Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis: “I Miss John Frusciante”

(Image credit: Brian Rasic/Getty Images)

John Frusciante quit Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2009, but the guitarist’s presence is still felt by the band’s members.

In a pair of new interviews, frontman Anthony Kiedis and guitarist Josh Klinghoffer fielded questions about Frusciante, who performed in Red Hot Chili Peppers from 1988 to 1992 and again from 1998 to 2009.

Speaking with the Argentinian TV program La Viola, Kiedis referred to Frusciante as a “very special person to me, a special person to many people.”

“My experience with John was one of the most wonderful and easiest people to make music with,” Kiedis says. “We could sit down on the floor, John and I, and I could take out a piece of paper, and I would say, ‘Okay, I wrote these words.’

“And he would like [say], ’Let me see those words,’ and he would take take the words, he would read them, and he’s like, ‘Okay.’ He would start to play something, I would start to sing it, and I would say, ‘Can you play something that feels like this?’ And he would say, ‘Okay, let me try this.’ Then we would have a song.

“Never did I meet someone who was so easy to write songs with, and really good songs.”

Asked if he misses Frusciante, Kiedis says, “I miss him, but I also accept the separate lives. But I miss him.”

Frusciante’s presence is also felt by guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who joined Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2009 after years of collaborating on and off with Frusciante. The two had worked together around 1999, when Klinghoffer was a member of the band the Bicycle Thief, fronted by Thelonious Monster singer Bob Forrest. Klinghoffer has also contributed to Frusciante’s 2004 solo albums and in 2007 toured with the Red Hot Chili Peppers as a guitarist, keyboardist and backing vocalist.

Given his work with Frusciante, and Frusciante’s own long history with the group, Klinghoffer often finds himself compared with his predecessor but says it hasn’t been hard for him to create his own place in the group.

  • “To me that has not been difficult,” he tells La Tercera, noting that his band mates “were very welcoming and very open to my input, my sound and my opinions about music and about everything. I can never thank them enough for that.
  • “But in relation to what other people think about it, I have no control. I know there are people who compare me to John, which is ridiculous. I’m not him. I did not become a guitarist in the same way as him. He studied meticulously from a young age. He became an incredible guitarist and focused on that instrument specifically. I did not. I was a drummer and took up the guitar.

“I don’t read much online, but I know there are many discussions on this topic. It’s nice that people are interested enough to argue about the music, but I try to stay away from it.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers are currently touring on behalf of The Getaway, their latest album, which was released on June 17. In a series of just-released videos, Klinghoffer and drummer Chad Smith explain how some of the album tracks came together.

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.