On December 16, 2009, via blog post on http://www.johnfrusciante.com/, John announced that he was officially out of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I didn't hear of this news until a recent issue of Rolling Stone informed me, about 2 weeks ago. I'm really bummed about his departure, but I completely understand his reasons, and I'm thrilled that he is in the place he's in creatively, and excited to see what he puts out. I'm also hopeful that, down the road, he'll come back to work with RHCP again.
I've been a fan of RHCP for as long as I can remember. Literally, I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't listening to them and shaking my ass to their music. There are very few bands that I can actually say that about - in fact, RHCP and U2 might be the only ones. My earliest memories of music and my enjoyment thereof all involve those two bands, and their music provides the soundtrack for A LOT of major events and memories in my life. When John left the band to deal with his addiction back in 1992, I was bummed, but obviously understanding that he was at a place in his life where he needed to focus on himself, and the band was getting in the way of his recovery. That made sense. And the Peppers moved on and circulated through a couple of guitarists before settling on Dave Navarro. I'm a Jane's Addiction fan, and I love Navarro's quirkiness, but I gotta say - his style just didn't fit with the Peppers. One Hot Minute was one hot mess, in a lot of ways. It's still a great album, there's just something off about it.
Anyway, when Frusciante returned for Californication, I might've had a party. His return brought the band back to it's core and pushed them into new and amazing creative waters. By the Way is one of my favorite RHCP albums, and I now realize that had a lot to do with Frusciante's creative energy pushing the band to explore new heights. The album has an almost ethereal feeling to it, in my opinion. Like One Hot Minute, it's different from any of their other albums, but it's diferent in a different way. And I now relize that it resembles a lot of John's solo stuff from that period, and I'm totally into that.
So, the news of John's departure just as RHCP are heading back to the studio to work on their next album has me concerned, to say the least. I know that new guy (Josh Klinghoffer, an additional touring guitarist on the Stadium Arcadium tour) has the chops to pull it off; my concern is with the loss of John's creativity and energy. I have recently been checking out his solo albums, and I'm blown away by the more recent ones. He's an amazing guitarist, and songwriter, and it turns out he can sing too, and he has a very cool, almost haunting at times, voice. If you have the chance, check out the songs "Omission" and "Song to Sing When I'm Lonely" from the Shadows Collide with People album and "Murderers" from To Record Only Water for Ten Days. Those are a good start. I'm really into his solo stuff now. I just hope that the split with RHCP is worth it.