MusicRadar interview 2008/2009

Joe Bosso: In the time we have remaining, we have so many reader questions, so we’ll try to get to as many as we can. A reader named “johnfranco888” wants to know: Chad from Chili Peppers, is doing his group, Chickenfoot. Would you ever consider doing a counter-court supergroup of this nature?

John Frusciante: Nooo…I like making music by myself. I-I want to I play oo…If I play…and personally, I have never heard the Chickenfoot. I-I-didn’t know Chad was doing that, I don’t know who that is and why he’s doing that. I don’t know. I’m not comp…I’m not comparing myself to him, I’m just saying that for me like I, if I played with ? at hundred percent because of the musical relationship and I have no interest in sort of ah…ah, yeah, I don’t want something comparing myself to him, as I don’t know what he’s doing. It’s just I want aaa…I won’t play with people because they’re, like, also stars and we go up on stage and be stars together or something , you know or just…just that’s not me, you know, and I, and I find I usually don’t relate to people who think that way because of…it’s less about music and it’s more about who they are or something and I’m really like…I just don’t think…I think-I think in general the personality has been overemphasised in music, has been underemphasised…it’s definitely my intent to do everything I can for the rest of my life to, to think of music as a living being and to think what I can do for music and not to think what music can do for me, you know? And I hope that, in my own small way, I can spread that philosophy around a little bit, because I really think there is, I really think too much emphasis has been placed on a star and I think music is very complete without all the crap that comes along, like I was just saying ? go on and on and stuff…photos and videos and all that stuff. I just…I just think music is sufficient to itself, for nothing could be more complete and all those things are just invented to sell by business people, you know, and I just don’t think that music needs it, you know? And I think, in a lot of ways, people experiment less when they have their fame to protect, their income to protect, their way of life to protect, you know…

Joe Bosso: Yeah.

John Frusciante: …and so much emphasis ends up and I-I feel like they do less experimentation with music when they think that way and I know…I know I did…I’m one hundred percent just about thinking in terms of what can be done, what new approaches can be made and be taken to making music and where are some possibilities that people haven’t explored yet, humm. Not like WHAT CAN I DO TO KNOCK PEOPLE’S SOCKS OFF! And you know what I mean, like, this is where I’m at, you know. And I mean, it’s like, you know, I love Blind Face (?), there are definitely supergroups that I think are awesome, you know. But, at this point in time, I think it’s just…I think it’s just necessary to really emphasise where the possibilites are in music and not anything about like THIS BAND WILL BE HUGE. (John giggles.)

Joe Bosso: Aaah…a reader named “telefaster” wants to know: When you pick up the guitar, do you ever have the times when nothing seems to be coming out right? If so, what do you do?

John Frusciante: That doesn’t really happen to me ’cause I kinda care more about studying music and exploring posibilities than I do about doing anything right. If there’s no idea there when I pick up a guitar, I’m just going to be learning stuff off records or studying a chord book or, or, you know, learning a classical piece out of a book or…you know, mostly, since I was twelve, I just learn stuff off records and-and I don’t put the pressure on my relationship to the instrumental walkover to it and figuring I’m going to play something brilliant, you know? I practice so much and-and listen so much that, eventually, somebody-somebody, like, does something on a record that strikes you…you-you realise some that some sort of a combination of intervals or some certain kind of a rhytmic phrase, it like…strikes a chord in you. Ideas come forth from there, you know, you, it’s really, it’s-it’s, you know, the whole principle of how they put music together in hip-hop and stuff…you just take little pieces from different things and put them in a new context and reorganise them and bend them and, you know, slice ’em up. And then there’s your ideas, you know? I think, I think, I think that kind of stuff only happens when people like have too much of an emphasis in their approach to ? a result, have those kind of goals and those kind of that resultoriary thinking. It’s really limiting what you can do and really limiting how much fun you can have when you’re doing it, you know? It’s important to remember that there’s an endless supply of creativity available in the universe, that-that creative force that all the music has come from…it’s plenty full and it’s never gonna run out. And as long as you don’t psyche yourself out by putting pressure on yourself by judging everything that you do, if you, if you just listen to music and explore the possibilities of your instrument, it’s just always going to be there! You don’t have to worry about it, you know? It only happens when you make too much of an agenda of trying to do something that’s gonna blow people away or something. Like, if you, if you just remember that you just’re always gonna just be an important person (The interviewer laughs), no matter how much people are going to tell you that you’re important, it’s never the person that’s important. And nobody should be intimidated by stars like Jimi Hendrix or Eddie van Halen or whoever. It’s just, like, those people, they’re all just little guys who love music, you know? And what they do has been great only as much as they love music, and as much as they practiced their instruments a lot, and gave a lot love to it, you know? (Yeah, yeah…) As long as you do that stuff, you don’t need to worry about the result, you know? You’ll get there when you’re meant to, and you’ll come up with things when you’re meant to and you’ll have a good time the whole time, as long as you’re studying all the brilliant stuff. We’re so lucky we have the CDs and records to study and it’s an opportunity to think the way somebody else was thinking. When you play along with something, you’re actually…like-like, it’s almost like experiencing the same moment they experienced then (Sure!), feeling what they felt and doing what they were doing. It’s like a mirror to, to…it’s like a mirror through, like, forty years of time or whatever, if you’re learning something that happened before years ago. You know, it was a little moment in a studio and then you’re recreating that moment with your instrument because you’re playing the same instrument as them…it’s amazing! You know, it’s all like an incredible gift and nobody should put that burden on music to feed their ego in the way that they want it when they expect that everything that comes out of them should be something, like, fantastic, you know?

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