Anthony Kiedis Explains Why RHCP Members Let John Frusciante Leave The Second Time

Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis looked back on when their guitarist John Frusciante left the band the second time in 2009. Apparently, the band wasn’t surprised to hear his decision and didn’t try to convince him to stay since his departure was for the best for everyone.

John Frusciante first joined Red Hot Chili Peppers at the very young age of 19, following the passing of guitarist Hillel Slovak. He appeared on the band’s fourth studio album entitled ‘Mother’s Milk,’ released on August 16, 1989. However, their breakthrough came when his second album with the band named ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik‘ was released on September 24, 1991.

The record peaked at no. 3 on the US Billboard 200 and produced the hit singles ‘Under the Bridge,’ ‘Give It Away,’ ‘Suck My Kiss,’ and more. The album propelled the band into worldwide popularity and critical acclaim. Though many musicians would enjoy such mainstream popularity, Frusciante was overwhelmed by the band’s newfound fame and left in 1992.

After he departed from the band, the guitarist had a period during which he became a recluse and entered a period of heroin addiction. In addition to this, he released his first two solo albums entitled ‘Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt’ and ‘Smile from the Streets You Hold.’ After his drug rehabilitation, Frusciante rejoined RHCP in 1998 and released iconic albums, including the 1999 album ‘Californication.’

Though it looked as if Frusciante was eager to stay with the band this time, the guitarist ended up leaving the Chili Peppers once again in 2009. His primary reason was to focus on his solo work. He didn’t leave the band on bad terms as Frusciante collaborated with his former bandmates Flea and John Klinghoffer for his tenth solo album entitled ‘The Empyrean,’ released on January 20, 2009.

Because Anthony Kiedis and Flea weren’t happy with their work with Klinghoffer, they asked their former bandmate to return. A decade after his second departure, John Frusciante reunited with Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2019, thanks to their undeniable chemistry as bandmates and musicians.

During a recent conversation in the new issue of Classic Rock, Anthony Kiedis reflected on John Frusciante’s second departure from the band. Apparently, the guitarist made it clear that he didn’t want to continue working with the band anymore. Therefore, it wasn’t a big surprise when he informed his bandmates about leaving RHCP.

Instead of confronting their bandmate and convincing him to stay, both Kiedis and Flea decided to understand and respect Frusciante’s final decision. According to the frontman, the guitarist’s second leave was a relief for Red Hot Chili Peppers members and Frusciante himself, which shows that it was probably the best decision to be made at that time.

Kiedis said about Frusciante’s second leave:

“John was very absolute about not wanting to do this anymore. So when he told Flea and me, there wasn’t even that moment where we were, like, ‘Come on, we can work it out.’ We were, like, ‘We understand, it’s obvious it’s not where you want to be.‘ I would say relief was probably the most descriptive word for everybody, including John.”

It appears that the Red Hot Chili Peppers members were close enough to understand each other’s needs and didn’t prioritize their careers. Fortunately for them and their fans, their bond always brings them together regardless of their time away from each other.