Blues? Prog? Floydian grunge? 5 guitar highlights from Return of the Dream Canteen, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ most eclectic album yet

Guitarist John Frusciante during a concert by rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Estadi Olimpic de Barcelona on June 7, 2022, in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
(Image credit: Pau Venteo/Europa Press via Getty Images)

Red Hot Chili Peppers recorded 48 songs during their 2021 studio sessions – their first with John Frusciante since 2005 – and the initial fruits of their labor emerged in April, on the 17-track Unlimited Love. During an in-depth interview about that album, Frusciante told this writer, “I definitely feel like we saved some of the best stuff for the potential next album” – and he wasn’t kidding.

Return of the Dream Canteen paints a much more varied picture of the Chili Peppers’ reunion than its comparatively safe predecessor. It sees the band color outside the lines they drew during their 2000s renaissance, while occasionally harking back to their ’80s funk pomp.

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Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism from Cardiff University, and over a decade's experience writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as 20 years of recording and live experience in original and function bands. During his career, he has interviewed the likes of John Frusciante, Chris Cornell, Tom Morello, Matt Bellamy, Kirk Hammett, Jerry Cantrell, Joe Satriani, Tom DeLonge, Ed O'Brien, Polyphia, Tosin Abasi, Yvette Young and many more. In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.