John Frusciante

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John Frusciante : biography

March 5, 1970 –

The first half of Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt was recorded shortly after the completion of Blood Sugar Sex Magik; the second half between late 1991 and early 1992, during the album’s tour. "Running Away Into You" is the only track recorded after he left the Chili Peppers. The album is a heavily experimental avant-garde composition whose initial purpose was spiritual and emotional expression: "I wrote [the record] because I was in a really big place in my head—it was a huge, spiritual place telling me what to do. As long as I’m obeying those forces, it’s always going to be meaningful. I could be playing guitar and I could say ‘Play something that sucks,’ and if I’m in that place, it’s gonna be great. And it has nothing to do with me, except in ways that can’t be understood." Frusciante further asserted that the album was meant to be experienced as a cohesive unit rather than separate entities or songs. Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt was released on Rick Rubin’s label American Recordings. Warner Bros., the Chili Peppers’ label, owned rights to the album because of the leaving-artist clause in Frusciante’s Chili Peppers contract. However, because he was reclusive, the label gladly handed the rights over to Rubin, who released the album at the urging of Frusciante’s friends.

An article in the New Times LA described Frusciante as "a skeleton covered in thin skin" who at the nadir of his addictions nearly died from a blood infection. His arms became fiercely scarred from improperly shooting heroin and cocaine, leaving permanent abscesses. He spent the next three years holed up in his Hollywood Hills home, the walls of which were badly damaged and covered in graffiti. During this time, his friends Johnny Depp and Gibby Haynes went to his house and filmed an unreleased documentary short called Stuff, depicting the squalor in which he was living. The house was eventually destroyed by a fire that claimed his vintage guitar collection along with several recorded tapes of music and left him with serious burns after he narrowly escaped.Di Perna, Alan (July, 2006). "Guided by Voices". Guitar World.

Frusciante released his second solo album, Smile from the Streets You Hold, in 1997. The album’s first track, "Enter a Uh", was largely characterized by cryptic lyrics and hysterical screeches. Frusciante also coughs throughout the track, showcasing his deteriorating health. By his own admission, the album was released in order to get "drug money"; he withdrew it from the market in 1999.

1997–2002: Rehabilitation and return to the Chili Peppers

In late 1997, after more than five years of addiction to heroin, Frusciante quit it cold turkey.Kiedis, Sloman, 2004. p. 407 However, months later he was still unable to break addictions to crack cocaine and alcohol. In January 1998, urged by longtime friend Bob Forrest, Frusciante checked into Las Encinas, a drug rehabilitation clinic in Pasadena, to begin a full recovery. Upon arrival, he was diagnosed with a potentially lethal oral infection, which could only be alleviated by removing all of his rotten teeth and replacing them with dental implants. He also received skin grafts to help repair the abscesses on his ravaged arms. About a month later, Frusciante checked out of Las Encinas and re-entered society.Kiedis, Sloman, 2004. p. 408

Fully recovered and once again healthy, Frusciante began living a more spiritual, ascetic lifestyle. He changed his diet, becoming more health-conscious and eating mostly unprocessed foods. Through regular practice of vipassana and yoga, he discovered the effect that self-discipline has on the body. To maintain his increased spiritual awareness and reduce distraction from his music, Frusciante decided to abstain from sexual activity stating: "I’m very well without it." All of these changes in his life have led him to a complete change in his attitude toward drugs:"Water Music". Rock Sound #21