A transcript of John being interviewed on Radio Two, UK. The date is 23rd February 2004. Many thanks to Tracey for this!
If anyone would like to correct the spelling and grammar, that would be nice.
Z: somewhere I realised this is in fact your fourth-solo record
J:hmm well niandra lades and usually just a tshirt which was my first record was only intended to be music for me to sit on my couch smoking pot listening to it wasn’t ment to be realised but at a certain point I stopped playing music and I thought that was maybe going to be the last music I ever made so I just decided I may as well release it cos I thought it was and still think it is really great guitar playing and stuff and the second album smile from the streets you hold was pretty much just left over things from that period of time with a few additional things that were some of the few musical things that I did in the five years I was a drug addict all of which I think would have been fine to have never been released which is why I made that album go out of print. To record only water for ten days was something I did at home it was the beginning of me learning about how to do things with electronic sound. Shadows collide with people is the first time ive done a record where ive recorded it in a real recording studio I feel like my song writing style has started to become more cohesive and as of the time when I finished that record which was a year ago I feel like ive been on a good path ever since then because I actually took and something to its ultimate state of completion and made it the best it could be and I had an idea in my head for a record and I made exactly the record I imagined.
*plays song to when im lonely*
Z: lyrically there’s quite abit of depth in there and self analysis I dont know, I cant speak for how you were trying to write your lyrics but when I listen to it there’s quite a lot of on first person coming through but the music its self seems to be very sharing like there seems to be a lot of lift and a lot of warmth like with the rhythm and the acoustic guitars was that all part of the same idea to keep the music quite optimistic?
J: Yeah well I write a lot of different types of songs and I write a lot of very sad songs and I sort of group together a group of up lifting songs and that’s for the most part what this album is made up of.
Z: can you just try and give your fans a little more insight into your relationship with the songs and at what point your meet them and sort of realise your music.
J: I just sit there and write the songs one line at a time y’know it’s a matter of just having the pace of everything right y’know you just take it section by section and you just work at it slowly and evenly y’know my writing songs is something that just it happens at a certain moments its not something that I would ever really decide to do or do on command or anything like that it’s something that I do as a natural by product of listening to music.
Z: One of my favourite tracks on the album is called ‘this cold’ what can you tell us about this song y’know where was it written and is there any story about it that you want to share?
J: I think it was probably it was probably written when I was starting to have a pretty…no, never mind I don’t want ….. I cant answer that question
Z: ok well lets listen to it
Z: that’s alright
J: I like my bass playing in it a lot
Z: here you go that’s what were looking for ‘this cold’ from ‘shadows collide with people’.
J: its something about Josh and me that um is were both guitar players but um as we were making this record we realised its not a very guitar orientated record right the day before we went in to start recording we were like ah there’s really not much guitar playing on this record y’know like um.
Z: life it seems is not without a sense of irony.
J: but when.. cos he’s a totally explosive guitar player but there was no place for that on the record but when it comes to playing bass were both really flashy y’know when it cmes to guitar we both y’know end up understating everything but when it comes to playing bass were always doing all these like little fancy fills.
Z: Is that you that has the fills high up the frequence?
J: yeah im playing the bass on this whole..
Z: yeah well you should…you have a right to be proud man that’s nice fills, here we go this cold
*plays this cold*
Z: john frusciante is our guest tonight on radio one back with his forth solo album well its not really a solo album is I mean its got your name on it but you bring in some friends don’t you to help out and create it
J: yeah well it’s a solo album in that I wrote all the songs and that I do all the lead vocals and that I…
Z: that constitutes a solo record
Z: all right then its called shadows collide with people and I want to start this point of the interview with a question from a guy called Dan Green who’s a member of Frusciante forum he’s a massive fan of your music from roots to fruit all you records and he’s got like a simple good general question, what bands, artists or albums are you listening to at the moment I know you had your Ipod on before so what are you listening to right now?
J: for the last few months its been sort of a combination between Van Der Graaf Generator the Talking Heads albums that Brian Meno (spg?) produced, Velvet Underground, Nico’s solo records that John Kale produced. At the time that we were making this record Josh and I were listening to Steel iced band (spg??)and Fairport convention.
Z: can you hear that in the record?
J: as far as the folk stuff I don’t know if that really influenced its cos the songs had already been written before we were into the folk stuff so (zane tries to interrupt) there’s a lot of folk influence stuff on the music that we’ve made since this album and also a lot of folk influence stuff on the new chilli peppers record. But I would say at the time we were making shadows collide with people it was just what was making us feel good to listen to.
Z: The albums called shadows collide with people and apart from its release and subsequent reviews which have all been warm
Z: and this interview, and a few others, which were all very pleased to have you here talk about this there’s no other tradition promotion going on for it there’s no single no video that im aware of,
J: no theres
Z: (interrupting) you haven’t got any touring in the diary or anything like that
Z:(interrupting) the simple question I guess is why?
J: I just spend a year and a half promoting the chili peppers record y’know ive got three more months off from the chili peppers if I wanted to I could put a band together and start repeating all the songs that id already put out on this records and I could y’know make a video and I could do all of those things but to me none of any of that is really creative all of that is just sort of repeating myself and to me id rather use my time more wisely by recording as much music as I can so I have more music to release.
Z: the only downside to that from what I can gather having spoken to a few people since you’ve been in town is that there are fans of your solo records that aren’t necessarily big fans of what you do with red hot chili peppers to them they’d like to see these songs live and breath and I know that necessarily not enough reason but for them its kind of a cock tease in a weird way
J: yeah but I think in the long run they’d rather have more records then they would just have one show because ive chosen to spend the time the way I have there’s going to be a lot more music coming out by me then one would expect and if I spent the time touring all anybody would get was ninety minutes of music and then that would be it. For the people who enjoy hearing me just play acoustic guitar and singing I’m making available on the website recordings of me singing and playing all the songs from the record just on acoustic guitar and vocals.
Z: that’s a lovely idea
J: yeah and so people will be able to hear that and download it if they wish. Were also making available all our demo’s that we made for all these songs that we recorded on eight track cassette
Z: its kind of a complete process isn’t it
J: a couple of years from now maybe after the next chili peppers record and after there’s some more albums by me out y’know I like the idea of putting together a band and there’s still lots of time to do tours proper y’know
Z: and have you ever been happier then at this stage in your life at thirty-three y’know given the two sides of the coin that you have spent it at one particular time?
J: no, no ive never been happier then I am now and ive never felt more comfortable being me than I am now so, its good.
Z: were looking forward to getting you back this summer with your friends,
J: yeah im looking forward to it, its going to be fun
Z: cos we do like the music you make with them as well and obviously we’ve got this record which is called shadows collide with people but ah can I just ask are we to expect some sort of album from the chili’s this year is that going to happen do you think?
J: yeah, yeah, it seems like we should have an album out at either the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
Z: Brilliant listen thanks for your time John its been great to talk to you again
J: it was nice talking to you
Z: great good luck
* plays regret*