John Frusciante On Finding A Bridge Between Eddie Van Halen And Kurt Cobain
Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante recently joined Total Guitar for an interview and revealed how he tried to establish a bridge between the guitar-playing techniques of Eddie Van Halen and Kurt Cobain.
Frusciante rejoined RHCP in 2019 after Josh Klinghoffer left. This was news that their fanbase had been waiting for so long, and exciting them more, the band announced a new album with Frusciante in 2020. Sadly, the global pandemic interrupted their plans, and the recordings were delayed.
On April 1, Red Hot Chili Peppers released their long-awaited studio album ‘Unlimited Love.’ This album was Frusciante’s first music effort with the band since 2006’s ‘Stadium Arcadium,’ so the guitarist dedicated himself to this record. According to Frusciante, his bandmates also encouraged him to do more songs.
In a recent interview with Total Guitar, John Frusciante talked about his guitar influences for the ‘Unlimited Love’ album. He stated that Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen used hand and whammy bar techniques to explode their guitar while Greg Ginn or Kurt Cobain played the instrument without focusing on technique.
Frusciante then said he tried to find a bridge between these two conceptions by Cobain and Eddie Van Halen while recording ‘Unlimited Love.’ The guitarist added that he had the idea of making the guitar explode with human energy and using the full range of his guitar.
In the interview with Total Guitar, John Frusciante said the following:
“I really love guitar players like Randy Rhoads and Eddie Van Halen for the way that they could make the instrument explode through hand and whammy bar techniques. But I also really like the way people like Greg Ginn or Kurt Cobain play without it being so much about technique – although there are all kinds of unconventional techniques in there – the focus is definitely a more visceral thing.
Eventually, by the time we were recording, my concept was to find a bridge between those two conceptions of the instrument: the idea of making it explode with the electricity of the human energy that comes through the strings. And also, using the full range of the instrument in terms of the types of techniques that, while Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads did a lot to develop them, I see them all as being rooted in what Jeff Beck did on ‘Blow By Blow’ and ‘Wired.’”
Eddie Van Halen is famous for his tapping guitar solo technique, which allows him to play rapid arpeggios with his two hands on the fretboard. On the other hand, Kurt Cobain is not known for a specific guitar technique — playing guitar was more of an expression for him.