The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 957: The long, strange trip of John Frusciante, part 2

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years dealing with musicians is that there are artists and artistes. Here’s how you tell them apart.

Artists make art, but also have other interests, pursuits, and abilities. Bono is an example of an artist. He’s the frontman of U2 but is also involved in politics, activism, tech, and a load of other things, all of which are done with an artistic flair and the soul of a performer.

Artistes also make art, but it’s all they do. They live to create art and are often not interested in (or ever very good at) anything else. To put a fine point on it, many of them are hopeless at navigating much of day-to-day life. That’s not judgment or criticism. It’s just how their brains are wired. They are on Earth with an almost supernatural ability to do little but create beauty through art.

But with this power comes pitfalls. They might have trouble with things we do all the time: handling money, shopping for groceries, keeping a schedule, or dealing with everyday social situations.

They also may have a predilection for conditions like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. Some may be somewhere on the autistic spectrum. More than a few may be prone to addictions involving alcohol, drums, and sex. And if they become well-known for their art, the insane pressure, crazy schedules, hedonistic lifestyle, and living in a bubble can exacerbate things until–well, until things get very, very bad.

I’ve met a few such artistes in my life and in my experience, there is no better example than John Frusciante, who, of course, is best known for his work in the Red Hot Chili Peppers. His life both in and out of the band–he’s joined three times and quite twice–has been very long and strange. Here’s part two of that story.

Songs heard on this show:

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, Around the World
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, Scar Tissue
  • John Frusciante, Going Inside
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, By the Way
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dani California
  • John Frusciante, Song to the Sire
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Summer
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tippa My Tongue

Eric Wilhite has prepared this playlist for us. 

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

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