“Maybe it’s like this thing where you become a super accomplished painter and start doing naive daubs like kids”
May 23, 2023 | 12:34 p.m. ET
Darkness singer Justin Hawkins is often outspoken on his podcast, “Justin Hawkins Rides Again,” and now he’s taking aim at John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, calling his guitar “shit” and comparing it to childish paintings.
Hawkins’ remarks come from a recent episode of his podcast called “How NOT to Write a Song,” in which he and guest Pat Finnerty (from the YouTube series What makes this song stink) got down to Frusciante as part of a two-hour long conversation.
“My problem with Red Hot Chili Peppers is that I don’t get anything from John Frusciante’s guitar playing,” Hawkins said, responding to the negative comments he gets from RHCP fans whenever he talks about the band on his podcast. . “I feel like if we can call Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits) an underrated player, I would describe John Frusciante as an overrated player. In fact, I’ve done it more than once.
Regarding his specific qualms with Frusciante’s style, Hawkins demonstrated a few guitar notes on close acoustics: “He doesn’t give me any of the… (single-note vibrato); it does like that… (single note without vibrato).
To back up the point, Finnerty cited Frusciante’s “dinky” guitar solos on Californication while Hawkins elaborated.
“Someone told me it was deliberately minimalist,” Hawkins continued. “Maybe it’s like this thing where you become a super accomplished painter and start doing naïve daubs like kids, and that’s your phase. I think maybe that was one of the things he was exploring, but that doesn’t stop him from being crap.
The Darkness frontman also clarified that his opinion of Frusciante didn’t stem from jealousy over the RHCP guitarist’s success. “It’s always like, ‘You’re jealous because he sold more records than you.’ And it’s like, well, Mark Knopfler has sold a lot more, more, more records than I have, and I’m not jealous of him. I love his guitar playing. So that argument doesn’t really hold up. road.
Hawkins continued to praise Frusciante’s tone and choice of guitars — his collection of “old, old, old” Fender Stratocasters — but the compliments ended there.
You can watch the full clip of Hawkins and Finnerty discussing Frusciante’s guitar playing below.