MUSIC: John Frusciante

posted by dpm on 03/05/2009

Musicians, like athletes have peaks and valleys in their performance.  Almost two decades ago, John Frusciante and his band mates, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, rocketed to the top of music charts worldwide with the release of Blood Sugar Sex Magic.  Shortly after the albums release Frusciante quit the band, overwhelmed by their success and fell into severe depression.  For the next few years, holed away in his crumbling home, he fed his addiction to heroin, only to will himself to health years later. 

Since his recovery Frusciante has recommitted himself to song writing with a fervor only matched by few others.  Along with his numerous successful albums with the Chili Peppers, he has released nearly a dozen albums of his own creation, all of a distinct feel and quality.  From the acoustic and simplistic Curtains to his heavily electronic A Sphere in the Heart of Silence, his borderline manic ability to write and produce music is truly inspiring.

In his most recent release, The Empyrean, Frusciante rises to another level pulling numerous styles into one package.  Soulful vocals, virtuoso yet humble guitar work, and tasteful sampling are all rooted in varied song structures paired with poetic lyrics from a musician who's literally been through it all. 

Frusciante's genius lies in his ability to bear his soul through the music he creates.  This is anything but pop.  The glitter, polish and neon lights are nowhere to be found.  Like most of his work, The Empyrean has an experimental feel to it.  One gets the sense that he's literally playing with different techniques and instruments, yet simultaneously, these songs have solid direction and a sense of intent to their design. 

Creation is an energy sapping process not for the faint of heart.  The best music, and art as a whole, is birthed from those who devote themselves to the creative process.   Diving deep within facing their own entirety, they emerge at the surface bearing something magical that at its best penetrates back to those depths within the community that they gift their creations to.