It’s not often that the term “guitar hero” is bandied around these days. For a moment in the late 20th century, the clamour to be the ultimate axman was a venture only embarked o by the bravest of souls. As the 1990s descended and the millennium approached, the idea of being a virtuoso guitarist soon faded into the annals of history. But if one man in the modern era of rock deserves the accolade, then it is Red Hot Chili Peppers’ own John Frusciante.
One of the most gifted guitarists of his generation, Frusciante’s style is undoubtedly entirely of his own making, crafted by a life lived on the peripheries of mainstream society and bathed in the glorious technique of his guitar influences. Dusky, smokey and full of some severe verve, Frusciante’s licks are what made the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ domination of rock so easy to achieve.
Having recently rejoined the band following a hiatus from working with Anthony Kiedis, Flea, and Chad Smith, Frusciante’s work with the funk-rock masters has become his defining achievement. A massive array of songs could be heralded as some of Frusciante’s best work, but what does the guitarist himself think is his best moment with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Naturally, given Frusciante’s comparatively shy persona, there haven’t been countless occasions when the guitarist has spoken openly about his work. But, he did offer up some of the Red Hot Chili Peppers songs that he is most proud of when dropping into the SiriusXM studios back in 2004. Of course, with such a date in mind, we have to assume that this opinion may have changed over time.
Nevertheless, given the songs he selects, we have a good chance that they remain immovable from his mind and, therefore, closest to Frusciante’s heart. “It seems I like the B-sides a lot,” Frusciante confesses, confirming himself as part of the band’s leftfield arrangement. “I like the song ‘Rivers of Avalon’ a lot, I like the song ‘Eskimo’ a lot, and off the Californication album, I like the song ‘This Velvet Glove’. I also really like the B-side from the ‘Scar Tissue’ single ‘Instrumental Number 1’, ‘Gong Li’ off the same single.”
“I hope someday we do a B-sides record because I really, in a lot of ways, I’m more proud of our B-sides than any of our album tracks.” Given Frusciante’s nature as a deeply gifted musician, it seems fitting that he should shy away from perhaps the more expected choices such as ‘Give It Away’, ‘Scar Tissue’ or ‘Californication’ and instead languish in the beautiful obscurity of B-side heaven.
John Frusciante’s 5 favourite Red Hot Chili Peppers songs:
- ‘Rivers of Avalon’
- ‘This Velvet Glove’
- ‘Instrumental Number 1’
- ‘Gong Li’