John Frusciante Channeled ‘70s Prog for ‘Dream Canteen’ Album

John Frusciante says that ‘70s progressive music influenced his contributions to the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album Return of the Dream Canteen.

The guitarist said some of the material he recorded was heavily inspired by the music he’d been exploring during his 10 years away from the band, to which he returned in 2019.

“I really love the band Genesis, their prog stuff, as well as their pop stuff,” he told Guitar World in new interview. “And their keyboardist, Tony Banks, I put him up there with the Beatles as far as really coming up with imaginative chord progressions all over the place. He’s really one of the most masterful chordsmiths that I think we’ve ever had.”

Adding that Banks’ work had been on his mind while he worked on the tracks “Handful” and “The Drummer,” Frusciante continued: “He makes these chord progressions that are so fluid, they’re more like a melody than they are a chord progression. I definitely became really fluent in that style of progression during the time that I wasn’t in the band.”

Listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Handful’

Turning to “Bag of Grins,” he said the Syd Barrett era of Pink Floyd had influenced his playing. “Syd Barrett began this sort of approach to being able to use regular major chords in a completely different way,” he explained. “Sometimes, when you learn the songs like that, you think, ‘That just seems arbitrary to put that chord next to that chord,’ but it really works in the song and the melody comes out great. I definitely wrote a lot of stuff inspired by that style of chord changes.”

Listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Bag of Grins’

Frusciante also spoke about “Eddie,” the band’s tribute to Eddie Van Halen. “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,” he said. “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 – [while] 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: that idea of making it explode with the electricity of the human energy that comes through the strings.”

Return of the Dream Canteen is out now.

Listen to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Eddie’

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