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John Frusciante talks new Red Hot Chili Peppers music: ‘It’s just returning to family’

John Frusciante
(Image credit: Aura T-09)

Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante has a new solo album, Maya, out today (October 23), but he hasn’t been neglecting his day job. Following an enforced time-out due to strict quarantine restrictions in California, the guitarist reveals that he and his RHCP bandmates Anthony Kiedis, Flea and Chad Smith are rehearsing and writing together once more.

“We were rehearsing for a couple months, then the quarantine started, and we stopped rehearsing for a couple months, then we went back to rehearsing,” Frusciante reveals in a new interview with Australian radio station Double J. “We’re moving ahead with what we’re doing, writing new music.”

“It’s just returning to family,” the guitarist said of his decision to rejoin the group once again in December. “I’m extremely comfortable with those people. It was as if no time had gone by at all when we started playing, pretty much, with a couple of minor exceptions, like how Chad [Smith] and I gradually got our communication together in a new way.”

“Basically, we’re all just as comfortable with each other as we ever were, and it just felt like that right off the bat.”

Maya, titled in tribute to the guitarist’s recently deceased cat, is an instrumental album influenced by 1991 - 1996 jungle, hardcore and breakbeat music, says Frusciante. Asked whether his solo influences would find their way into the new Chili Peppers’ material, the guitarist suggested not.

“That’s what I do on my own,” he said. “I’ve tried to do some of that kind of thing myself, breakbeats but with a rock music chord progression or whatever. I just think it’s kind of cheesy, and that’s not what I’m trying to do with the Chili Peppers.”

Frusciante released a third single from Maya, Brand E, earlier this week.

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.