During an appearance on the Tuna on Toast With Stryker podcast, Klinghoffer described the pair's friendship as “pretty non-existent,” adding that “it’s been that way for 10 years".
Klinghoffer's tie to the Californian funk rockers goes beyond his subsequent recruitment, and actually first became friendly with Frusciante when his previous band, the Bicycle Thief, opened for them while they were touring in support of 1999's Californication.
Across the following years, Frusciante and Klinghoffer became extremely close, and collaborated on several projects, including four of Frusciante’s solo albums and one fully collaborative release, 2005’s A Sphere in the Heart of Silence.
“I spent a lot of time being friends with John when we were younger,” the guitarist explains. “He’s a very dedicated artist and musician. And we spent a lot of time together. And we made records together.”
When Klinghoffer was recruited by the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2009, however, their relationship started to turn sour. Two years prior, the rockers hired Klinghoffer as a touring musician, playing additional guitar, keyboards and backing vocal parts.
“He knew,” Klinghoffer explained, referring to Frusciante's being aware of who would be replacing him in the band. “There was talk about it before I joined. Because Flea had asked me, there was lots of discussion about it in the summer of that year (2009), but because of people traveling and just being on sort of summer holiday, we didn’t actually make sounds together until October.
“So, from July to October, I was in contact with John and he was in contact with them,” he continues. “And he was having a hard time with that fact that they could even consider going on without him.”
Describing the experience of then being replaced by Frusciante, who returned to the band in 2019, he says: "There was a bit of… It’s not like it was a monogamous relationship. Flea and John had been kinda hanging out and playing and stuff. They were fostering that relationship again. And I didn’t know that. It was sort of secret".
“I couldn’t be more grateful to them for all the experiences I’ve had with them,” the guitarist added. “My only regret is not making more music with them.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers released their comeback album with Frusciante, Unlimited Love, earlier this year.