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Anthony Kiedis says John Frusciante previously quit Red Hot Chili Peppers as there was "too much chaos"

Red Hot Chili Peppers
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Anthony Kiedis has opened up about John Frusciante's return to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and suggested that the guitarist's exit from the band in 2009 was at least partially motivated by the fact that there was "too much chaos" around the group at the time.

Kiedis was speaking to Apple Music's Zane Lowe ahead of the release of the new Chili Peppers album, Unlimited Love, which is set for release on April 1.

During the wide-ranging 56-minute conversation, Lowe touches upon Frusciante's first stint in the LA band, 1988 to 1992, referencing the Chili Peppers' infamous appearance on Saturday Night Live as an example of how just how fractured inter-band relationships became before the guitarist walked out during a May '92 Japanese tour.

"We were both quite foolish at that stage," admits Kiedis. "We talked about it earlier. I wanted things the way I wanted it and he wanted it the way he wanted it. And he may have been more evolved in some ways and less in others, but he disappeared and somehow we did survive and had this very interesting era with Dave Navarro and John went down as far as he could. And then, just the whisper of a ghost saying, 'Hey, I'm not gone yet,' Or like, okay, 'Let's do this.'"

Moving on to discuss Frusciante's return, and subsequent second exit, Kiedis continues,"Then came] CalifornicationBy the WayStadium Arcadium and then he did make a holistic decision. He's like, 'It's not for me. It's too much. Too much attention, too much travel, too much chaos, too much ... all of it.' And so he walked away."

"I think he needed a solid 12 years of processing all of that, which he was kind of willing to do slowly," says Kiedis. "Like, who are these people? What do they mean to me? What have we done together? What life do I want to live? Super smart. And I think he figured out that as difficult as that situation could be, it's just life and it's just an opportunity and it's just being in a band and maybe I can find a better way to do this."

Watch Kiedis' full interview with Zane Lowe below:

Red Hot Chili Peppers are on the cover of the current issue of Classic Rock magazine.

Speaking to NME earlier this year, Frusciante says that on Unlimited Love, the LA funk-rock veterans “feel fresh, like a new band.”

“I put a lot less of my ego [into it] than I had previously and I think that was true with everybody,” he said. “It wasn’t so much a competition thing as really wanting to give a part of ourselves to one another [and] being excited to listen to what the others were bringing in. Sometimes in the past, like on [2002’s] By The Way for example, or [his debut with the band] Mother’s Milk, one person would feel stifled at the expense of another. This time it felt very much like people who care about each other and are genuinely excited for everybody else to be the best that they can be.”

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.