Frusciante was speaking to Tim Shiels of the Australian digital radio station Double J about a range of topics, including his recovery from drug addiction, his late cat Maya, and how electronic music changed his perspective on the guitar.
But the big news is that the Chilis are in writing mode. There are no titles or word of a release date. Like most bands around the world, the pandemic temporarily shut down the sessions.
"We were rehearsing for a couple of months and then the quarantine started, and then we stopped rehearsing for a couple of months and then we went back to rehearsing," he said. "We are moving ahead with what we are doing and writing new music.”
Frusciante rejoined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2019 and played his first show on 8 February 2020, at memorial service for late film producer Andrew Burkle. He said being back was like "returning to family."
In a September interview with Modern Drummer Chad Smith talked about the positive mood in the camp after Frusciante's return, and how the band had locked themselves in a room to write after their run of live dates were cancelled due to the pandemic.
"Having John come back into our group is a new shot of energy," said Smith. "We’ve been in and out of each other’s lives since 1988, and it’s been ten years since we played with John, but during that time we all continued to grow as people and as musicians."
Frusciante didn't go into as much detail as Smith – who mentioned Rick Rubin as a potential producer – but he did say that writing electronic music and sequencing drums had given him a new appreciation of Smith's talents behind the kit.
“I am in involved in the drums in a different way than I have been," said Frusciante. "Chad and I have an interactive thing, different than we did before. Before, I didn’t even know the difference between a ride cymbal and a crash cymbal. Now, I am a drummer in my own way through breakbeats and drum machines, so a lot of the drums are crazier than what we have done before."
Just don't expect electronic elements to creep into the Chilis' material. Frusciante promises that "drum ’n’ bass pop music" is not on the menu.
Though, just at did when the Chilis were writing Californication, electronic music – and specifically its capability to go beyond what a human player can do – is inspiring him to get more from his instrument.
"What I found exciting when I started playing with them and still am finding exciting, is just seeing what I can do with a guitar," he said. "That idea of how many different worlds that you could pull out of a Stratocaster."