John Frusciante On Eddie Van Halen: ‘He Was A Team Player’
In a recent interview with Guitar World, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ recent returnee John Frusciante spoke about guitar players in other bands and their duties. Although Eddie Van Halen had a striking image, his guitar playing made Van Halen sound better.
John Frusciante joined RHCP when he was only 18 and became their iconic guitarist. However, he quit twice to overcome his heroin addiction and again in 2009 to focus on his solo work. He recently delighted their dedicated fans by joining again in 2019, replacing Josh Klinghoffer. In April, RHCP released ‘Unlimited Love,’ their twelfth studio album and the first with John in ten years.
The guitarist is known to be one of the greatest guitar players in today’s rock scene. His playing style gave the band their signature recognizable guitar sound and had a special connection with each band member. Even though RHCP and their audience also loved Josh as a member, Frusciante’s rejoining made most fans happy and the band.
Recently he talked about guitarists and their abilities in a conversation. Frusciante stated that most people assume that a good guitarist must draw attention. Still, he disagreed and said that great guitarists make the band sound good instead of being flashy and seeking attention. The rocker mentioned an exception to this matter, Eddie Van Halen. The Van Halen guitarist draws attention, but he also successfully fulfills the duty of making the rest of the instruments sound good.
Here is what Frusciante said about Eddie Van Halen:
“Too often, people assume that a guitar player’s worth comes from their ability to draw attention to themselves. And there are a lot of great guitar players who are great at drawing attention to themselves.
But to me, the essential thing that those people have, those other people who don’t draw attention to themselves like Bernard Sumner in Joy Division, or Syd Barrett, or Johnny Thunders or Matthew Ashman from Bow Wow Wow or John McGeoch in Siouxsie and the Banshees, to me, what they have in common with Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads and Jimi Hendrix is that they knew how to be a member of a band and make everybody else sound better. They knew how to be team players.
Yeah, Eddie Van Halen happened to have a flashy style, but he was a great rhythm guitar player, and he made those drums sound great. He made that bass sound great. He made the singer sound great. To me, it really doesn’t matter how much technique you have; the real skill in being a guitar player is in making the rest of the band sound good.“
Eddie Van Halen is arguably one of the greatest guitar players in the world, and with Van Halen, he reached global success. Hence, his death in 2020 was very saddening for his band, family, and fans. After his death, the band broke up, and all the members ventured off to play for their solo careers or with various acts.