December 17, 2009 / 6:05 PM / 10 years ago

Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist quits, again

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante has confirmed he quit the chart-topping funk-rock band for a second time, claiming that “my musical interests have led me in a different direction.”

Anthony Kiedis and John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers chat between takes of taped performance at ReAct Now - Music & Relief special in Los Angeles. Anthony Kiedis (L) and John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers chat between takes of their taped performance at the "ReAct Now: Music & Relief" special at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, September 10, 2005. REUTERS/Chris Pizzello

Frusciante, 39, first left the group in 1992, ended up as a homeless heroin addict who lost all his teeth, and then rejoined five years later.

He revealed his latest departure on his Web site on Wednesday, saying that he actually split over a year ago while the band was on hiatus.

“There was no drama or anger involved, and the other guys were very understanding. They are supportive of my doing whatever makes me happy and that goes both ways,” said Frusciante, who has released 10 decidedly non-commercial solo albums over the years.

Singer Anthony Kiedis, bass player Michael “Flea” Balzary and drummer Chad Smith are reportedly in the studio recording a follow-up to the group’s Grammy-winning 2006 album “Stadium Arcadium.” There was no official word on Frusciante’s replacement.

Frusciante joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers after the 1988 overdose death of original guitarist Hillel Slovak, and recorded the albums “Mother’s Milk” (1989) and “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” (1991).

The latter turning the band into global stars, thanks to hits such as “Under the Bridge” and “Give It Away.” But the fame overwhelmed Frusciante, and he quit mid-tour in 1992 to feed his incipient heroin addiction.

Reports at the time described his skeletal state, covered in scars, abscesses and cigarette burns and reeking of excrement. Remarkably, he did not die and eventually ended up in rehab.

The band, meanwhile, had lost its way after replacing Frusciante with a succession of guitarists including Jane’s Addiction veteran Dave Navarro, and eagerly brought him back into the fold to record its 1999 comeback “Californication.”

Frusciante said in his statement that he was proud of his worth with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but continuing to work in that musical vein would go against his nature.

“There was no choice involved in this decision. I simply have to be what I am, and have to do what I must do.”

Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Jill Serjeant

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