Red Hot Chili Peppers' John Frusciante once phoned Perry Farrell to ask, "How do you get snakes out of your eyes?"

John Frusciante and Perry Farrell
(Image credit: John Frusciante - Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global / Perry Farrell - Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Dobel Tequila -)

Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante once phoned Jane's Addiction vocalist Perry Farrell at seven o'clock in the morning to seek the singer's advice on how to remove snakes from his eyes.

It may not need spelling out, but Frusciante was using drugs heavily at this time in his life.

In Whores, Brendan Mullen's oral history of Jane's Addiction, the guitarist reveals that he took heroin for the first time in 1991 on the night of what was then the LA band's final Californian show, and that, after he made the conscious decision to become a drug addict, Perry Farrell was one of the very few people whose advice on drugs use he trusted and respected. 

"I couldn't get any enjoyment about being alive anymore," Frusciante recalled of the time. "Being on heroin and cocaine all the time, I felt like myself again."

"I once called Perry at like seven in the morning and said, How do you get snakes out of your eyes? He said, 'What?' I said, There are snakes in my eyes, how do I get rid of them? I'd be looking in my bathroom mirror at these little snakes in my eyes. I'd even hear them talk, they'd make weird little noises and stuff. A snake would poke his head out and I'd try to grab it. I'd be reaching in my eyes trying to pull 'em out. I fucked with my eyes so much doing this. I'd sit in the bathroom doing it for hours at at a time. My eyes were just shutting on their own and I'd struggle to pull 'em open. No use."

"I called Perry and told him, The snakes have shut my eyes. Perry told me I was off balance, something about too much yin and not enough yang. Perry gave me goggles after that. That was my outfit when I would go up on the roof to wage war against the ghosts. I would have my goggles on and my ski mask, and every part of my body covered. No holes... You couldn't get into me on any level anywhere."

As Frusciante recalls, Farrell did his best to talk the guitarist out of using drugs.

"Perry completely convinced me to stop," he told Mullen, "and then he said, 'Okay, let's get you to the hospital right now.' I had this bag of about an ounce of Persian heroin, and about an ounce of cocaine, and I was just doing as much as I could in the hospital parking lot. Finally we go in and Perry was like... saying to the nurses, 'Listen, I'm going to be really honest with you, he's really on a lot of drugs right now, so why don't you wait on giving him any medication'."

Happily, Frusciante is now clean, and enjoying a highly successful third spell with the Chili Peppers.

The Los Angeles band kick off a new world tour on March 29 at BC Place in Vancouver, BC, and will go on to play stadium shows and festivals across North America and Europe. 

They'll be making stops in Las Vegas, San Diego, Houston, Lisbon, Madrid, Vienna and more before signing off on the tour with a show at Glasgow's Hampden Park on July 23. 

The Strokes, Iggy Pop, The Roots, The Mars Volta and St. Vincent are among the support acts who'll join the band at various shows.

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. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.