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Former RHCP Axeman John Frusciante Streams Music For Free

The American musician releases 18 assorted unreleased tracks, writes an open letter dissing “sell-out” musicians who only like to monetize their music

Nabeela Shaikh Nov 27, 2015
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John Frusciante, best known as the former guitarist of American funk rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers, recently released a collection of his solo work for free. Photo by Edimilson Neto/Common Creatives.

Marketing gimmick or maverick move? In an age where music piracy threatens the revenue of even the most established among musicians, former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante has turned the tables on music freeloaders. The guitarist-turned-music-producer recently released a collection of his experimental acid house collections for free download, accompanied by an open letter that justified his gesture by saying “art is a matter of giving.”

His latest ”˜release’ is actually a combination of 18 assorted track releases by the musician on his BandCamp and SoundCloud pages. The letter went on to detail the mish-mash of various tracks ”” a six-song playlist that includes “a bunch of weird anti-rock guitar solo,” tunes composed from 2009 to 2011, a complete re-release of Sect In Sgt, and miscellaneous adaptations and solo recordings.

He writes:

“When someone releases music on a label, they are selling it, not giving it. Art is a matter of giving. Recording artists have been “giving” the public music by selling it to them for so long that we now think of sell-outs as dedicated musicians who love their audience so much that they aggressively sell them products, and sell themselves as an image and personality to this audience on a regular basis just as aggressively. Sell-outs is an antiquated term which, when I was a kid, referred to artists who love making money more than they love making music. The word indicated a lack of artistic integrity. Sell-outs suck, in my opinion. It’s a shame it’s become so normal, expected, and acceptable to be one. When I was a teenager it was very common for people who loved music to insult a recording artist for being, or becoming, a sell-out. I believe that this was a very healthy instinct on the part of music lovers. 

 Giving people music for free online being so common these days is a good reminder that artistic expression is always a matter of giving, not taking, or selling. Selling is the making money part, and artistic expression, creation, is the giving part. They are distinct from one another, and it is my conviction that music should always be made because one loves music, regardless of whether one plans on selling it or not. Creation is the source of life, while making money is what people do for food, clothing, shelter, necessities, and comfort in some cases, and to exercise their greed in others. 

 It is my pleasure to give you this music. Sometimes I will announce here on my site that I have posted music in these places, and other times I will not. Any music I stream from here on my site will now be linked to my Soundcloud page.”

Earlier this year, John Frusciante released his first-full length self-titled album under the alias Trickfinger, a follow-up to his two-track debut mini-EP Sect in Sgt in 2012. But contrary to the perfectly jerky, distortion-driven fretwork that shaped American funk rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers’ sound for the better half of their discography, Frusciante tried his hand at synths and sample-based music. The result is an experiment with acid house as restless and intricately woven as his guitar work.                                                                       

Read the entire letter here.

Stream Frusciante’s ”˜bunch of unreleased music’ on SoundCloud and Bandcamp.

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