Miraculously alive after his decent into the underworld, John Frusciante leads The Red Hot Chili Peppers into a new golden era.
John Frusciante moves purposefully among the journalists, publicists, band members and employees gathered in a bungalow suite at L.A.’s elegant Bel Air hotel. It’s a Red Hot Chili Peppers press day and the guitarist is in full meet-and-greet mode, dressed in retro checked polyester slacks and a flouncy patterned shirt. But while Frusciante is affable, he seems preoccupied. Whenever he’s not strictly needed for an interview, he’s off in some corner speaking quietly but urgently into a telephone:
“And when it goes to the second chorus I really think that high harmony line should come up a little…”
The Chili Peppers are still finalizing the mixdown of their new album, By The Way, with longtime producer Rick Rubin (presumably the person on the other end of the phone line). “It feels strange doing interviews when the record isn’t even finished,” Frusciante confides before darting off to buttonhole Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis.
“Hey you know how that vocal counter melody enters after the bridge…”
Frusciante has played on three prior Red Hot Chili Peppers albums, including 1999’s Californication, the quadruple-Platinum disc that earned the band a Grammy and elevated it to a new plateau of credibility as a mature and enduring fixture in the rock firmament. But on By The Way, the guitarist comes into his own as a significant creative force, masterfully stacking layers of guitars, keyboards and heady vocal harmonies onto what are the most well-crafted songs ever to come out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. There has never been a Red Hot Chili Peppers album quite so broad in scope; and there has never been one made with this much input from Frusciante. He even collaborated with Rubin and arranger Marc Mann to write some of the record’s lush string arrangements.
“John really inspired us to take it to the next level on this album,” says the band’s drummer, Chad Smith. “On Californication he had just joined us, and he started writing music right away. But we hadn’t really had time to reconnect, personally and musically, through touring, traveling together and spending time back at home. The chemistry of our band is so important. And now John is a really key, integral part of this new music that we have.”
“I wanted this album to have more dimension, more different sounds and more movements in the chord progressions,” says Frusciante. “But I also wanted it to be more fun.”
A slight hesitancy and slurring of speech is the only readily apparent vestige of the guitarist’s intense bout with heroin addiction during the Nineties. He spent six years out of the band, from 1992 to ’98, an extended lost weekend during which he managed to burn down his own house in the Hollywood hills, among other feats of wild dysfunctionality. Frusciante alarmed many with blithe declarations that he’d been spending lots of time in the company of ghosts, spirits and astral bodies, some of which he considered closer personal friends than anybody alive. But now the guitarist is healthy and back in the realm of the living.
“When you compare where John was in his life to where he is now, it’s unbelievable,” says Smith. “He was really in a rough spot. It’s a miracle that he’s alive, let alone the creative, wonderful person that he is now.”
If there’s any truth in the old commonplace that suffering is good for one’s art, then Frusciante’s journey through oblivion may have even enhanced his creativity. In this respect, the guitarist is similar to Brian Wilson, the drug-damaged yet brilliant former leader of the Beach Boys. The comparison is especially apt since By The Way is drenched in sunny Southern California good vibes. It is the Chili Peppers’ Pet Sounds. Frusciante admits that surf music and Sixties pop vocals were two of his biggest influences during the writing and recording of the album.
“Me and Rick Rubin would get together every day, and he’s got these CDs of AM radio hits from the Sixties. And they’d have stuff by the Mamas and Papas and songs like ‘Cherish’ by the Association and ‘Georgy Girl’ [by the Seekers]. Those songs are all about harmonies. I’ve been practicing harmonizing a lot in the past year and a half. My friend Josh and I would sit around and sing Beatles songs or that Velvet Underground song ‘Jesus’ which has a harmony in it. Anything we could think of that had harmony.”
It’s difficult to imagine a member of the Chili Peppers-one time poster boys for shirtless, jarhead-jock, SoCal muscle culture-harmonizing on such quintessentially geeky pop fare as “Georgy Girl.” But the quest for the perfect rock album leads down many a strange pathway. “I always felt we had a real femininity to our music,” says Flea, the Chili Peppers’ diminutive, gap toothed bassist. “But I guess it’s not heard so much when something is really loud, distorted and jammy. To me the biggest difference on By The Way-apart from the fact that it’s more layered than any of our records-is that it’s less jammy. There are more songs and less solos and jamming out. There’s definitely improvisation going on within the structure of the song. But the structure is much more, um, structured.”
Indeed, never has a Red Hot Chili Peppers album been less about funky groovin’ on the tonic. While Flea and Chad Smith definitely keep the rhythm beating, full-blown chord progressions are the order of the day. This, too, must be put down to Frusciante’s influence.
“I was thinking of writing chords that are dense-that have more to them than just root, third and fifth. These chords have 9ths and 11ths and 13ths. I tried to make the guitar pretty impossible to figure out correctly. I learned a lot throughout the making of this album from studying[modern jazz bassist and composer] Charles Mingus and learning his chord progressions. I studied a lot of music books, and learned about the way different people, like the Beatles and Burt Bacharach, construct chord progressions-just things that I would never have been able to figure out by ear. It started changing the way that I play guitar. Johnny Marr[the Smiths, Electronic] was also a big inspiration in getting me to think about the guitar differently.”
Absorption in chord progressions led Frusciante far away from rock guitar histrionics. “People like Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix have pretty much been my gods the whole time I was playing. I also like Eddie Van Halen’s early guitar playing. But I don’t feel like guitar playing went any further after that-not in that technical or flashy direction. And I don’t feel like guitar players have started coming at it from a new angle. So I began drawing inspiration from synthesizer players-programmed music, starting with Kraftwerk. It’s another way of approaching melodies that guitar players don’t really do. For the whole time we were touring for Californication, I was practicing guitar by playing along with electronic music.”
While much of the new record was written by the group, as always, Frusciante worked closely with Kiedis in developing a few of the songs. “John and I got together in his room at the Chateau Marmont[West Hollywood’s vintage chic, rock star hotel], where he was living at the time,” says Kiedis, and we worked on some more obscure pieces together. Like the song ‘Cabron,’ which sounded almost like he’d written it to be a flamenco guitar instrumental. I just loved it because there was energy in there like crazy. I took home a rough copy of it from a low-tech tape recorder and started thinking of vocal lines to go with this music. John and I are both very much in love with doo-wop-vocal music from the Fifties. I was feeling that kind of energy, but with a Mexican flavor, ’cause the soul of Los Angeles is largely fueled by our Mexican population here. So I started singing kind of a doo-wop melody to this really wild acoustic guitar instrumental. I brought that into the band, and it took Chad and Flea awhile to find their places in it-because it was so different and weird for us, coming from left field.
Frusciante feels that Kiedis has “come a long way” as a songwriter in the time since Californication was recorded. All the vocal melodies on this new album are Anthony’s own. Sometimes they were suggested by the guitar, or whatever. But in the past there was more interaction between me and him as far as changing the vocal melodies around. And on this album I didn’t really do that. I would more think about what I was going to do with the harmonies.”
While By The Way is John Frusciante’s finest hour to date, the enduring core of the Red Hot Chili Peppers revolves around the yin-yang relationship between Kiedis and Flea. The two met in junior high school and attended Hollywood’s Fairfax High together. Flea was just Michael Balzary back then.
“Anthony was a huge influence on me,” he recalls. “When we were in high school, I remember going out to the movies or something, and I had this outfit I thought was really suave and cool-these brown corduroy pants and top. And I said to Anthony, ‘Hey, like my new shirt?’ And he said, ‘That’s okay. But anybody could wear that. The thing is to wear something that no one else would wear and be totally different.’ I started wearing all these oddball clothes. And that totally affected the way I looked at music. I just wanted to play music like no one else would play it.”
“I definitely came into school with a ‘fuck the masses’ approach,” says Kiedis. “While everyone was wearing O.P. gear and listening to Led zeppelin, it was just too common and popular for me. So I went completely against it. I dressed awkwardly and listened to David Bowie, Benny Goodman, Blondie and all this weird stuff that my dad was turning me onto-just intentionally not to be part of the masses. And later, I realized I missed out on a lot of good music by being so pigheaded about it. Because when I was about 20 I finally discovered Led zeppelin and I haven’t stopped listening to them since.”
Kiedis and Flea funneled their defiant, youthful energy into the first incarnation of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, with guitarist Hillel Slovak and drummer Jack Irons. They burst upon the L.A. rock scene in the early Eighties – four butt-naked crazies with just one tube sock each to cover their male appendages, which they of course boasted were way larger than average. The Peppers came out of the box playing a wild hybrid of funk, punk and metal-a combination that hadn’t been heard before. They quickly became the number-one party band in the world’s number-one party city. Kiedis and Flea were the chief freaks.
“Hillel and Jack were a little more reserved,” Kiedis recalls. They were equally as powerful at conveying their ideas and energy. But Flea and I always drove each other in a competitive way – who could be just a little crazier, just a little more amped. It was competitive, but it was healthy at the same time.”
According to the singer, that spirit of friendly rivalry between Flea and himself is still part of the Chili Peppers’ dynamic. “We’re a little more subtle, and less egotistical, about it. But it never dies, that sort of thing that brothers have. There’s always, you know, ‘I’ll kick your ass.’ ‘No, I’ll kick your ass!’ But at least now we recognize it and can laugh about it. Back then, we tried to masquerade it and pretend like it’s not there.”
With their unique fusion of funk with hard rock and their shirtless macho posturing, the Chili Peppers laid the groundwork for today’s nu-metal and rap metal bands. They are arguably the godfathers of those genres.
“We were definitely part of that first wave,” says Kiedis, “but we can’t take all the credit, because we were inspired by people who were onto that in a different way, like Parliament/Funkadelic, Sly and The Family Stone, Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys.”
“I think you can definitely make a case for us being a big part of what became nu-metal or rap metal,” Flea adds. “But other bands were influential in that way, like the Gang Of Four, Defunkt, Grandmaster Flash. There were the Big Boys, Konk, and the Braniacs. A lot of rock bands were drawing from funk and rap, but a lot of it was done in a very arty kind of way. So when I meet those bands today that are along that rap metal vein-nu-metal or whatever you want to call it-they often say they enjoyed us when they were beginning.”
“Some of them come up and make mention,” Kiedis acknowledges. “But I’d rather not have any kind of throne and just be vibrant today, rather than being remembered for something that happened 20 years ago.”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers almost didn’t make it out of the Eighties. One of them, in fact didn’t. In 1988, not long after the release of the band’s third album, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, Hillel Slovak was found dead of a heroin overdose in his Hollywood apartment. Jack Irons decided to leave the group shortly after the guitarist’s death. Vowing to press on, Flea and Kiedis recruited Chad Smith and John Frusciante. A bit younger than the others, Frusciante had been a huge Chili Peppers fan. He suddenly found himself playing guitar in the band he’d so often gone to see at L.A. clubs. In 1989, the new lineup released Mother’s Milk, an album Frusciante now says he detests.
“That was our main ‘macho’ album,” he says. “I don’t really get into that emotion. I remember when I joined the band I had a very limited idea of what they were trying to do, and I just tried to fit in with that. But in time I started learning more about what kind of music they liked or what kind of ideas they were open to. Some of it was stuff I wouldn’t have expected them to be into. Like when I first saw Flea wearing a Talking Heads T-Shirt, I said, ‘Cool, he’s into that too.’ And I started to realize we could do something with a much broader scope than what they had been doing.”
The new lineup really connected on 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik. It marked the beginning of their ongoing relationship with producer Rick Rubin, who’d made his name in hip-hop and metal both as a producer and as co-founder of Def American Records, and would go on to distinguish himself with productions in a wide range of musical styles.
“To me, Blood Sugar is the first time that we got down on tape what we really do,” says Flea. “We’d never done that before. In the past, we’d always been intimidated by the studio. It would be a tense and alien environment. But that album was more about creating a vibe for us to jam and do our thing in.”
In addition to being their first album for Warner Bros., Blood Sugar Sex Magik was also the Chili Peppers’ first big multi-Platinum success, a disc that catapulted them to a new level of fame and acceptance. But the group’s road has never been a smooth one, particularly where guitarists are concerned. In May 1992, just as the album was hitting it’s peak in the U.S., Frusciante quit the band, citing an inability to deal with the pressures of touring.
It was the start of a long period of intense psychic struggle for the guitarist, who had already become heavily involved in drugs. For a while he stopped playing guitar entirely. He began to paint and to delve deeply into the world of the supernatural. His fascination with paranormal experiences had begun during the making of Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
“When I was playing guitar, I would play a game with myself. I would say, ‘I’m going to leave my body now. I’m going to be holding the guitar and recording what I’m playing, but I’m not going to be here.’ In time I just started having this natural belief in these spiritual forces that were possessing my body. I’d always had voices in my head as a kid, but now I started getting a really excessive amount of voices in my head. They were having conversations with me. Telling me about the future. They’d say something was going to happen in two minutes. And whatever it was they said would really happen. They would do these things to show me that they were in tune with the future and could see the future. Because the future has already happened many times. They don’t live in a dimension that has time, but they sort of feed off the energies of people who do live dimensions that have time.
“By the time I quit the band, I pretty much was devoting myself to nothing but magical progress. I made it my life’s purpose to achieve a more full kind of contact with these beings. And I did. I got to the point five years later where I could sit in a room with a ghost or an astral body for a half hour at a time, which takes a tremendous amount of concentration. I would do that everyday, for at least a half hour.
When Frusciante relates these experiences, it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether he’s speaking literally or metaphorically. Are the spirits forces within his psyche? Did he come so close to killing himself with dope that he gained access to a realm beyond this mortal life?
“I think John’s just more comfortable with the spirit world than most people,” says Kiedis. “He doesn’t question it so much. Somewhere along the way he realized that that exists, and he’s okay with it. He’s not a Doubting Thomas; he’s not that cynical. He’s got a very childlike quality. Although he has a very adultlike, scientific intelligence, his spirit is very sensitive and childlike. Which is a really good combination. I think we’re all equally as connected to that spirit realm. We’re just not as aware of that connection as John is. Maybe the way he describes it is a little challenging for some people. I think he kind of enjoys the fact that his way of verbalizing that connection is gonna throw some people off.”
“I think John is a very sane person,” says Flea. “And I think John’s connection to the spirit world is a very beautiful thing. It’s clear to me that spirits are everywhere all around us. They’re part of all our lives. For him to speak about it is important to him-a sign of John being aware of himself and what’s around him.”
Of all the Chili Peppers, it was Flea who remained on the closest terms with Frusciante during the six years he spent out of the band. Although the guitarist admits he “wasn’t thinking very clearly” for much of that time, “in my mind I didn’t think Flea and I were ever going to stop playing together,” he says. “He’d come over and jam from time to time. But when I became a drug addict, that just separated us. We still continued being friends. But two people can’t have any kind of consistent relationship when one of them is a junkie. We did drugs together once in a while, but he never was a drug addict. There’s a difference between someone who get’s high once every couple of months and someone who makes that their life. For me, it was my life. And for Flea it was a recreational thing. At a certain point he stopped doing it even recreationally. He got into a more spiritual kind of path. Me, I just went as close to the edge as I possibly could.”
Eventually, Frusciante found his own way out of drug addiction, a struggle he describes as a battle between good and bad spirits. “A lot of fighting had to be done to get where I am now. But I think me and the spirits that are on my side really won over.” The guitarist’s move back into the light is beautifully documented on his 2001 solo album, To Record Only Water For Ten Days, a focused, song-oriented set that in many ways set the stage for By The Way.
Today Frusciante is drug-free and healthy. He’s an avid practitioner of Ashtanga, a particularly strenuous style of yoga. “I’ve always been a person who’s had a lot of problems with the stress of the world,” he says. “Like I’m susceptible to motion tension. When I get in a car or airplane, it makes me tense. But since I started doing yoga, where you’re building muscle as well as relaxing yourself, I haven’t had such a problem with motion tension. I don’t do the actual meditation part of yoga. But I think that when I play guitar I’m probably employing a lot of the rudiments of meditation, because I’m completely focused on something that’s kind of abstract. I feel like there’s a stillness inside my mind, which is what you’re going after when you do something like meditation. So even though I don’t really go to yoga for that spiritual angle, it probably is helping me to be able to do that better.”
These days, Frusciante says, “most of my supernatural experiences are in the past. It’s a world I don’t really delve into that much anymore. But I believe that there are things we don’t see with our eyes that are making every moment what it is. And every person is made up of a bunch of people. And everybody who’s alive is everybody who died. I just think it’s all one big energy working together. I see the world as being very balanced-completely, perfectly balanced.”
Unlike his friend, Flea does meditate on a regular basis. “But for me meditation and yoga are more like a science than a religious path,” he says. “Most religions to me are like an exclusive country club. I’m not into that. I’ve read a lot of Buddhist books and stuff, but I’ve never been a Buddhist. I just like the idea of the Buddha. The same way I like the idea of Jesus. I like the idea of someone who is completely giving in their every breath. I just try to live my life like that every day. Try.”
While Flea maintained a compassionate friendship with Frusciante during his time out of the band, the Chili Peppers soldiered on with a succession of guitarists: Jesse Tobias, Arik Marshall and former Jane’s Addiction axman Dave Navarro, with whom they cut 1995’s One Hot Minute. But shortly thereafter, it was mutually decided that Navarro would part company with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“It just wasn’t working with Dave,” says Flea. “It was evident to all of us. So there were no hard feelings.”
Chad Smith recalls a conversation he had with Navarro shortly before the guitarist left the group. ” Dave said to me, ‘The Only guy you should get back is John. He’s the guy for your band.”
It was Flea who spearheaded Frusciante’s reentry into the group, shortly after the guitarist got out of a rehab hospital in early ’98. Flea took a big chance, but the bassist had great faith in his friend. “I always knew that I wanted to play with John,” he says, “and that I shared a very intimate musical relationship with him.”
When Flea popped the question, Frusciante didn’t hesitate. “I knew right away that I wanted to rejoin the band. Although at the time, I wasn’t sure about Anthony.”
Kiedis had felt betrayed by Frusciante’s departure from the band, and had severed all relations with the guitarist. “We both had grudges against one another for a few years,” says Frusciante. “We wouldn’t talk to each other.”
But by 1998 when Frusciante was asked to rejoin the Chili Peppers, a lot had changed. Kiedis had come through his own hard fight with heroin addiction. Both men had had time to cool down and get over their anger. Says Frusciante: “Once Anthony and I actually saw one another again, and we each saw how much the other had changed, we were completely loving each other again.”
Frusciante’s bond with the band was recemented during the making of the Grammy winning Californication. The success of that album clinched a major shift in the public’s perception of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Where they’d once been regarded as lovable, laughable, punk funk cutups, they had now become something like a classic rock band.
“I think the seeds of that shift were sown with Blood Sugar,” says Flea. “And by the time Californication came out, we’d strung together some good records. It became obvious that the early records we’d made had influenced a lot of bands that came up. So I guess people’s perception of us was no longer as these lunatics with socks on their dicks but as guys who were really taking care with writing music and playing the best they could.
“With bands that have been around for 20 or 25 years, you get a kind of musical telepathy,” says Smith. “You can’t manufacture that. It can only happen from just doing it-being connected and wanting to be connected. That’s why I love going to see a band like Cheap Trick or Aerosmith-they’re just regular rock bands, where it’s been the same guys in the band all along. Muscians who have been playing together for 20 years or more have definitely got their own thing.”
The Chili Peppers were in top form when they entered the venerable Cello Studios on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood to begin work on the album that would become By The Way. Frusciante had a clear vision of how the guitars should sound-layers and layers of principally clean tones.
“I used reverb on a lot of this album, which I’ve never really done before,” he says. “That’s one of the main differences in the guitar sound. I was really influenced by all the surf music I’ve been listening to. I had an old Fender spring reverb. Toward the end of the project, for a couple of overdubs, I started using the Holy Grail [digital reverb] pedal by Electro-Harmonix.”
The guitarist mainly relied on a ’62 Fender Stratocaster with a rosewood neck for the album sessions. Clean tones were important, Frusciante explains, “because I was playing a lot bigger, denser chords than just your standard triads or whatever, and I wanted all those intervals to come through clearly. I’m not really into distortion except for solos, feedback and stuff. There were a couple of times when I used a [Gibson] SG straight into a Marshall, which is the best kind of distortion. My favorite guitarist is Bernard Sumner of Joy Division [later with New order and Electronica-GW ED.], and that’s what he uses.”
On By The Way, Frusciante made use of a 200-watt Marshall Major and 100-watt Marshall Super Bass. He generally runs one of these in a stereo configuration with some other guitar amp, typically a blackface Fender Showman driving a Marshall cab. For acoustic parts, he relied on several Taylors. “I don’t even own one,” he adds. “We just rented them. They sounded good for recording. On the song ‘Cabron,’ the acoustic guitar is capoed. I really love having the capo. I’ve been learning a lot of Johnny Marr things recently, and it seems he always used a capo. There’s also a lot of capoed acoustic guitar on the Jethro Tull album Aqualung, which I was listening to before I wrote ‘Cabron.'”
A DigiTech digital delay figures on the song “Don’t Forget Me.” “I’m playing [double picked] 16th notes,” Frusciante explains, “but the echo is set to where it’s doing triplets. That whole song, by the way, is played on only the high E and B strings.” A large German made modular synthesizer is one of Frusciante’s prize toys these days. It was used to process some of the guitar tracks on “Throw Away Your Television” and “Don’t Forget Me.”
As for Flea, he played his tried-and-true rig for the sessions: a Modulus bass with a Galien Krueger head and a Mesa/Boogie cabinet. Although for the song “Cabron” he used a Hofner bass with a capo on it. “John suggested the capo,” says the bassist. “That song was a little frustrating for me; it took me awhile to find the right bass line. Basically I had a bass line that I love, but everyone else didn’t like it. Then John said, ‘Use a capo, it’ll make it sound completely different.’ When I finally got that capo on that bass, it sounded right.”
Lyrically, Kiedis describes most of the tunes on By The Way as love songs. “In very obscure, less than obvious ways, I feel a lot of it is about either being in love or the desire to be in love. It’s definitely what I’ve been feeling for the last year. A profound sense of wanting love in my daily experience.”
The song “Don’t Forget Me” deals with a kind of universal, mystical love that Kiedis says sustained him through the darkest hours of his drug addiction. “It’s about that spirit of universal love and the spirit of God. Whatever that might be to you. I don’t mean it in a religious sense at all. Let’s just call it an energy, or beauty. That energy is everywhere. It doesn’t turn it’s back on people because they’re fuckups, losers and dope fiends. For me, that beauty has always been there, even when I was dying. It’s infinite. It’s in the jail cells. It’s in the ocean. It’s in all of us. It’s there when you’re born and it’s there waiting for you when you die.”
The album’s title track is more a love song to Kiedis’ home city. “‘By The Way,'” says the singer, is about “the color of any given night in The Los Angeles basin. What’s going on in the streets-from a crime in a parking garage to a sexy little girl named Annie singing songs to some guy who she’s got a crush on. It’s an atmospheric lyric-just painting a picture rather than a whole plot. The feeling that inspired the chorus melody is one of waiting, hoping and wanting to make a connection with another person. A romantic connection. Just that feeling of, ‘Is this gonna be the night?'”
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ image has always been intricately bound up with the City of Angels. “I love being associated with L.A. because it is such a paradox of a land,” says Kiedis. “And I believe in paradox as being a kind of higher truth. L.A. is the most ridiculous place in the world, but it’s also the greatest place in the world.”
And the Chili Peppers embody this paradox perhaps better than any other band. Their muscleman image reflects the city’s obsession with the beauty of the physical body-pumped up pecs and bulging biceps glistening in the smoggy golden sunlight. But the Peppers are also deeply enmeshed in the other side of L.A. culture, it’s obssession with the spiritual. There are probably more gurus, ashrams, yoga studios, fortunetellers and New Age shops per square mile in Los Angeles than in any other American city. And the Red Hot Chili Peppers -with their frequent disquisitions on brotherly love, Frusciante’s vivid supernatural encounters and Flea’s interest in meditation and Buddhism- are prime exponents of L.A. spirituality. Non Angelinos may scoff at the city’s equal reverence for Barbie and the Buddha. But the Chili Peppers, they understand.
“There is something that is very important about the physical existence,” says Kiedis. “The pagan connection to the earth-the celebration of being in this body and all we can do with it. But at the same time, we are physical beings having a spiritual experience. And the combo platter of those two is very much the makeup of what the Chili Peppers do. With any kind of funk music, there is a visceral, guttural celebration going on, where you just wanna hump and dance and jump. But there’s also a sense of the spirit that inspires all that.”