Responding to recent rumors, guitarist John Frusciante confirmed on his MySpace page on Wednesday that he has left the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the second time, and actually did so long ago.
“When I quit the band, over a year ago, we were on an indefinite hiatus,” wrote Frusciante, who was a member of the band from 1988 until 1992, rejoining in 1997 following treatment for drug addiction. “There was no drama or anger involved, and the other guys were very understanding. They are supportive of my doing whatever makes me happy, and that goes both ways.”
Frusciante, who has released 10 solo albums over the past 15 years — the most recent one, The Empyrean, in January of this year — said that his departure came as a result of oft-cited “musical differences” with his bandmates. Spokespeople for the band’s management and record label did not return requests for comment at press time.
“To put it simply, my musical interests have led me in a different direction,” the 39-year-old guitar virtuoso explained. “Upon rejoining, and throughout my time in the band, I was very excited about exploring the musical possibilities inherent in a rock band, and doing so with those people in particular. A couple of years ago, I began to feel that same excitement again, but this time it was about making a different kind of music, alone, and being my own engineer.”
During his two stints in the Chili Peppers, beginning when he was just 18, Frusciante contributed to some of the band’s most beloved, commercially successful albums, including 1989’s Mother’s Milk and its commercial breakthrough follow-up, 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik. He returned for 1999’s Californication, 2002’s By the Way and 2006’s Stadium Arcadium. His expressive solos and soulful harmonies were a staple of the group’s funk/punk/pop sound.
In between his sessions with the band, Frusciante continued to release avant-garde solo projects, such as 2001’s To Record Only Water for Ten Days, as well as two albums with a short-lived side project called Ataxia.
After the grueling tour in support of Stadium Arcadium, the band announced an indefinite hiatus in 2007. In the interim, drummer Chad Smith participated in a successful album and tour with the rock supergroup Chickenfoot, bassist Flea decided to enroll at the University of Southern California , and singer Anthony Kiedis announced that he was developing an HBO series loosely based on his life.
“I really love the band and what we did,” Frusciante said of his two stints with the Peppers. “I understand and value that my work with them means a lot to many people, but I have to follow my interests. For me, art has never been something done out of a sense of duty. It is something I do because it is really fun, exciting, and interesting. Over the last 12 years, I have changed, as a person and artist, to such a degree that to do further work along the lines I did with the band would be to go against my own nature. There was no choice involved in this decision. I simply have to be what I am, and have to do what I must do.”
No replacement for Frusciante has been announced, though the Peppers reportedly began work on their untitled 10th album earlier this year and are slated to perform on January 29 at the MusiCares tribute to Neil Young in Los Angeles alongside Elton John, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, James Taylor, Norah Jones, Dave Matthews, Wilco and Jack Black.