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To Record Only Water for Ten Days

John Frusciante

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Album Review

With the opening kick of a simple but loud drum machine beat and multiple full-throttle guitar wails over the top, it quickly becomes apparent that John Frusciante has also given a swift kick to his heroin addiction. Hard drugs left the Red Hot Chili Peppers' guitarist derailed, deranged, and near death before an L.A. Weekly reporter detailed his frail state in a chilling story, moving some friends to help Frusciante check into a rehab center. He got off drugs and rejoined the Peppers in time to help Californication become a critical and popular success in 1999. In his time off from the band, however, Frusciante released two solo records, which he later admitted were made for drug money. Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-Shirt and Smile From the Streets You Hold displayed an intriguingly dark departure from the Peppers' polished funky punk. The scratchy and naked lo-fi ramblings reveled in the art of voyeuristic discomfort. And while some of the results displayed intense, edge-teetering freakouts, ragged beauty, or bleak intelligence — celebrating the idea that the process and development of a song can sometimes be just as engaging as the "finished" product — others simply unraveled into crumbs of little or no value. To Record Only Water for Ten Days, however, is made up of 15 "legitimate" songs. The whole is still quite simple — stellar guitar work, impressive vocal range, drum machine, and minimal effects — but it's a much healthier and "together" sound. Still a departure from the Peppers, To Record has an overall almost goth-like singer/songwriter vibe, at times colliding into rock catharsis. But Frusciante hasn't forgotten his shaky past, utilizing similarly abstract and slightly disturbed lyricism: "Where you go doesn't matter/Cuz there will come a time/When time goes out the window/And you'll learn to drive out of focus/I'm you and if anything unfolds/It's supposed to." Although most fans will no doubt be relieved that Frusciante has pieced his life back together, appreciators of the "falling apart" aspect of his past work might be disappointed by To Record's more accessible, less collapsible sturdiness. Even the look of the record is excessively clean, with a simple two-color design and all-caps block letters.

Biography

Born: 05 March 1970 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Guitarist John Frusciante has experienced both colossal highs and death-defying lows in both his musical career and personal life. Born in 1970 and raised in California, Frusciante dropped out of high school when guitar playing and rock music took hold of the up-and-coming musician/songwriter. Embracing both the unpredictable side of rock (Frank Zappa, Steve Vai, King Crimson, Funkadelic) and punk (the Germs, Black Flag), Frusciante created his own guitar style — combining both technical skill...
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To Record Only Water for Ten Days, John Frusciante
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