John Frusciante Is Your Music Concierge

Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist John Frusciante made these six solo records in 2004. While I wasn’t always the hughest fan of his music (his drug-induced tropes from the mid-’90s are difficult to swallow), the spoils of this insanely ambitious endeavor have blown me away. Each one takes a completely different tone – classic rock, acid jamminess, electronic, acoustic – and the only unifying theme is the scarily naked level of emotion and honesty. (He’s big on rolling with his recording mistakes.) I’ll shut up and let John take us through them all.

The Will to Death
“For me, this is the heaviest one. There’s more loudness. I don’t think I’d ever used volume as a tool on any of my solo records before.”

“I think this one is the best in terms of a pure listening experience. It’s me singing and playing the acoustic guitar. It also has upright bass, and Carla from the band Autolux plays drums. I loved having a feminine energy. My frend Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of the Mars Volta played some guitar. He and I do these solos together where we’re using the same amp at the same time. It definitely goes beyond the scope of what an acoustic album normally consists of.”

“These songs were written while I was on tour for [RHCP’s] By the Way. I was listening to the Velvet Underground a lot. It’s only four songs and 15 minutes long. I’m used to producing my records myself, and when I left that in the hands of Fugazi Ian MacKaye, using equipment that wasn’t mine, playing instruments that weren’t mine, everything was different.”

Inside of Emptiness
“It’s really powerful, but in a gentle way. There’s a soothing quality. It has hard things on it, and even the soft things have a heaviness to them. The song ‘Scratches’ is emotionally heavy to me, even though it’s not distorted guitars and bashing drums. There’s another song about a couple’s baby dying. There’s a lot of spontaneity and recklessness and not giving a f**k.”

A Sphere in the Heart of Silence
“It’s electronic music, but much more raw. We recorded this the same way we did Inside of Emptiness – with all the out-of-control qualities that I’ve been building toward with my style of playing and recording – but we used electronic instruments. There are some techno things with punk-rock-type screaming vocals. It’s only a seven-song album, but it’s, like 38 minutes long.”

Automatic Writing
“If you like me cause you saw me live and I was beating the f**k out of my guitar, then this record – which is a collaboration with Josh Klinghoffer and Joe Lally [the three of them have a band called Ataxia] – will give you what you’re looking for. If you don’t care about song structure, and yu want powerful music with f**ked-up guitar-playing and songs that are really long, this record is the one.”


*Note: The descriptions for Inside Of Emptiness and The Will To Death were accidentally mixed up in the article. It is obviously fixed in the transcript, so don’t be confused when looking at the scan.

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