In a new interview with Broken Record (via ultimateguitar), John Frusciante has recalled how Flea “tricked” him into auditioning for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. when he almost became part of another band, Thelonious Monster.
In 1988, Frusciante met Flea through DH Danger (Dead Kennedys), who had served as the drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the time. The guitarist was a big fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and therefore ended up becoming great friends with the bassist and, in fact, ended up playing a couple of rehearsals with him and Peligro.
At the same time, Anthony Kiedis and Flea were looking for a new guitarist, all this after the tragic death of Hillel Slovak. The band, at that time, had DeWayne “Blackbyrd” McKnightwho had joined the band along with Peligro.
However, Flea, listening to Frusciante, realized that the guitarist had the necessary quality to join the Californian band. Now, John has recalled how Flea set up an “audition” to compare his playing to Blackbyrd’s…unbeknownst to Frusciante.
“I hadn’t auditioned yet. Flea told me she could try. And when she came back, and it never happened… Turns out there was an audition, but I didn’t know it was at the time it was taking place.”Frusciante recalls.
“Flea had had an idea, so one day I got a call from him. You know, we were friends at the time, we would see each other at parties, I would come to my girlfriend’s birthday or whatever. And one day, she calls me. The fact is that she says to me: ‘Hello uncle, I’m making some recordings. I’ve got a drum machine, how about coming over and playing some guitar?’ Of course I said yes. I went to his house”.
“We had three songs of him playing bass with auto-generated drums. I improvised the guitar parts, hooked up to the tape recorder and played. We had fun with that for a while. I think we watched some Funakdelic videos and then we were with his wife, Loesha”.
“And it turns out – and I only knew this long after Flea had done it – that he recorded Blackbyrd playing, improvising his guitar parts and all that on the same tape. And then he erased those parts and recorded me. So he had mixtures of the two and could compare which ones were better. I also didn’t know that after I left that night, Loesha said to Flea, ‘That’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist. He has to be your young guitarist.’”
However, Flea did not feel comfortable betraying his partner, so he recommended Frusciante for another gang: Thelonious Monster.
“Flea was feeling very guilty about leaving Blackbyrd. I guess even though I imagine I won the contest or whatever, a couple of weeks went by and nothing happened. And then one day, Flea calls me. And she tells me that Bob Forrest of Thelonious Monster is looking for guitar players and that things aren’t going well with Blackbyrd.”
“But he was like, ‘I’m not sure what’s going to happen with Blackbyrd or if it’s working. So I told Bob that he could keep your number. But I also warned him that I saw you first. If we decide we want you at Chili Peppers, I saw you first and he can’t be mad if I stay with you.”
“So I talked to Bob, I went to Thelonious Monster rehearsal, I auditioned, and they hired me right away. But the funny thing about that rehearsal was that Anthony Kiedis was there and he and Flea must have been like, ‘You should go to see this guy.” So Anthony was watching the whole time.
“I auditioned, and they hired me. So Anthony got out of there and left with Flea. And then they both called me at about six in the evening. ‘We’ve been talking about it a lot, and we’ve decided we’d like you to be the guitarist for the Chii Peppers. Is this what you want?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I want him more than anything in the world.
Frusciante would join Thelonious Monster, but his journey would not go very far. Flea and Kiedis didn’t want to be without him and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse:
“They had to sort out the ordeal of telling Blackbyrd and stuff. They wanted to make sure this was definitely what I wanted to do. asked me to join the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and that’s what I’m going to do.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I thought so.’”
“So I kept playing gigs with them, but I started rehearsing with the Chili Peppers a few weeks later. And at this point, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned DH Hazard, who I had been playing with, who introduced me to Flea – he was The drummer for The Red Hot Chili Peppers at this time. He also stopped playing with me when he joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
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John Frusciante Admits Flea ‘Tricked’ Him Into Red Hot Chili Peppers: He Almost Ended Up in Another Band
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