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The reason why John Frusciante rejoined Red Hot Chili Peppers


The return of John Frusciante to the Red Hot Chili Peppers somehow felt both inevitable and shocking: inevitable because this was the band that he would forever be associated with, but shocking because he seemed to have left them behind for good after 2006’s Stadium Arcadium. Frusciante is now on his third tenure with a band that he always seemed perfect for and inherently different from. Surrounded by dopey punk-funk party animals, Frusciante brought in technical wizardry, sonic experimentation, and vulnerability that took the Chili Peppers to an entirely new level.

When the foursome were interviewed by Howard Stern shortly after the release of their latest album, Unlimited Love, Stern asked Frusciante what had brought him back. “It was a certain amount of soul searching that I had done,” Frusciante explained. “It seemed like I had changed and grown enough as a person to where it felt like a beautiful thing to have another chance to do it right.”

“I felt that way when I rejoined the first time [in 1998]. On a personal level and a musical level, I had some new ideas about where I thought those relationships could go, and it was the same thing this time,” Frusciante added. “I was seeing Anthony and Flea and Chad through a different lens than I had seen them through when I quit. Not that either time I had quit that it was specifically anything personal, but having a personal relationship in a band is a hard thing. You’ve got to be in sync with four people, working as hard as they work, going where they go, doing what they do, almost thinking what they think. It’s an intense thing to do.”

Ultimately, Frusciante rejoined when he felt like he was in the right place to do so. “I found for myself that I needed to clear my head of it and find out who I am as a person. I really wanted to have that closeness and that kind of vulnerable interaction with them again.”

Anthony Kiedis reiterated that the welcoming of Frusciante back into the band was a warm experience for all. “There were no hard feelings, there were no resentments, there were no regrets. The fact that we were able to kind of keep things going while John was away was sort of perfect in the end, because we were available when he showed up and it was time for a change.”

Kiedis added that Flea and Frusciante had been collaborating together musically before Frusciante officially rejoined the Chili Peppers, setting the stage for their eventual reunion in 2019. Frusciante replaced his own replacement, Josh Klinghoffer, who recorded two albums with the band during his tenure from 2009 to 2019.

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