Published Dec 14, 2009The last time John Frusciante quit Red Hot Chili Peppers, he nearly died, spending six years between 1992 and 1997 in the depths of heroin addiction. He went into reclusion in his L.A. apartment, a period of his life that was documented by Johnny Depp in the short film Stuff, and later in an interview with Dutch broadcasting company VPRO.
During that time, the Chili Peppers scarcely fared much better than their departed guitarist: they hired the nipple-ring-wearing Dave Navarro as Frusciante's replacement and released just one album, the poorly received One Hot Minute.
Although it's still only a rumour, several sources are now reporting that Frusciante has once against left the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It began on Friday (December 11), when Buzzbands.LA reported that the legendary funk rockers had begun to work on their new album without Frusciante, adding "Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer, who toured with the Peppers as a second axeman (and who also has played with Gnarls Barkley, Beck and PJ Harvey), is involved." This report was corroborated by Buddyhead, who blogged that "our buddy Josh Klinghoffer is the new guitar player in Red Hot Chilli Peppers."
Then this hearsay was given a further boost yesterday (December 13), when MusicRadar reported that a "source close to the band" had confirmed that "Josh Klinghoffer has been playing with the group for a couple of months now." The source added that "Mentally, John checked out a long time ago. He's interested in doing his own thing, his own albums - the whole big rock band machinery just doesn't appeal to him anymore." (But maybe joining a group with Krautrock legend Michael Rother does?)
The news that Frusciante has quit the band doesn't come as a complete surprise. When MusicRadar asked about his status with the Chili Peppers earlier this year, John cryptically answered that he had "no plans." In an interview with Classic Rock last month, RHCP drummer Chad Smith refused to talk about Frusciante, stating, "I can't talk about that. I have been told to stay away from the John questions."
Red Hot Chili Peppers are scheduled to play at a Neil Young tribute show on January 29 at the Los Angeles Convention Centre. With the way things are looking now, don't expect to see Frusciante up on stage.