John Frusciante is now in his third spell of being the lead guitarist in Red Hot Chili Peppers and it’s an undisputed fact that the Californian outfit becomes a greater force when Frusciante is in the fold. There’s an edge that he brings into the group which is felt none more so than on the band’s first single since he rejoined them (for the first time) on ‘Scar Tissue’—one of Frusciante’s finest moments.
After quitting the band in 1992, Frusciante’s mental health went into dire straits and he ended up falling into severe heroin addiction which nearly cost him his life. Thankfully, he checked into a rehab facility in January 1998 for treatment which saw him finally end his relationship with heroin. After getting himself clean, the musician was then invited by Flea to play with the Chili’s again and he returned with a bang.
Kiedis remembered to Rolling Stone in 2000 that their first rehearsal with Frusciante was his highlight from the whole cycle of the Californication record: “When John gets excited, he’s like eight billion volts of electricity. He was knocking things over—it was absolutely chaotic, like a little kid trying to set up a Christmas tree. And when he hit that first chord, it was so perfect—this blend of sounds from these people who I hadn’t heard play together in so long.”
Frusciante made an instant impact and his role on the Californication LP is immeasurable, he not only brought an incredible amount of expertise with his instrument but his presence just completely rejuvenated the band.
‘Scar Tissue’ was the perfect return and the mix of Kiedis’ open lyricism about his own struggles coupled with Frusciante’s incredible skills which add another dimension to their sound, a factor which explains why they keep on getting him back to the band because they know just how special his talent is.
The track began this new chapter of the band which was the most fruitful period of their acclaimed career with ‘Scar Tissue’ picking up a Grammy for ‘Best Rock Song’ and spending a staggering 16 weeks at the top of the Billboard Modern Rock chart. Meanwhile, Californication is the Chili Peppers’ most commercially successful studio release internationally, with over 15 million copies sold worldwide, and more than seven million in the United States alone.
Hearing Frusciante’s isolated guitar on the track is a beautiful piece of music that epitomises his extraordinary talent who is one of the most important guitarists of the last 30 years.
Take a few minutes out to listen, below.