The story of how Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante recovered from the brink of tragedy
The voice in John Frusciante's head became more and more difficult to ignore. These sounds have been there since the guitarist can remember—in fact, the first time he picked up the guitar at the age of seven was largely because of them—but for months, they have been predicting disasters and telling him that he must Go ahead and urge him to give up the life he has carved for himself in the past four years. Deep down, Frusciante knew they were right.
In a quiet Tokyo hotel room, the 22-year-old had time to reflect on what went wrong. In 1998, when he was invited to join Red Hot Chili Peppers, his dream came true. Peppers are his favorite band: lead singer Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea heroes in his eyes. In the first few years of the band, Frusciante plunged into the whirlpool of rock music, taking full advantage of the countless temptations before him. But soon, this dream began to change. Meaningless sex life has become routine, alcohol and drug abuse has become monotonous, fame and flattery are tantamount to embarrassment. Frusciante has always wanted to be a musician, but it is becoming more and more obvious that music now plays only a minor role in the circus in his daily life. As a rock star, he realized that it was not what people thought.
When Frusciante finished the guitar part for the band's fifth full-length album, BloodSugarSexMagik, the voice in his head told him to walk away. But the quartet, composed of the nagging Minnesota drummer Chad Smith, is better than ever and reached a new creative peak, so he chose to stop them.
However, on the road, the situation deteriorated rapidly. As the album broke the platinum sales barrier in the United States, the band’s record company requested more photos, more publicity interviews, and more face-to-face meetings with industry “participants”. Fans wanted weird antics, socks on cock and hit singles-Give It Away, Suck My Kiss and Monster Ballad Under The Bridge-played exactly the way they played at Rick Rubin's Hollywood home in the spring of 1991. The guitarist hates the stereotypes that he thinks the band is falling into the entertainment industry, and he hates being treated like a performing monkey. But no one cared very much about what John Fluciant wanted. Some things must be paid.
The guitarist announced his intention to leave the Chili Band on May 7, 1992, which was the day of the band’s Japan tour. Although he had been an annoying person during their early European trek ("Sometimes I did want to kick his little butt," Chad Smith later admitted), his band members begged him to change his mind. Reluctantly, he agreed to play another one. That night, when the quartet stepped onto the stage of the Sonic City Hall in Omiya, Saitama Prefecture, Anthony Kiedis pulled the guitar aside and gestured to 2,500 intoxicated faces as if to say ' Take a look at this, see if we have achieved it, and see what you will leave behind. Frusciante did not waver. He flew back to Los Angeles the next morning. And, just for a moment, the voice in his head no longer so harsh.
To understand John Frusciante's mentality during his departure from one of the most successful rock bands in the world, you only need to listen to the music from his first solo album, Niandra La Des And Every Just AT Shirt in 1995. Recorded with a four-track recorder, deeply influenced by the sound geek Syd Barrett and Captain Beefheart, this strange "song" (Your cat is stuck on a burning building, Blood On My Neck From Success), with a hoarse soundtrack The guitar and the surreal/absurd stream of consciousness lyrics are the melting sounds of overloaded mental circuits.
The recording spanned the BloodSugarSexMagik meeting and the months before he left the band. As the album unfolded, it was obvious that his mental state declined. As he said to an American magazine at the time: "My recordings have gone from these happy, optimistic things to surrealistic celebrations to truly scattered, devilish-sounding things, such as a mind about to The voice of the person who exploded."
Frusciante doesn't just use this language to achieve results. At the time, he claimed that he had 400 "ghosts" in his mind telling him what to do.
"I am not mentally protected from the influence of those spirits that are unfavorable to me," he told Ian Fortnam of Classic Rock. "Those ghosts who just come to make love to me and drive me crazy. I can't distinguish between them and those who help me. I am confused. Everything I have learned seems to be pulling me to death. Everything around me. I saw death in it. All good things represent sadness, loss, and everything that has passed away."
When Frusciante fell into depression in the Hollywood Hills in the summer of 1992, his former band members initially had no time to express sympathy. Under The Bridge shines on American radio and the band has become the new favorite of alternative bands. When they started their Lollapolooza trip that summer, Anthony Kiedis felt betrayed by the guitarist's departure, and he only said a word to Frusciante five years later.
When the guitarist was a member of the band, Pepper Flea, who was closest to the guitarist, was more sympathetic. When the band returned to Los Angeles, he occasionally went to Frusciante's home to play with his old friends. More commonly, when he arrives, he will find Frusciante lying on the sofa, showing no interest in doing anything.
In order to get rid of this numb numbness, the guitarist decided to start a period of quite radical mental readjustment. The first step involves placing his guitar on one side and directing his artistic energy into his painting. The second step he decided, and more thoroughly, was to start taking heroin and cocaine all the time.
"This is the only time I am happy when I am by their side," he reasoned. "So I think it has no shortcomings. I think I am doing something wholesome for myself. I don't care if others say it is unhealthy."
Surrounded by drug addicts for most of his adult life, Flea was initially troubled by Frusciante and his new lifestyle choices. But as the guitarist’s drug use rapidly escalated to drug use, the visit of fleas became less and less.
"I don't think his brain and body can withstand the large amount of drugs he is taking," he admitted.
"When one of the people is a drug addict, there can be no consistent relationship between the two people," Frusciante later admitted. "We sometimes take drugs together, but for Flea, it's a pastime, and for me, this is my life."
In fact, he went too far on the path he chose, even though the potential danger of his drug addiction was highlighted in the most direct and tragic way imaginable.
For many years, Pepper has been a friend of Hollywood star Phoenix. The actor worked with Flea on the film My Own Private Idaho (directed by Gus Van Sant and he also directed Peppers’ Under The Bridge promo), and co-authored two solo songs "Bought Her Soul" with John Frusciante And "Soul Removal". On the evening of October 30, 1993, Phoenix went to Johnny Depp's Viper Room Club on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles with his sister Ryan and his girlfriend Samantha Mathis. The details of the night are not yet clear, but Phoenix took heroin at some point. Just after 1 am, he staggered out of the club and fell on the sidewalk, convulsing violently. At 2 am, the young actor died from what the Los Angeles Coroner's Office called "acute multi-drug poisoning."
The Chili Peppers camp was destroyed by the death of their friend. Anthony Kiddes heard the news in New York the day before his 31st birthday, and he claimed to have been crying for 24 hours. Flea later celebrated his friend's life with lyrics from the Transcending ("I call you hippie, you say fuck off") from Peppers' 1995 album One Hot Minute, and he almost fell apart. When John Frusciante talked about losing his "playmate," he refused to regard Phoenix's death as a wake-up call. The year before, the voice in his head told him that he was going to take drugs for six full years: he still had five years to go.
Hollywood has always liked its incompatibility. In a sad fashion faction, John Frusciante's drug-fueled spiritual pursuit is considered noble and even admirable. Sometime in 1994, Johnny Depp and the lead singer of Butthole Surfers Gibby Haynes visited Frusciante’s home to document the guitarist’s lifestyle for a short film (which was later sent to reporters to promote the release of Niandra La Des, usually Just AT Shirt).
This abstract film, shot in black and white, features a cameo by Timothy Leary, a drug master in the 1960s, and the protagonist's endless and ambiguous monologue, reflecting his chaotic and dirty environment. When the camera was panning around the house, graffiti could be seen with the words "my eyes hurt" and "stabbing with a disciplinary knife." Obviously, this is not the home of a happy person. The art collection considered this work, simply named Stuff, which is unforgettable and influential. However, many others who have seen it believe that it is the worst kind of voyeurism, an unnecessary and cruel vacation, into one's nightmarish life.
In 1995, Frusciante’s home welcomed more visitors because Rick Rubin’s US record company gently pushed the guitarist into Niandra La Des’ promotional work...The rumors surrounding him may have hinted . He talked about his love for artists Vincent Van Gogh and Marcel Duchamp, singing praises to his girlfriend Tony, telling the world that he was dealing with fleas again, these two old friends and the former Jane’s Addiction started an instrument project called "Three Amoeba"/Porno for Pyros drummer Stephen Perkins. He still hears some weird statements—a magazine sensitively named their article about the guitarist "Space Cadet" as "Space Cadet"—but the overall feeling is that John Flushant will be fine.
In fact, his darkest days are approaching.
Frusciante probably should have died in 1996. He died in February of the same year, and he estimated that his body contained only one-twelfth of the blood it should have. After receiving the blood transfusion, he later recalled that his first thought was'great, I am very happy to go again. Let me take more medicine. "Since then, the guitarist has spent up to $500 a day on his habit. Only royalty checks keep him floating, which always causes problems. Once, Frusciante owed his drug dealer $30,000 and had to pay His friend begs for cash to avoid being shot in the head. In the same year, he was kicked out of the house for not paying his rent. The guitarist temporarily stayed at the Chateau Marmont Hotel, a famous rock star friendly hotel and comedian John Beru John Beluish died of a cocktail cocktail-The Phoenix New Times reporter Robert Wilonsky visited the guitarist, and he was shocked by the change that heroin had had on the once innocent guitarist.
"His upper teeth are almost gone now," Wironsky wrote. "They have been replaced by tiny gray-white fragments leaking from rotting gums. If he coughs too hard, his lower teeth are thin and brown, and they seem to fall off at any time. His lips are pale and dry with thick coatings. Thick saliva, looks like a paste. His hair was cut all the way to the skull; his nails, or where they were originally located, were stained with blood. His feet, ankles and legs were all unfiltered camel The soot burned, and the soot did not attract attention; he also had bruises, scabs and scars on his body. He was wearing an old flannel shirt with only partial buttons and khaki pants. Dried blood dripped on the pants."
If Frusiant knew Wironsky's horrified reaction to his appearance, he certainly did not appease the reporter, telling him calmly "I don't care if I am alive or dead."
Surprisingly, Frusciante had to fall further. In his memory, 1997 was the worst year of his life. Desperately in need of cash to satisfy his addiction, he managed to gather enough original demo tracks to edit his second solo album, smiling from the street you hold, but the release of the album gave him no sense of pride or joy.
In 1999, he told a British music magazine: “I didn’t feel like myself for a year. I felt like a fake for a year. I didn’t even deserve to be called John Frusciante. I was smoking marijuana all day.”, shooting heroin, shooting Cocaine, drink alcohol, and take Valium. I almost committed suicide. However, when my mind is running fast and I feel like I am dying, I will get these warnings from the elf, saying, "You don't want to die now." "
Suddenly, without warning, Frusiante returned from the cliff. In January 1998, the voice in his head told him that if he continued to take drugs, he would die. He had tried to quit heroin by smoking cocaine and cocaine before. He decided to quit drug addiction temporarily and assured himself that if he still feels that the world is not good for him after twelve months, he will retake drugs and wait peacefully for death. . In the same month, he entered a rehabilitation center in California.
The flea was one of the first people to visit. He was very happy to see that his old friend was on the road to recovery and was impressed with Frusciante's mental power and new enthusiasm. He confessed to Frusciante that Chili Peppers were also in chaos. The previous year was disastrous for the band. Two years after One Hot Minute was released, it was recorded by Frusciante's replacement, former Jane's Addiction man Dave Navarro. The band has not yet written a new song. That summer, they decided to regroup for the Tibet Free Concert, but cancelled the performance when it became clear that they needed more rehearsals. That summer, the quartet did make an appearance at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, but their title was cut by an abnormal typhoon. On both sides of this farce, Anthony Kiddes and Chad Smith were injured in a motorcycle accident. That fall, Kiddes and Navarro both fell back into heroin abuse. On the creative level, it is increasingly obvious that Navarro and the band are not stuck together.
In April 1998, Navarro and Chili Peppers parted ways. Flea took this opportunity to tell Kiedis and Smith that if they don't at least try to get Frusciante to rejoin the band, he will also leave. Kiedis was skeptical of the idea, and Smith was surprised—"the last thing I know he was ready to die" the drummer was outspoken—but both agreed to try the idea. That spring, the four people got together for the first time in six years and rehearsed in Flea's garage. The meeting may be catastrophic, but it is not the case: "The chemical reaction is exaggerated and beautiful," Kiedis admitted.
"All the resentment disappeared immediately," he said. "It's like a boyfriend or girlfriend thing. Sometimes you get hurt by someone so much that you don't allow yourself to be friends with them. It doesn't mean you don't love them deep down. But, you know, self. Self. And mental games."
"Awesome," Frusciante agreed. "The way they took me back made me feel satisfied with myself. My ability is small, but it doesn’t matter to them. It’s just the spirit of what I’ve done and the facts of what I’ve done. No one else believes. Under circumstances, it’s great to have friends who truly believe in me."
John Frusciante's recovery process is slow and painful. The guitarist underwent skin grafts to cover up countless abscesses and scars on his arms and underwent dental treatment worth $70,000 to restore a broken pottery to a bright smile. But the real change took place internally, and with the patience of the band members, he reconciled with himself. On June 12, 1998, he officially rejoined the Red Hot Chili Peppers and walked with them on the stage at the 9:30 club in Washington, DC to warm up for the band's Tibetan free concert performance. With the arrival of that summer, returning to Flea's garage, it was obvious that he was full of new ideas, full of enthusiasm for bringing Chili Peppers to new heights of creation.
In the summer of 1999, the release of the band’s seventh album Californication was the final proof that Frusciante had recovered like Lazarus. Chilis sounds devoted, full of energy and excitement again, Frusciante's lyrical guitar works are infused with color, life and real soul are integrated into new songs, such as parallel universe, the other side and the title song of the sun kiss. The author F. Scott Fitzgerald once unforgettable claimed that there is no second act in American life: the purchase of 15 million people in California and John Flushant himself probably disagree.
In 2009, three years after the release of the Stadium Arcadium album, John Frusciante quit Chili Peppers for the second time. This time he will leave the band for a full ten years, until the sudden announcement at the end of 2019 that his replacement Josh Klinghoffer has been fired and Frusciante has resumed his position.
"The Red Hot Chili Peppers announced that we will part ways with guitarist Josh Klinghoffer of the past 10 years," the band said in a statement. "Josh is a beautiful musician, and we respect and love him. We are deeply grateful for our time" being with him and the countless gifts he shared with us. We also announced with great excitement and enthusiasm that John Frusciante will rejoin our team. "
Before long, Chad Smith accidentally revealed that a new album with Frusciante as the protagonist was in production. In addition, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are still uncertain about their future plans-it is clear that Frusciante's role in their story is not over yet.
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