Red Hot Chili Peppers' John Frusciante compares Genesis to The Beatles, praises Kurt Cobain and Eddie Van Halen

John Frusciante
(Image credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Red Hot Chili Peppers' mercurial guitarist John Frusciante discusses some of the influences on his playing on the band's new album Return of the Dream Canteen in a new interview with Guitar World, revealing that Genesis, Eddie Van Halen and Nirvana's Kurt Cobain all played a part in shaping the sound of the record.

Hailed by Classic Rock as "a tasty musical banquet", Return of the Dream Canteen is the LA quartet's second album of 2022, and a more expansive collection than its predecessor, Unlimited Love, largely thanks to Frusciante's ever-imaginative playing. And in his Guitar World interview, the Chili Peppers' prodigal son reveals some of the artists who influenced his contributions. 

Unsurprisingly, Frusciante mentions Eddie Van Halen when discussing the album's recent single, Eddie, the band's tribute to the late, great guitar hero.

“I really love guitar players like Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen for the way that they could make the instrument explode through hand and whammy bar techniques,” Frusciante tells Guitar World. “But I also really like the way people like [Black Flag's] Greg Ginn or Kurt Cobain play without it being so much about technique – although there are all kinds of unconventional techniques in there – but the focus is definitely a more visceral thing.

“Eventually, by the time we were recording, my concept was to find a bridge between those two conceptions of the instrument: that idea of making it explode with the electricity of the human energy that comes through the strings.”

Frusciante also reveals that Genesis influenced the album's third track, Handful, and compares keyboard player Tony Banks to The Beatles.

“I really love the band Genesis, their prog stuff, as well as their pop stuff,” Frusciante says. “And their keyboardist Tony Banks, I put him up there with the Beatles as far as really coming up with imaginative chord progressions all over the place. He's really one of the most masterful chordsmiths that I think we've ever had.

“He makes these chord progressions that are so fluid, they're more like a melody than they are a chord progression. I definitely became really fluent in that style of progression during the time that I wasn't in the band.”

You can read the full interview with Frusciante on guitarworld.com.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

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.