I was lucky enough to attend this rare show. I had been hearing rumors that John was starting to play guitar again. I saw an add in the LA Weekly that John was going to play at Smalls one week prior to this show, but when I got there it got canceled for some reason.
One local at the bar said he'd let me know when the show was to be re-scheduled, as he too was a Frusciante fan.
He made good on his promise, I got a call from him Thursday evening saying John was playing tonight at Smalls with Bob Forrest.
I got in my car and drove 30 miles to Hollywood to see for myself if John was making a return to music. As we all know he played that show and ended up returning to the Red Hot Chili Peppers one year later. Also in attendance that night was Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots and Angelo Moore of Fishbone who was brought on stage for the encore of "Helter Skelter", a song John asked Angelo to sing. After the show John quickly grabbed his jacket and sneaked out the back door in a dash. Outside he talked to those who wished to speak to him (including myself). He was very nice and sweet. He mentioned that he and Flea were jamming again and to be on the look out for a side project they were doing with drummer Chris Warren (Bicycle Thief and Chad's right hand man).
I walked away that night knowing John would be doing great things with his music again.
Supportive and well wishing friends packed the Hollywood hangout bar Small's Thursday night to witness the first public performance by former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante since his much talked about harrowing battle with heroin addiction. For his coming out, Frusciante teamed with longtime friend Bob Forrest (Thelonious Monster) in a ferocious acoustic set that ultimately served as a valiant attempt to strum his demons away. Among those in attendance was Fishbone frontman Angelo Moore, who joined the duo late in the set for an inspired finale of "Helter Skelter." Most of the audience looked on hopefully as Frusciante, whose stint in the Chili Peppers coincided with their creative and commercial peaks a couple of years ago before repeated drug-related transgressions forced him out, displayed an impressive proficiency on guitar. He and Forrest delivered a dramatic set that ultimately proved inspiring to the sympathetic fans in attendance, and included acoustic renditions of the Peppers' "Under the Bridge," Stevie Nicks' "Landslide," and several original songs the two have written together.
Chili Peppers bassist Flea was strongly rumored to have appeared on this night, but did not show up. Look for Frusciante and Forrest to perform a more publicized show at L.A.'s famed Whisky in late February.
One cold dark night (at least by our standards) I traveled down to Melrose Ave. to see John play along with friend Bob Forest of Thelonious Monster fame at a too tiny bar called Smalls across the street from some network television studios. When I got there I found myself waiting for an hour and a half outide the pipsqueak pseudo club. While waiting I heard east LA latino homies Shoegazer roar through their loud set of punk tunes. By the time I got to the front of the line Bob and John were already on and I could here them playing a flawless version of "Under the Bridge". When I got inside the sweat soaked room I had to shove and squeeze my way to a spot where I could see them as there seem to be a lot of 6 foot plus geeks standing right in front of the tiny makeshift stage. What I saw was Bob standing in front of the mike singing while John accompanied him by hunching over an electro-acoustic guitar plugged into the previous band's amp (another Ampeg v4 halfstack). This time John seemed to be in a more casual mood as he strummed with a wide grin on his face (no teeth showing) and wearing a long sleeve henly under his dark blue t-shirt (possibly to cover up all those needle marks). For the last song Angelo Moore of Fishbone accompanied them by singing a stumbling version of "Helter Skelter" during which when John got to the guitar solo he stumbled all over the neck of his guitar attempting to pull some decent notes out of it. After the solo, the "sympathetic" (as someone called them) crowd clapped and hooted in bizarre apraisal (it seemed kinda fake to me). It was at this point that I rembered what the dude from the Viper Room had mumbled, chiefly that everyone "was kissing his ass." After this song John once again decided to call the show a night when he ran out of the sweathole to the open air of the outside parking lot. Bob kinda looked surprised and desserted as he told everyone goodnight. While outside John kicked back with a huge content grin on his mug in the lot as admirers and friends surrounded him while others just stared. I noticed that some girl next to him was wearing the hat that John wears on the cover of his album.