Let’s look at this whole P thing in a different light. In the not so distant past I’ve come down pretty hard on the members of P, specifically Johnny Depp. I still don’t fully understand the significance of their song, Michael Stipe, but I do believe that River was behind their formation. P may very well stand for Phoenix but not in the evil, satanically motivated sacrificial murderous plot I once suspected. They were part of the plan, the volcanic change of plot that River promised Michael Stipe. They were the gathering outsiders rallying for the boy in the well, River’s personal rock band. If we take them at face value and disregard the character assassinations from some of my previous posts, a different picture takes shape.

Who’s Who?

Gibby HaynesGibby Haynes is the king of coincidence in this story. Not only is he the one who revealed that River was dying “on the other side of the wall,” while they were playing Michael Stipe that night, but he has also stated that he met Johnny Depp at a Halloween party in 1992 which is when they formed the band–exactly one year before River’s death. Four months after forming the band, they performed their debut show at the Austin Music Awards Show in March of ’93. Haynes is also the artist responsible for P’s album art two years later. He claims to have been good friends with River. John Frusciante also considers Gibby Haynes to be one of his best friends.

So they were all good friends. Nothing sinister. No murderous plot. No plans of sacrificing anyone to the prince of darkness…but what about Johnny?

In an interview with US Magazine in February of 1994, Johnny Depp is questioned about the Viper Room. He closed the club for about two week after River’s death and the interviewer asked him if he considered closing it permanently, to which Depp replied:

“I considered closing it permanently. I …(uneasily) I considered it before that night.”

This is an interesting comment to make being that the Viper Room had only been open since August of ’93, just three months before River’s death. It leaves me to assume that he knew something might go down that night and figured he’d just close the club. Problem solved. So why didn’t he? I can’t really say for sure. Maybe it would have been too obvious and put a target on his head as well. Maybe River himself told him not to. Maybe that’s where the plan comes into play. In the same interview, Depp went on to say about River:

“The guy showed up with his girlfriend and guitar, that is not someone who is expecting to die.”

Wait. What? Who said anything about River expecting to die? According to the official story, it was an accidental overdose. Depp may as well have said, Oh no, don’t look in the closet, there’s nothing in the closet! Naturally, the investigator takes the bait and throws open the closet door. One more note on Johnny Depp: it’s been said that he cut off a piece of the Viper Room wall where fans scribbled down tributes and sent it to River’s mother. If this is true, it’s actually kind of awesome. Here you go Heart, you wanted your son silenced, you got your wish. Here’s your keepsake. Hope you’re proud of yourself. We know about you.

John Frusciante is the fall guy in this story, but I still don’t believe he’s the one who gave River the drink. Look at what happened to John after River’s death. He became unrecognizable as he descended deeper into his addictions. He lost all his teeth, was covered with bloody scabs and infected wounds, almost died in a house fire and talked incessantly about death. One infamous interview on You Tube from 1994 has him in a drugged-out daze saying that he thought it was more tragic that River was ever born than that he died. Harsh words, but Frusciante appears completely out of his mind in this video and given who River’s mother is, I can see why he would make such an offensive comment. I’ll say again, John Frusciante is the only reason we have access to River’s song Soul Removal. He’s also good friends with Bob Forrest. In fact, Flea’s daughter Clara used to work at the celebrity rehab facility with Forrest. Frusciante and Forrest both say they tried to get Layne Staley (vocalist for Alice in Chains) help shortly before his drug-related death.

Forrest_youngBob Forrest was also at the Viper Room the night River died. In a previous post I expressed my disgust with the timing of his new book as well as using River’s death to sell it. I stand by that, but what if there’s a bigger picture here? This might be a bit of a stretch, and maybe the storyteller in me has taken over, but what if all of this was just to draw our attention to something? Make us question, plant a seed. I mean really, how ridiculous is his recount of that night? River tapped him on the shoulder and said “Bob, I think I’m Od’ing.” I think it would be the first time in recorded history that someone actually said, hey guys, you know what, I think I might be overdosing. Could someone kindly get me some help? Does anyone seriously believe that? Apparently Forrest says in his book that he stood down because River’s condition showed improvement. I don’t know what to make of Forrest, but he was friends with River and even thanked him on Thelonious Monster’s 1992 album Beautiful Mess.

“I tumbled into space trying to stop the fall” (Flea, I’ve Been Down)

7157_2255A well-known friend of River’s, Flea was onstage performing with P the night River died. When word got out what was happening, Flea and Johnny Depp ran outside just as he was being lifted into the ambulance. Flea wanted to ride in the back with River but was forced to ride up front. Johnny Depp ran back inside and ordered everyone out of his private office, and Bob Forrest arrived at the hospital shortly after to see a tearful Samantha Mathis standing in the hallway. He called Johnny Depp to deliver the news. To this day, Depp claims he didn’t know River was at the Viper Room that night and it wasn’t until he talked to Forrest on the phone that he knew the person dying outside had been River. Some accounts have John Frusciante threatening suicide at Depp’s house later that morning. The next day, everyone fled LA. Heart Phoenix arrived at the hospital demanding the body before an autopsy could be performed, and NO ONE would talk to authorities. That’s how the immediate aftermath went down. Two years later in November of ’95, P released their first and only single, Michael Stipe off their first and only album.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if someone painted me in the kind of light as Michael Stipe is depicted here, I believe I’d have to go public with my disapproval. We’ve never heard a peep out of Stipe about the artwork or the song. Although the song was written before River’s death, the lyrics describe Michael Stipe as crying which hints that they knew something was coming down the road. I’ve already pointed out the hypnotic, trancelike, zombified depiction of Michael Stipe in the artwork, the Viper Room’s matching dice logo, the fact that it looks like he’s slipping something into some kind of container, and Stipe’s skeletal appearance, but let’s look at the bottom photo again:

Click to enlarge

We see four little pea’s (Gibby, Flea, Frusciante and Depp?) looking on in horror as the snake-like eels treat the multi-faced figure with electrical shock. The figure’s torso has female anatomy and along with the dead dog, we see a bloody organ that could be construed as a heart valve. The figure also has toothbrushes for arms and a stray tooth is shown just above its forehead. Roughly seven months before the release of this album, Stipe gave this interesting interview in March of ’95 to Chris Heath of Details magazine:

“Do I have bad breath? Are you aware of it?”

Um, no. Why do you think you’ve got bad breath? (Heath)

“I forgot to bring toothpaste to New York.”

You can buy it here, you know.

“I haven’t had time.”

The last time we met, you brushed your teeth all day, which seemed rather strange.

“I carry a toothbrush. I have bad teeth and food gets stuck in them, and I eat constantly. I think the only thing strange about it is that I’m not afraid to whip my toothbrush out in a restaurant. Everybody brushes their teeth; everybody doesn’t brush their teeth at the table. I don’t know why they shouldn’t. It is quite pleasant.”

I’m with Chris Heath, it is rather strange. In the same interview we find out that Stipe is going to the dentist later that day to have his silver mercury fillings replaced with gold. I don’t know what’s going on with Stipe’s teeth, but I have to wonder if he’s been given an implant. Is that how the mean cat is triggered, through a chip?

Three months prior to the release of P’s album, The Red Hot Chili Peppers released One Hot Minute which includes a solo track by Flea called, Pea. The lyrics don’t tell us much as Flea strums his bass guitar singing, “I’m a little pea, I love the sky and the trees. I’m a teeny tiny little ant checking out this and that…” and so on and so forth, but it’s an interesting name for a song don’t you think?

Not long after River’s death, a short film called Stuff was filmed by Johnny Depp and Gibby Haynes at John Frusciante’s house. Apparently, the film’s main purpose was to depict the chaos and instability of Frusciante’s life, and it absolutely succeeds in that aspect, but what’s with Timothy Leary? Amid piles of trash, puke-stained floors and wall scribbling’s, sits Dr. Timothy Leary making strange hand gestures. Frusciante had obviously suffered some type of psychotic breakdown and Leary did have a PhD in clinical psychology. Known for conducting experiments with LSD and other mind-altering drugs at Harvard and Berkley, Leary believed LSD showed therapeutic potential for use in psychiatry. Perhaps Leary is the amnesiac water in this scenario, called in for damage control, called in to water down Frusciante’s memories and take away some of the pain.

One other interesting thing to note: scribbled above Frusciante’s head are the words, kill pigs by letting them become peanuts. It may mean nothing, but here again, we have a reference to a pea. Take down the kingship by letting them drink their own water, expose them and let them become the peons, the paupers. Like Anthony Keidis sings in the song Give it Away, “I can’t tell if I’m a kingpin or a pauper.” About a year after filming Stuff, Frusciante appeared in that infamous 1994 interview seemingly unaffected by River’s death, finding it more tragic that he was ever born at all. Four years later, he released Smile From the Streets You Hold, the album featuring Soul Removal which brings me back to square one.

“Murderless helping hands in a soul removal”

River_BW_07River knew his days were numbered. Whether someone told him or he figured it out for himself, we know from his song, his last photo shoot with the noose, and through his legal preparations that he was well-aware of what was coming down the road. He also had a plan which I have yet to figure out. Part of me suspects that he thought he could somehow break Michael Stipe’s trance, alter the alter, play the hero, the cat burglar. Maybe that was the point of the song. Maybe Michael Stipe is some sort of trigger word. Seems pretty simple, but who knows? Another part of me even suspects that he possibly planned on faking his own death. He gathered up his loved ones and brought them all around to say goodbye. Nice try. That would make them murderless in a soul removal. He gathered up his friends to help him fake his own death and things went horribly wrong. I don’t know, but I do think that whatever the plan, P was in on it which is why they all fled town. They were found out. Busted. Foiled again.

Although they only released one single, were never a popular band and hadn’t played together since 1997, Johnny Depp and the other members of P re-released the album for a limited time in 2007. They said they may one day release it again. John Frusciante has said the same thing about Smile From the Streets You Hold, and no offense to Mr. Frusciante, but the album is pretty hard on the ears. In fact, he admitted to being embarrassed by it when he pulled it the first time about a year after it’s release. The only two songs worth listening to are the one’s featuring River. Wouldn’t it be something if Frusciante and P both released their albums at the same time, along with Michael Stipe who owns the rights to some of Aleka’s Attic’s music? Maybe they’re just honoring their word and trying to keep their promise to River that if things went wrong, they would somehow get the truth out.

“Now what do we get for trying to follow to a tee, all these instructions you gave to me?” (John Frusciante, Dark/Light)

In Conclusion:

At first glance it’s easy to assume that P was formed for sinister purposes. The owner of the Viper Room, River’s rival, forms a band and ends up playing a song mentioning River’s name while he died outside on the pavement. Johnny Depp and guitarist Bill Carter having matching tattoos that resembles a phoenix bird. They both support convicted child killer Damien Echols and share matching tattoos with him as well. Depp considers Marilyn Manson his brother, also has matching tattoos. His partner and co-owner of the Viper Room Anthony Fox, who was suing him at the time, mysteriously disappeared never to be heard from again. It looks bad, but at the time of River’s death none of them were kingpins. They were all paupers (and still are really) under the same ruling thumb of the kingship. They gave a rousing cheer to the boy in the well in the hopes that things would go his way.

One last thing. I know it’s just a movie, but I swear it’s as if River wrote the script for Dark Blood. There are too many coincidences in the film and why is it that Heart and Joaquin Phoenix refused to have anything to do with River’s last movie? Dark Blood was his unfinished swan song, the canary’s last warning in the uranium mine. I do plan on dedicating a post to Dark Blood, but I wanted to point out this one peculiar scene. River is standing outside with the Hollywood couple and throws a rock at some large pieces of metal hanging down off the house. Boy explains that he got them from a scrap yard filled mostly with leftover titanium from a nearby lab. “I set em up,” he says. “It’s my rock concert…that’s death’s music you’re hearing.”

Next up The Outsiders …

The Outsiders (REM, Around the Sun)

You took me to the restaurant where we first met
You knocked a future shock crowbar upside my head
I got caught with the stop of the tick-tock, tick-tock clock
When you told me what you knew

Lost in the moment
The day that the music stopped
And I do remember you

Drawing patterns with a cork on the tablecloth
Promising volcanic change of plot
Where will this lead us – I’m scared of the storm
The outsiders are gathering, a new day is born

I tried to tell you I am not afraid
You looked up and saw it all across my face
So am I with you or am I against
I don’t think it’s that easy – we’re lost in regret

Now I’m trying to remember
The feeling when the music stopped
When you told me what you knew

Lost in the moment
The day that the music stopped
And I do remember you

Drawing patterns with a cork on the tablecloth
Promising volcanic change of thought
Where does this leave us – I’m scared of the storm
The outsiders are gathering, a new day is born

Drawing patterns with a cork on the tablecloth
Promising volcanic change of plot
Where does this leave us – I’m scared of the storm
The outsiders are gathering, a new day is born

The outsiders are gathering, a new day is born
The outsiders are gathering…

A man walks away when every muscle says to stay
How many yesterdays – they each weigh heavy
Who says what changes may come?
Who says what we call home?
I know you see right through me, my luminescence fades
The dusk provides an antidote, I am not afraid
I’ve been a million times in my mind
This is really just a technicality, frailty, reality

Uh, it’s time to breathe, time to believe
Let it go and run towards the sea
They don’t teach that, they don’t know what you mean
They don’t understand, they don’t know what you mean
They don’t get it, I wanna scream
I wanna breathe again, I wanna dream
I wanna float a quote from Martin Luther King
I am not afraid


5 thoughts on “For the Love of P!

  1. Did you see the last scene in Dark Blood where his character gets murdered and dies? And isn’t it quite odd how in My Own Private Idaho he had seizures and on the night he was murdered he was convulsing?


  2. It’s shocking how they foreshadow what events will take place shamelessly. What I just now realized is the Viper Room the title of the nightclub plays a big role in River’s death. Viper means a venomous snake with large hinged fangs, typically having a broad head and stout body, with dark patterns on a lighter background. It also can be a spiteful or treacherous person and poison. I find it more than a coincidence that River was poisoned in this night club and this club full of treacherous people gave him deadly poison.


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