In a recent podcast episode featuring The Darkness frontman and renowned YouTuber Justin Hawkins, a spirited discussion unfolded concerning the musical prowess of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ John Frusciante. Not one to mince words, Hawkins boldly proclaimed that Frusciante is, in his opinion, an “overrated” guitarist. Delving deeper into the subject, he shed light on the seemingly sensitive nature exhibited by the band’s fervent fanbase whenever any critique is directed towards their esteemed guitarist.
Accompanying Hawkins in this candid conversation was none other than Pat Finnerty, a fellow YouTuber acclaimed for his series titled “What Makes This Song Stink.” Both Hawkins and Finnerty share an unapologetic demeanor when it comes to expressing their honest opinions, and they have not shied away from voicing their criticisms of Frusciante in the past. Finnerty, in fact, dedicated an entire episode of his “Stinkers” series to deconstructing the Chili Peppers’ hit track “Dani California,” a testament to his audacious stance.
Turning their attention towards the Chili Peppers’ prodigal son, Hawkins embarked on a line of inquiry that scrutinized the perceived hypersensitivity exhibited by the band’s devoted followers.
Hawkins stated (as transcribed by Guitar World): “Why are the Red Hot Chili Peppers fans so sensitive? The videos that we do on them receive a lot of’ ‘critique’ from RHCP fans. My issue with Red Hot Chili Peppers is that I get nothing from John Frusciante’s guitar playing. I feel like if we can call Mark Knopfler an underrated player, I would describe John Frusciante as an overrated player. In fact, I have done that, more than once.”
Obviously, this didn’t sit well.
He continued: “It’s always like, ‘You’re jealous because he sold more records than you have.’ And it’s like, well, Mark Knopfler has sold a lot more, more, more records than me, and I’m not jealous of him. I love his guitar playing. So that argument doesn’t really hold any water.”
Perhaps the worst part is when Pat would agree and chime in: “I don’t know why [Frusciante] is so revered. I feel like whoever’s listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers only listens to the Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
Then, Hawkins would make a very bold statement about John’s guitar playing.
He said: “He doesn’t give me any of the… [plays a single note vibrato]. He goes like this… [plays a single note without vibrato]. Somebody said to me it’s deliberately minimalist. Maybe it’s like that thing where you become a super-accomplished painter and start doing some naive child-like daubings, and that’s your phase. I think that might have been one of the things he was exploring, but it doesn’t stop it from being s*it.”
When I think of John Frusciante, and this is coming from not a huge Chili Peppers fan, but someone who can appreciate the band – I absolutely do not think of anything lifeless at all within John’s guitar playing.