Heroes – Five Favourite Riffs This Month: John Frusciante

John Frusciante joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers following the tragic death of Hillal [sic] Slovak, and made his debut the on [sic] acclaimed Mother’s Milk album. The latest album, Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic [sic] is according to John his best playing yet with more scope and subtlety than the previous albums.

“I like the guitar solo, it’s a one note thing, just before the last verse in Power of Equality on the new album. That was on my old Fender Jaguar, I think it’s a real early one. I hit that note and it went on and on like crazy.

I only got that guitar ’cause it looked cool and gradually I got into its character. I used this little 12W practice amp and that set up got used for most overdubs ’cause it sounded so much better than all the other stuff. For the other meat I got a bunch of Strats, all ’70s models through a Marshall 60w bass head.

I’m not a technical player so any good quality guitar will do, excepting modern crap – they don’t even look like guitars, man. There’s no virtue in just being able to play fast, it’s down to feel and soon people are gonna realise that.”

Iggy and the Stooges
Night Scene

Off the Kill City sessions album this is a killer riff, man. Iggy’s just great for that hard rockin’ style of doing things and with james Williamson’s guitar driving it along they just made for this incredible splatter sound. I got everything the Stooges ever did right from Funhouse through Raw Power and it all blows me away, they just can’t make music with that attitude now. I saw Iggy recently and it’s great to see he’s still doing something real vital even if it’s not quite like it was in the old days.

Velvet Underground
Ride into the Sun

This one’s off that Another View compilation. The Velvets were right out there and if I’m ever depressed, I put them on and it raises my mood. Most people think they’re dark but to me they wrote beautiful personal songs about real people and real things. All these bullshit players who meditate before they do a solo should just get a shot of the Velvets. Reed did more with three chords than they could ever do. This riff shows the power and the beauty of an awesome talent.

Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band
One Red Rose that I Need

Zoot Horn Rollo played guitar with the Captain through that golden period around Lick My Decals Off Baby and this track is the most amazing instrumental. People say his style was weird, to me it’s totally in tune with the way I think. His playing is real emotional and tonal, a sort of extension of what Leadbelly or Robert Johnson were doing. Zoot Horn Rollo’s beautiful slide and riffing is what latter day American Blues should be.

Syd Barrett

Syd is a big hero just ’cause of what he stood for of what he did, his guitar world and weird echo slide shit was incredible for its time. Rats is off the second solo album Barrett in 1970 and unless you’ve heard it I can’t really explain what it’s about. It’s mainly acoustic this riff but when he comes in with the vocal, yeah it’s wild, real fugitive sound ya know? I try and find out as much as I can before him so when I get to England I’ll be checking some stuff out.

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