Death Wish

On John Frusciante’s new solo album, his old friend the Grim Reaper is the life of the party.

Shadows Collide With People is a strangely beautiful transmission from another dimension – the one inhabited by Red Hot Chili Pepper guitarist John Frusciante. The brand-new solo disc reflects Frusciante’s fascination with Eighties’ synth pop and avant-garde electronica but is nonetheless squarely rooted in tuneful, guitar-driven songs that hit hard on first hearing and linger in the head longer than a case of Asian bird flu. Frusciante lovers can look forward to more of the guitarist’s metaphysical ruminations on time, God and death, but such serious subject matter doesn’t stop the album from being a joyous affair.

“My lyrics are like jokes, really”, says Frusciante. “I like to play games with words. But death is one of the things I do love writing about. I’m just really excited about dying. It’s intertwined with my love for being alive. I’ve been given enough of a glimpse of death to know it’s something I have to look forward to.”

Frusciante came close to killing himself with drugs during the Eighties and early Nineties but bounced back to become a key factor in the success of the last two Chili Peppers’ albums, Californication and By The Way. Band mates Flea and Chad Smith guest on Shadows, which is Frusciante’s most fully realized solo effort to date. The guitarist also reports that work is underway on a new Chili Peppers’ album and hints that it will be an about-face from the sunny, harmony-drenched good vibrations of By The Way.

“We have 15 songs already,” says Frusciante. “And the stuff we’ve recorded so far sounds very much like a band. These days, I’m big on things being raw and celebrating flaws. I’m trying to limit myself to one backing vocal. Or three voices at the most. I’m not trying to draw so much attention to myself.”

— Alan DiPerna

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