When John Frusciante returned to the Red Hot Chili Peppers towards the end of the 2010s, the news came as a welcome surprise to fans. Welcome, but completely unexpected. Frusciante had previously left the band on two separate occasions, once quite bitterly in 1992 and then more cordially in 2009. Although the splits could not have been more different, Anthony Kiedis reflected on how they both fit into the wild history of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Kiedis contrasted the state of mind that Frusciante was in during his two departures. “We were both quite foolish at that stage,” Kiedis reflected on the 1992 split. “I wanted things the way I wanted it and he wanted it the way he wanted it, and he may have been more evolved in some ways and less in others. But he disappeared, and somehow we did survive.”
While the band continued on with former Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, Frusciante’s health and well-being began to decline. “John went down as far as he could, and then just the whisper of a ghost saying, ‘Hey, I’m not gone yet,'” Kiedis explained. “We’re like, ‘OK, let’s do this: Californication, By the Way, Stadium Arcadium.'”
By the time the Chili Peppers made it to the end of the Stadium Arcadium promotional tour, Frusciante was able to step back in from the group in a much better state of mind. “He did make a holistic decision. He’s like, ‘It’s not for me. It’s too much: too much attention, too much travel, too much chaos, too much… all of it.’ So he walked away, and I think he needed a solid twelve years of processing all of that, which he was kind of willing to do. Slowly.”
Ultimately, Kiedis indicates that because Frusciante was healthier and older after his second departure, it made for a more loving and amicable split rather than a bitter one. It also left the door open for Frusciante’s potential return, although the band soldiered on with guitarist Josh Klinghoffer for a decade while Frusciante pursued other projects.
Listen to Kiedis reflect on Frusciante’s two departures down below.