Virgin radio interview transcript, 2004

18th February 2004, Virgin Radio (UK)
I lost the credits. If you were the one who did this, please email me, so I can credit you.

John Frusciante: I really give a lot of love and attention to the audience when I’m playing, I’m certainly not like…

Ben: Oh no no, you’re not ignoring them.

John Frusciante: No.

Ben: Or, but you seem to be immersed in the music.

John Frusciante: Yeah.

Ben: And obviously the vibe that the crowd have given off.

John Frusciante: That’s ’cause I love music, you know, I think probably a big difference between people like Flea and Anthony and me is that they’re, you know, they’re born to be entertainers and you know I’m not, I’m born to be a musician, if you ask me a question I’ll give you a sincere answer back of how I really feel, they’re more likely to give you a joke or an exclamation.

Ben: They’re quite good at, excellent at giving you sound bites which you could use, d’ya know what I mean, wheras I’m chatting to you and you’re just gonna say it as it is, if you don’t like the question say “shut-up” and move on.

[By The Way is played.] [Can’t Stop is played.]

Ben: As you, well, know we caught up with one quarter of the Red Hot Chili Peppers this week, he came in live I think on Wednesday night on Virgin superstars. We had about 20 minutes with him, he’s a very deep, very complex very troubled character I think, thoroughly charming man though, quite quiet, then when Jess(??) came off the air at 10 o’clock we went into the studio and we recorded some other bits and pieces which I don’t think you’ve heard yet so we thought we’d give you the chance to have a listen to John Frusciante, and also have a listen to some of the songs from his new album Shadows Collide With People. Like I say, the guy is very complex and the interview got quite personal, have a listen to this.

Ben: I hope that you are happier now than you’ve ever been before, I mean you’ve had many ups and downs both personally and in your career, are you content with the person you are and the musician you are at the moment, John?

John Frusciante: No, I’m not content, I’ll never be content, for me it’s important to always change, I don’t the idea of being comfortable with where I’m at, if I was comfortable with where I was at whatever would be the next move I made would have to be inferior.

Ben: My brother and I were talking about your music other the weekend and he is a massive John fan and he said that John’s work is simply, and I’m going to read this from what he wrote down, “John’s work is simply poetry to melody, the songs are so beautiful that they must have been written well in advance of any melody”. Is that- is he right, is my brother right, when he listens to your music, is that how you write and record your songs?

John Frusciante: Hmm. There have been ones recorded like that, um, but that’s not the way I write, definitely not for this album, the music and the words and the melody, it all comes to me at once. If I get the idea for a song, if I don’t have a song a couple of hours later it never gets written.

Ben: You move on.

John Frusciante: Yeah.

Ben: What is the song writing process for the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Do you write the songs, is it a (quarter??) job, what’s the deal?

John Frusciante: Um, everybody just writes their part, I don’t write any of the lyrics, sometimes I write melodies, but definitely on the last album Anthony wrote pretty much all those melodies himself aside from the ones that had something to do with the guitar part. We write the music and then he writes the vocals, basically that’s how it works.

Ben: What’s the chance of hearing you take lead vocals on one of the new songs from the new album?

John Frusciante: That’s something that we sort of, we talked about right when I joined the band this last time because I was writing a lot of songs around that time, and I had written a song called Live Above Hell that Anthony thought we should do in the Chili Peppers but I thought about it and while I was highly complimented I felt like I’d rather just have a Chili Peppers record, be, lyrics be from Anthony’s mind and John Frusciante’s solo record be from John’s mind and not really mix the two things up, ’cause I felt they were coming from such different places.

Ben: Now on the new album, Shadows Collide With People, you actually team up with Chad and Flea, they make appearances of the new CD, I assume they’re very much into your solo work as well I take it?

John Frusciante: They’re real supportive of it.

Ben: And you’ve done some very small venues, you’ve played some very small gigs in and around LA, did they come along, and who else supported you? I mean what was the deal because a lot of people have emailed this show saying you know. “Are we gonna see John do any solo dates over here on the back of this album?”… the answer is no for the time being.

John Frusciante: Yeah, at some point I could see myself, you know, after some more albums are out I could see myself putting together a band and doing a show, but right now I’m just trying to do as many new things, new projects as I can and Josh Klinghoffer, my friend who I made this record with, and myself have been doing experimental shows in LA, we’ll be doing a few of them in March.

Ben: And the next time we’ll see you in London is with the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing these dates in Hyde Park, in fact two more were added earlier on this week, one at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, you’ve ever been to Wales, it’s a fantastic venue, and the fans can seriously be lapping up that music, and two more shows here in London. What’s the sound of the new Red Hot Chili Peppers, the follow up to By The Way, can you give us kind of any clues to what we can expect because every album has progressed a little bit from the last one, Californication was different to By The Way and so on and so on, what’s the idea, we got a title, got a theme yet?

John Frusciante: No, um.

Ben: Is it rapped, is it done?

John Frusciante: Oh no, it’s, I guess it’s about halfway done. Flea had a lot of ideas on this new record, as far as like other instruments like he had like you know a clarinet and a flute come in or um or a saxophone, trumpet or…

Ben: He likes his trumpet.

John Frusciante: Yeah he’s been practising trumpet a lot, I’m sure there’s gonna be a fair amount of that on the next record…

Ben: (interrupts) Well I remember we had…

John Frusciante: (interrupts) He’s always trying to weasel in on my guitar solos…

Ben: (interrupts) We had a little trumpet solo I remember during the middle of the V festival, I remember I was out the back…trumpet noise! It was superb! It’s been a pleasure to have you on this show I mean so many people have been saying to me in the build up to you coming on that you know the Chilli Peppers been making music for the last 20 years, you joined as a 19 year old fan they making now…

John Frusciante: (interrupts) 18.

Ben: 18, you’re making the best music of your career with your solo albums and it would appear that the Red Hot Chilli Peppers are making the best music of their 20 year career as well so you know it’s been pleasure to speak to you Shadows Collide With People is out, we’re gonna play a song from that album pretty soon and any ideas, are we gonna get this Chilli Peppers album later 2004 maybe, yeah?

John Frusciante: Err.. yeah I hope so, that seems about right.

[Song To Sing When I’m Lonely is played.]
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