Legendary Guitarist John Frusciante Rejoining Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have just announced the return of John Frusciante in the band’s line up for the third time after Josh Klinghoffer’s departure. 

John Frusciante (right) and Josh Klinghoffer (left) photo credit: Consequence of Sound

Christmas has come a bit early for fans of the Red Hot Chili Peppers since the recent announcement of John Frusciante’s return as the band’s lead guitarist.

Coming straight from the band’s and bassist Flea’s Instragram pages, the news had come out as sad but grateful in sending off guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and excited in announcing John Frusciante’s return:

With no prior warning of the sudden announcement, fans can only question about Klinghoffer’s exit and what will be on the horizon for the band in welcoming back John.


John Frusciante & The Red Hot Chili Peppers

John Frusciante photo credit: Reddit

The band, formed back in 1983, has musically influenced and dominated the rock world with their extraordinary repertoire blending punk rock, glam metal, funk and jazz. The founding members consisted of guitarist Hilel Slovak, vocalist Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea (Michael Balzary), and drummer Jack Irons.

After releasing three albums the band faced a major setback with  Hilel Slovak’s death to a heroin overdose in 1988.  Irons who was battling his own depression and being dismayed at the time seeing the loss of Slovak and see his friends battle drug addiction had quit the band that same year. Irons later joined Seattle based band Pearl Jam.

Fast track to the Chilis recruiting the potential teenager John Frusciante and drummer Chad Smith the band released two breakthrough albums, Mother’s Milk (1989) and Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991). Frusciante became disillusioned and dissatisfied with the newfound mainstream success the band received from the albums because he preferred the animosity and close quarter dynamic shared between an audience and live act in small performing venues. The period of Frusciante’s first departure of the band detailed his struggle with drug addiction and the release of his first two solo albums Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt and Smile from the Streets You Hold. After the firing of guitarist Dave Navarro, Frusciante who was clean from drugs was back in the band in 1998.

What followed was the classic period of the Chilis starting with their renowned trilogy of albums Californication (1999), By The Way (2002) and Stadium Arcadium (2006).  Following a hiatus after Stadium Arcadium, John Frusciante decided to quit the band a second time to focus on his solo career.

At the time Frusciante had decided to quit the band back in 2009, Flea told Rolling Stone at the time:

“I was afraid. I couldn’t imagine going out with someone else. It seemed done. … It’s like missing a family member.”


The Josh Klinghoffer Period And Future Plans 

Photo Credit: SuperFM

Josh Klinghoffer joined Red Hot Chili Peppers full-time in 2010 following Frusciante’s departure. To fans, Klingoffer had big shoes to fulfill in replacing the legacy left by Frusciante.

I disagree to fans who think Klingoffer is a copy and paste Frusciante/Stratocaster guitar player because Klingoffer has implemented his own individuality with the band and maintained a professional  and close relationship with John Frusciante.

Klingoffer was a touring member with the band since 2007, playing secondary guitar with Frusciante and has collaborated with Frusciante on his solo work since 2002.

In accepting his permanent position as the guitarist of the band after John’s departure, Klinghoffer stated, “That’s something I’ve wanted more than anything in my life: to have a band of friends that you trust and love. Flea and John had a special relationship — I saw it for years. That Flea and Chad and Anthony could open up and let someone else in, someone new, is amazing to me.”

In that sense Klingoffer seemed the most genuine replacement to fulfill Frusciante’s post and became a full time member in 2010.  In 2012 the band became inducted into the Rock and Hall all of the fame where Klingoffer was also inducted as the youngest recipient of the award.

On that note Klingoffer reflected his inclusion into the rock hall of fame:

“It’s a weird thing to have a Hall of Fame for rock. It’s weird that I spent years worshipping the Cure, and here’s the Chili Peppers, and then one gets in and one doesn’t. It’s ridiculous. In my heart of hearts, it means nothing to me, but I do understand it means a lot to other people. It creates positivity. I felt like a wanker on the stage because I just waltz in … partly on the strength of songs that [John Frusciante] helped write. Being the youngest person inducted is obviously going to have a lot of weirdness about it. But I mean to say that there’s no point in being negative about it.”

In Klinghoffer’s ten year tenure with the band, he performed on the favourable received I’m with You (2011) where the album was received as a new artistic direction for the band.

Flea commented on the musical stylistic dimensions Josh implemented as a new member and said:

“Josh is a very subtle musician and it’s not so much about the big riff — it’s more subtle, sublime, texture type of playing. And the big difference is I started writing songs on piano for this record and Josh also wrote songs on piano, so a lot of the songs were written on the piano and then translated to [the] rock band. It has a different kind of feeling, kind of more of a liquid, poetic feeling is the best way I can describe it.”

On his own, Klingoffer is a versatile multi-instrumentalist. He has been a touring and session musician, has his own band called Dot Hacker and has released his first debut solo album this year called To Be One With You under the moniker Pluralone.


What Will We See For The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ In The Near Future

Photo Credit: LoudWire

The Getaway (2016) which was the band’s last recorded album was received by critics as a return to form. It has been three years since the album’s release and The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s have been on the road again this year playing the hits of their body of work.  The band even made a return to Australia with headling shows in twelve years. Sadly, Klinghoffer’s last appearance with the band was on the 2nd of November, performing a charity gig at Silverlake Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles.

With the random public announcement that has sent fans in a frenzy, it begs the question: how long has it been in the works? The band were in the process of making their twelfth album but production was pushed back due to the 2018 Woosley Fire of Califorina.

Was Klinghoffer’s sudden departure resulted from the arrival on his debut solo album and his decision primarily focus on his solo career? What will happen to the possible material Klinghoffer produced during the production of the unfinished album? Will the band start all over or will we see a dynamic blend of musicianship between Klinghoffer and Frusciante?

What will be interesting to see is John Frusciante playing guitar again since he departed the band back in 2009 and how he has individually grown as a musician in his solo work.

2020 looks big and promising for the band as the planned twelfth album will apparently be released next year with Flea announcing the news in the release of his 2019 autobiography Acid For The People. So who knows whether John Frusciante has been behind the scenes this whole time, we will find out next year.

Subscribe to FIB’s newsletter for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!