The Red Hot Chili Peppers Member Who Sabotaged Anthony Kiedis On Stage
The history of rock music is filled with rockers who decided not to continue with their career as it’s not unusual for many musicians to have a hard time keeping up with the fame that comes with the sudden success of their music. In most cases, numerous artists crave that fame but once it happens, the consequences can be much more tiring than expected.
In John Frusciante’s case, the guitar player found future’s one of the most successful bands at the young age of 18. Although Red Hot Chili Peppers didn’t gain popularity early in their music career, it was Frusciante’s second album with them when the band found itself under the radar of every record label, magazine, promoter, radio, and TV.
As a result, he struggled to deal with this new version of his life as a musician. Surprisingly, he tried to sabotage his own band, especially frontman Anthony Kiedis, as a coping mechanism which wasn’t the smartest choice as he did in on one of the most prestigious live shows out there, Saturday Night Live.
John Frusciante Tried To Ruin Anthony Kiedis’ Tempo
John Frusciante joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the young age of 18 after the death of guitarist Hillel Slovak and found himself in the middle of the band’s newfound popularity following the immense success of the band’s second studio album entitled ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik,‘ released on September 24, 1991.
The guitarist had a hard time dealing with the fame that came with the success as the album sold seven million copies in the US and more than 13 million worldwide. Frusciante was overwhelmed by the record’s triumph and preferred the level of success achieved from the band’s previous album, ‘Mother’s Milk.’
Since the musician was quite happy with headlining mid-sized venues and making music without endless mainstream media exposure, he abruptly left the band in 1992. However, his time with the band prior to this decision was quite challenging for the musician.
In fact, Frusciante had a rather different method to show his resentment toward the band’s hit, ‘Under the Bridge.’ During Red Hot Chili Peppers’ appearance on Saturday Night Live, the guitarist intentionally sabotaged Anthony Kiedis‘ performance by playing wrong notes, and indifferent octaves and keys.
In his memoir named ‘Scar Tissue,’ Kiedis opened up about the notorious SNL performance. The musician referred to the show as torture since he didn’t have any idea what key he was supposed to be singing in front of millions of people. Furthermore, he felt like he was betrayed by his own bandmate as he looked like he was the one singing wrong.
As Kiedis wrote in his book, Scar Tissue:
“I had no idea what song he was playing or what key he was in. He looked like he was in a different world. We were on live TV in front of millions of people, and it was torture. I started to sing in what I thought was the key, even if it wasn’t the key he was playing in.
I felt like I was getting stabbed in the back and hung out to dry in front of all of America while this guy was off in a corner in the shadow, playing some dissonant out-of-tune experiment. I thought he was doing that on purpose, just to f*ck with me.”
In 1998, John Frusciante completed drug rehabilitation and rejoined the band. His intention to ruin the SNL performance turned into an iconic moment for Red Hot Chili Peppers to his surprise as many fans commented under the performance, saying his initial purpose turned the song into a masterpiece.
You can watch the live performance below.