I read somewhere recently that John Frusciante is giving up making music for public consumption. The dude is a bit hard to follow musically and personally in part because he’s so goddamn mercurial and a good chunk of his solo stuff is on par with Metal Machine Music. Prior to this, the last I heard was he was making electronic music.
It’s a shame because, he was without a doubt the best thing that ever happened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Ironically, the very thing that makes him frustrating as a solo artist is the same thing that elevated the Red Hot Chili Peppers from becoming a running joke.
I’ve always thought that 2002’s By the Way never really got its fair share of accolades, because it’s not a traditional RHCP record. Only two of the songs contain their trademark funk-rock, while the rest is sprinkled with elements of psychedelic surf-pop. This can change of sound can be directly attributed to Frusciante and it led to some clashes between him and Flea.
One of the highlights for me is the surf-rock gem, “Minor Thing” that appears near the end of the album. Its layered sound and uptempo (but not aggressive) sound perfectly captures the feeling of a late summer evening on the beach. It’s almost impossible not to feel the warm orange sun descending into the horizon over the ocean as Frusciante’s pretty, yet sparse chords play during the verses. His short solo during the bridge is one last look off into the sky as the last rays of the sun hit the sky. But it’s the concluding riff that truly makes the song special. For the last minute, the entire band locks together letting Frusciante repeat the same riff over and over again as day finally turns into evening.