Guitar Techniques March 2010


FORMED IN LOS Angeles in 1983, Red Hot Chili Peppers have been at the forefront of the US alternative rock scene for the past 20 years. The band members for most of their career have been guitarist John Frusciante, singer Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea and drummer Chad Smith. Frusciante left the band during the tour supporting their fifth album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik, which went on to sell over 13 million copies.

The following release, One Hot Minute saw Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro step into Frusciante’s shoes, while he overcame an addiction to heroin. But the album didn’t get close to matching the success of Blood Sugar Sex Magik. A sober Frusciante left rehab and returned to the Chilis in 1999, and the following album Californication went on to beat the success of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, selling over 15 million units.

The band have won seven Grammy awards, and also been one of the few artists chosen to appear in an episode of The Simpsons. With drummer Chad Smith back in his day job, after some extra curricular success alongside Joe Satriani in Chickenfoot, the Chilis are writing and recording a new album for release in 2010, although we hear without Frusciante, who has left to pursue solo interests.

Frusciante’s playing has always leaned heavily on sparse, syncopated funk lines, but he also has an impressive sense of melody and has performed many memorable guitar parts on Chili Peppers’ albums. He is also an accomplished improviser, with many of the band’s gigs featuring extended sections of improvisation. Frusciante is far more at home with the Hendrix style of vintage rock playing than the technical prowess of players like Steve Vai, although he has said he is a fan of listening to highly technical guitar players. As well as a successful career with RHCP, Frusciante has also recorded several solo albums….


The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ album Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991) features the fantastic Give It Away and the band’s enormous hit Under The Bridge, while Stadium Arcadium (2002) has Dani California. Also check out the group’s Greatest Hits (2003) compilation and of course Frusciante’s solo album Shadows Collide With People (2002). We look forward to see what he comes out with next.

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