Josh is Out, John is In – Peppers go Back to the Old Formula

Author: GroundGuitar Dan

As a surprise to pretty much everyone aside from the band members themselves, Flea recently announced on his Instagram account that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are about to make some changes. Exactly ten years after his second departure from the band, the guitarist John Frusciante is set to return!

Flea’s statement posted as an Instagram story on his personal profile.

Why the change?

Exactly what caused this change in the band is at this time unknown. Most fans that followed John in the years after he left the Peppers, probably felt like John would absolutely never return. It seemed like he wanted to experiment with different genres of music, and at some point, he even announced that he’s not playing guitar pretty much at all anymore. It just seemed like he no longer wanted to be a guitarist. The whole Rock and Roll thing was in the past, he moved on.

But, whatever the reason, the Red Hot Chili Peppers certainly were the most successful with John on the guitar – so it feels right to have him back. While you have to give credit to Hillel Slovak, who was the founding member of the Peppers, and the rest that went through the band, including of course Josh Klinghoffer, the band just seems to function the best when John is around.

All of the band’s “anthems” like Californication, Otherside, Under the Bridge, and Dani California were written during the period when John was in the band. And, if you take a look at RHCP’s YouTube page, these songs are still the most popular among the fans. The two albums with Josh did have a few hits, but the amount was nowhere close to the previous three albums.

Snapshot of the band’s YouTube page circa late 2019. Most popular still are the song recorded during John’s time as a guitarist.

Will John’s setup and equipment remain the same?

It’s very exciting to see how the band will sound when they eventually start releasing new stuff. As someone who likes to read about gear, I’m personally most curious whether anything will change in John’s setup.

Up until his departure from the band, John has been relying pretty heavily on vintage Fender Stratocasters. His favorite guitar on the three last albums was the 1962 Fender Stratocaster – which he bought when he re-joined the band in 1998. After he left the band, we’ve seen him use a bit more modern Yamaha guitars with humbuckers. It seemed like he wanted to change his sound, but it’s interesting to see whether he wants to do that with the band too.

John’s guitar and amp setup during the Slane Castle concert. On the photo, he’s using a vintage Fender Telecaster, two Silver Jubilees and a Marshall Super Bass amp sitting between them. Photo source: YouTube

I personally expect a bit more modern sound and probably a lot more digital instruments than before. I also expect the Stratocaster to remain his main tool when it comes to guitars, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he decided to experiment in that regard too.

As things unfold, and photos from the rehearsals start to appear, John’s Gear Page will be updated in case he adds new stuff to his setup – so keep an eye for that. In case you come across any news yourself, please be sure to post it in the comments below.