar Part (France)
many thanks to Katrina for translation
click the thumbnail for scans
At 37 years old, John Frusciante is already a legend in the world of rock. Star of the six-string since the age of 17, he later hit rock bottom and forfeited everything, before seeing the light again, thanks to music.
John Frusciante was born on 5 March 1970 in New York, to a family of musicians. His father was a pianist, his mother a singer. Due to his parents divorcing at the beginning of the 80s, he went with his mother to Santa Monica, California. Teenage John discovered skateboarding and rock music from groups such as Kiss, Aerosmith and various local punk bands. His step father, a veteran amateur musician, made him discover Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa and David Bowie, which Frusciante listened to non-stop, rapidly developing a passion for music and, in particular, the guitar.
He took his first guitar lesson at the age of 11, and continued to surround himself with a number of musicians that he never ceased to discover. He was an avid listener of guitarists like Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix, and he never stopped studying their techniques, and dissecting their solos. But in addition to their music, it was the clicke of sex, drugs and rock n' roll that these artists represented that attracted the young man. Deep down, Frusciante wanted to perpetuate the rock and roll myth, and wanted to live as a bohemian himself. He decided therefore to become a professional musician himself, and lost himself in the study of his instrument. At the age of 15 years, he discovered the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and became an unconditional fan. Upon the death of Hillel Slovak in 1988, the group proposed to hold auditions to fill the vacant post of guitarist. Although just short of 17 years of age, Frusciante surpassed all the other candidates and found himself in the band at the end of the summer of 1988. The guitarist had realised his wildest dream, and found himself in a studio several months later to record the album Mothers Milk.
At that time, John Frusciante's guitar work was to continue the work of Slovak, and so he had to learn all the parts. But the following tour and time spent with the other band members, allowed the young guitarist, little by little, to develop a more personal style, and to allow his different inspirations to show through more strongly.
John was always a desperate musician, who worked at his instrument 10 or 15 hours a day to reach a peak of creative and technical knowledge. In addition, he fitted in perfectly with the other members of the group and there was an atmosphere of peace and pure creation at the heart of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Recording the following album became for all of them a moment of intense humanity and artistry. The result - Blood Sugar Sex Magic, released in 1991, was the biggest success for the group and showcased the talent of John Frusciante (he later said that he composed 60% of the music on the album). This artistic success opened doors for the group to global recognition and turned the band of friends from Los Angeles into international rock stars.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers became the object of everyone's attentions overnight, and found themselves in a whirlpool that overwhelmed them. But John wanted to be an artist and had the idea of not being a robot at the service f a public hungry for their new heros, and he began to feel really bad. At the beginning of their global tour he began to play with less and less enthusiasm and took to play with bitterness and rage, purposely botching parts. In addition, Frusciante consumed began to consume heroin, which did nothing to help his state of mind.
His relations with the other band members, particularly Anthony Kiedis, became more and more fragile. One evening in May 1992, in Tokyo, one hour before a concert, he announced to the others that he was leaving the band and returned to Los Angeles the same night, in a terribly distressed state. Consumed by doubt and remorse, he spent a year moping round his Hollywood home.
Later, pushed by his friends, he recorded his first solo album, Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a Tshirt, but stopped all musical activity after that, preferring to concentrate on his painting.
There followed a very troubled period for the guitarist who, addicted to heroin, removed himself from sight. Slowly distancing himself from music and from family and friends, he became transient, moving from hotel to hotel.
At the end of 1996, he stuck two fingers up at death, and stopped the heroin.
In 1997, after five years of giving up on life, John questioned himself and decided what he wanted to do with his life.
He decided to enter a hospital and to follow a detox programme. Little by little, he found himself on the road to recovery and redemption.
At the beginning of 1998, Flea, with whom John had never lost contact, proposed that he rejoin the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a replacement for Dave Navarro. He accepted his friends proposition, and the reunion took place in an atmosphere far removed from previous times.
BACK IN THE FOLD
Past troubles had been finally forgotten. The result - Californication - came out in 1999 and was a colossal success, which rejuvenated the group in world opinion. Assured and finally at peace, John became once again the talented guitarist he used to be.
Although removed from the funk-rock that brought success to the band, they developed a sound more pop, and yet smooth according to some. The story therefore continued and continues well.
Today the Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of the most popular bands in the world and John Frusciante is without doubt the favourite member and the most admired by fans.
In parallel, the guitarist has continued his prolific solo career - he released no less than 7 albums in 2004!