John Frusciante has had an on-again and off-again relationship with the Red Hot Chili Peppers since the ’80s. He last worked with them on Stadium Arcadium in 2006. In 2009, Josh Klinghoffer replaced Frusciante entirely and has spent the last decade with the Chili Peppers as their full-time guitarist.
With the release of Unlimited Love just around the corner, Frusciante is back full-time with the band, and Klinghoffer is out. So, if there was no bad blood between him and Flea and Anthony Kiedis, why did he originally leave them all those years ago?
Frusciante revealed the truth in an interview with Classic Rock, and it’s spookier than you could have imagined. Years of touring was catching up to him and:
“I became quite off-balance mentally those last couple of years we toured. As the tour went on, I got deep into the occult, which became a way of escaping the mindset of tour life. The occult tends to magnify whatever you are, and I was an imbalanced mess.”
Thankfully Frusciante is in a better place now, so when Flea pitched him the idea of a reunion, his only question was whether or not he could still play rock and roll music.
After spending a decade with Klinghoffer, cutting ties with him wasn’t easy. He had become an integral part of the band, even if he was ultimately deemed replaceable (for the right cost). As Flea told NME in an exclusive interview:
“He’s been with us for 10 years, and it was an emotionally difficult thing to do. Not only was he a great musician, he was also a thoughtful, supportive team player. A communally-minded, kind, and intelligent person.
“But artistically, in terms of being able to speak the same [musical] language, it was easier working with John. Getting back into a room and starting to play and letting the thing unfold… was really exciting.”