Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist, John Frusciante, once handwrote a letter to Jimmy Page after meeting the Led Zeppelin founding member at a show in 2004.
Frusciante is currently in his third stint in the Californian rock band after reuniting with Flea, Chad Smith, and Anthony Kiedis in 2019. He spent a decade out of the limelight after departing the group for the second time and, instead, released electronic music under the moniker of Trickfinger. Despite his experimental streak, it is still the guitar that is his weapon of choice.
The two albums that the Chilis released in his latest absence missed him dearly, and excitement is rife for their next record now that Frusciante is back in the frame. He is celebrated as one of his generation’s finest technicians, and without him, Red Hot Chili Peppers flatter to deceive.
However, if it wasn’t for Jimmy Page, Frusciante’s life would have travelled in a different direction. The Chili Pepper hailed the Led Zep icon as “the first person that made me want to play”, which Frusciante told him personally when he presented him with the ‘Maestro Award’ at the MOJO Awards in 2004.
Elsewhere in his speech, Frusciante spoke about the meticulous studying of Page’s work with both The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin he undertook during childhood. He even said about the latter, “I don’t believe another rock band could carry around more power than they did”. Additionally, he also brought up a poignant memory from his youth. On the nearby freeway to where he was raised, somebody spray-painted ‘Led Zep Rules’, a phrase by which Frusciante will always stick by.
The Chilis guitarist clearly left an impression that evening on Page, and later in the same year, he turned up to a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. The two talked after the show, but Frusciante didn’t say everything he wanted to during their fleeting conversation and took it upon himself to pen a letter asking Page to collaborate with his other band, The Mars Volta.
In 2004, Red Hot Chili Peppers were probably the biggest contemporary rock band on the planet, yet, Frusciante still found himself lost in total awe of Page. Unfortunately, the collaboration with The Mars Volta never came to fruition, but this handwritten letter shows just how much of a hero figure he is in Frusciante’s life.
The note came to light in 2017 when it went to auction after it was discovered by Red Hot Chili Peppers road manager Louie Mathieu, which suggests it never successfully found its way to Page.
See the full transcript below.
“Thank you so much for coming to our show. It meant so much to all of us to have you there. There was something I needed to ask you but didn’t want to put you on the spot. I figure I’ll ask you in this letter and that way you are free to just not respond if you so choose, with no offense taken.
“My best friend Omar is the guitarist/leader of The Mars Volta. They are my favorite band in the world. Their music comes from punk, salsa, progressive rock and Led Zeppelin, and their singer Cedric is an extraordinary singer. They are making a new record right now and it would be Omar’s dream to have you, Omar and myself simultaneously soloing on one song. Omar and I have done a lot of simultaneous soloing with great results, and it would mean the world to us if you joined us. We could do this by sending you a CD to play to and you could record yourself on a computer, then send the file back to us in LA. If you are interested let us know since they are towards the end of the record (but not in a rush).
“All my best, John Frusciante.”