Although his name has been synonymous with River’s death as having been the person responsible for supplying him with the drugs, John Frusciante has never gone on record to admitting anything. He’s the fall guy in this story, but I do not believe he’s the person who gave River the poisoned drink.

After River’s death, Frusciante became unrecognizable as he descended deeper into his addictions. By the end of 1995, he was covered with bloody scabs, had lost all his teeth, talked incessantly about death and almost died in a house fire. 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. In all truthfulness, he’s the only person in attendance that night who’s attempted to clear River’s name, or at least put the truth out there (besides Michael Stipe).

“And the water through my life, is because I care who dies.” (Frusciante, After the Ending)

Much like Stipe, Frusciante also uses water symbolism in his music which I believe signifies hypnotism and a mild form of mind control. I don’t believe Frusciante is a victim of Monarch Programming but research has led me to conclude that the entertainment industry does (at the very least) use hypnotism as a way to deal with pain, dissent and all out rebellion against The Kingship.

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.

Another 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.

Life’s a Bath

Frusciante wrote the song, Life’s a Bath, shortly before River’s death. The lyrics are short and to the point:

“One year went by baby, does she want to be happy with you? Life’s a bath, sex is water. Life’s a bath, sex is water.”

Michael Stipe began referring to River as Baby in his songs with the release of 1992’s Automatic for the People. In my analysis of the album, I’ve pointed out how songs like Drive imply that River was on a time limit to fall in line and play by the rules or else suffer the consequences. The tick tock clock was nearing its midnight hour. Frusciante uses this same blueprint. One year went by Baby, does she want to be happy with you? In other words, your time is up, does your mom want to remain your manager, or is she going to sell you out and take on Joaquin full-time? Life’s a bath sex is water — Erase the past and the sexual abuse you suffered by undergoing hypnosis.

In 1995, Frusciante played a solo show at the Viper Room. Before playing Life’s a Bath he told the audience,

“This is the song I was supposed to play the night River died. Maybe if I’d been able to play it, he wouldn’t have died.”

While I don’t pretend to know what that means exactly, the song is absolutely about River and for River. 

The Empyrean

Frusciante_underwaterI have yet to listen to all of John Frusciante’s music from his solo career but his 2009 album, The Empyrean, is one of the best albums I’ve heard in a very long time. I’ve been listening to it on repeat, and of course, I’ve analyzed the lyrics in reference to River. If I’d been witness to one of my closest friends dying the way in which River died, I believe the trauma would be a lifelong source of heartbroken inspiration. An extraordinarily spiritual album, many of the songs contain traces of River-inspired ideas and water symbolism such as After the Ending. The most telling song on the album, one that is 100% about River, is a song called Dark/Light. I’ve posted the lyrics below, but I wanted to point out one verse in particular:

“Now what do we get for trying to follow to a tee, all these instructions you gave to me?”

This verse is yet another clue that points to River having a plan that involved, not only Frusciante, but also members of P, and Michael Stipe. I have yet to figure it out, but it’s safe to assume that someone either dropped the ball or is guilty of high treason. (Failing light nailed it’s spike through the wall — Soul Removal)

The song Dark/Light begins with a direct quote from River, “Remember all you’ve forgotten“. Due to the water, he’s worried he’ll be forgotten. Both Stipe and Frusciante appear to have made it their life’s work proving it to be an impossibility.

Remember all you’ve forgotten
I can’t put those thoughts away
Anything I’ve thought’s in my head to stay
Now what do we get for trying to follow to a tee
All the instructions you gave to me
Did you ever notice
That it’s for you that I’ve lived my life
Every time I had fun you were on my mind
I’ve lost my perspective
I’ve gone off the wall
Really not sure if I’m needed here at all
This is my last shot
I’ll always be less than my other selves
So I feel like I’m competing with someone else
Who I could never beat in a million years
I was made to think that we would wind up round here
Will we ever get together in a song
Will you ever tell everybody about right and wrong
Will you let everyone in on the meaning of life and death
Do you need me or are you waiting for my last breath

The Album Cover:

Click to enlarge

A multi-faced Frusciante stands halfway in the water sprouting wings as though he were a guardian angel. We see what looks to be a wrecked ship on the bottom of the ocean (the end of the waterfall) and an attractive young man who looks to be in his grave (symbolized by the skull/skeleton). The deceased young man grasps a lifeline that leads up through the boat into Frusciante’s hand. River was the ship in the ocean of a mind-controlled industry. River was John’s rock. Broken lovelorn on your rocks, he sings on the album. If you look close enough, you can also see a couple of pale green leaves on the young man, perhaps signifying life.

Now, if you’re like me, you’re thinking that maybe River is still alive somewhere in an underground bunker and that he actually faked his own death! After all, in Dark Blood his character takes Buffy down into a bunker and tells her the only people who have seen it are dead! But no, after crawling out of the rabbit’s hole and taking a long needed break, I realized that the artwork is probably symbolic. Frusciante is River’s lifeline to the truth being told about his life and death. The truth being told about what’s really going on in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. River recorded Soul Removal with Frusciante–Will we ever get together in a song? 

According to Wikipedia, Frusciante stated he will one day re-release Smile from the Streets You Hold, although this has yet to happen as of 2015.

14 thoughts on “John Frusciante

  1. If John hasn’t gone on record to admitting he gave River the poison, it’s because if he did second-degree manslaughter charges would be brought upon him automatically and if he denied it, it would make big news and some people still won’t believe him and he would be even more connected to River’s death than he is now, so it totally makes sense John keeping himself quiet. However, it could be that him, being an artist, instead of making an statement to the press chose to send a message instead through his own media by releasing the songs he did with River and designing Smile from the Streets You Hold’s so that it could allude to River’s murder plan, as you propose.

    Which makes sense, especially because if he really killed River he’d be so guilty that he would shy away from doing or saying anything related to him…unless he’s brainwashed. I actually think he might be since in his 1994 VPro Interview he seems to subscribe to the official theory that River was unhappy with his life and decided to leave with a bang, so it’s either that or he really is clueless about what went down on that night. What’s more surprising it’s that John is truly comfortable regarding his relationship with River, as he has spoken to his audience about him on shows years well after 1993’s All Hallow’s Eve (see: and obviously thinks about him often and cares for him, so I can’t fathom his reactions to all the hate mail he probably gets from run-of-the-mill fanatics.

    I don’t believe he is either innocent or guilty, because he hasn’t been properly judged. There are some things I can’t overlook, such as him going through a drug hell very shortly after River’s death (perhaps his way to punish himself for killing him?), the song “Regret” on the Shadows Collide with People album (I wonder what’s that about his past that he regrets so much…) and the lawyer for Arlyn being the same as the Chillis…I mean, would anyone have bought Mother’s Milk or Blood Sugar Sex Magick if the guy who played on those albums was a murderer? Not to mention River’s not unconsiderable fanbase boycotting the band. It would of been total caos (and will be) if John really was the culprit.


    1. I do see your point about him not saying anything if he was guilty (who would?) but why would the entire family, hell, the entire industry remain quiet about it? I find it hard to believe that everyone and their mother (so to speak) would keep quiet just to protect Frusciante. I mean, yes he’s famous but it’s not like he’s royalty. It just doesn’t add up. I’ll have to check out the link you provided from the Invisible Movement website.

      As far as being brainwashed, I suppose he was in a way because of the drug use. It makes sense, your best friend dies, you take lots of drugs to kill the pain. I don’t really see why that makes him look guilty. I haven’t heard the song Regrets, will definitely check it out though. As for having the same lawyer, I don’t know about that one. I know a lot of celebrities use that lawyer (whose name escapes me at the moment) but I don’t know if it holds any significance.

      You mentioned no one buying their albums Mother’s Milk and Blood Sugar if people thought John was a murderer, but those two came out before River’s death. Californication, however, was released years after and was still a huge hit despite Frusciante being named the culprit in John Glatt’s 1995 book, Lost in Hollywood.

      Thank you for your thoughts, it’s encouraging just to know people still care. One thing is for certain in my mind, nothing about that night was an accident.


      1. I agree with you. It definitely was not an accident… They solve crime scenes all the time.. By fingerprints, hair follicles, heck they didn’t even give a shit. They swept the situation under the rug and called it an overdose. They wanted river to have a bad name. They never even bothered solving the crime.. Why? River was famous. Other average joes who get murdered have cases where they find hard evidence and take it to court. Rivers mother didn’t want that though. Why? Because it was a soul removal. Its quite obvious.


      2. Well, it’s not like John was the only one who was best friends forever with River. Keanu heard of River’s passing while shooting Speed and made it through, Samantha was his girlfriend and didn’t stop being a movie star not even for a year, his brother Joaquin even followed the same path as him not too long after. But John really went overboard, he became reclusive and did drugs like there was no tomorrow for half a decade. It could be argued that perhaps his disposition was lower than that of the rest, but to me it seems more likely that he was grief-stricken, probably because he was involved in River’s murder plan or because he could have at least spoiled it. However that 1994 Interview simply challenges my views so far. It sounds as though he was clueless as to what happened to River, and given how shortly after his death the interview was conducted, it may be the case that he wasn’t filled in on the details until some time later, before or during 1997. That, or he was misleading us.

        I think the biggest thing that John has got on his side is the poison itself, if you believe Michael Stipe (and I do) about what it was made of, the stuff on it wasn’t something a heroin user could easily get his hands on, or would use to get loaded (or kill someone). The only possible explanation about everyone keeping quiet I can come up with is that nobody really knows who the culprit was (he could of been disguised; it was Halloween) or is someone that’s in the best interests of everyone to protect. Perhaps Frusciante wasn’t royalty in 1993, but these days the combined net worth of him and the other three Chilis is more than a quarter of a billion dollars, and he was the key ingredient of that band’s massive appeal and everybody’s friend (including River). Money is just a factor too important to ignore, if River convulsed on the sidewalk to begin with was because he was pushed out of the club or else it wouldn’t have done the owners any good if he died in it.

        A writer making baseless accusations on a book that isn’t even a bestseller isn’t going to have the same impact as John actually going to jail and the news going all around the world. When I first heard about him killing River, months before discovering this website, I felt like throwing my many RHCP albums (some hot buck where I live) and thrash talking about them all the time. Now I give him the benefit of doubt.


      3. Wasn’t it the bouncer who escorted River out of the club? I keep going back to REMs video for Strange Currencies and the young man in the backwards cap holding on to the back of the car. Frusciante? He lets go at the last minute and the car runs over “River” killing him. Maybe Frusciante did know something and dropped the ball. That would be cause for a lifetime of regret. I took the post down because it needs revising, but it was shot on the one year anniversary of River’s death. 23 cast and crew members, including Mathis. I think Frusciante knew something, how much? I don’t know.


      4. Just watched the video again. It could be that the young man is Stipe’s “good alter” who gets blind-sided by the mean cat alter. That would make more sense to me actually being that Frusciante pleads with him not to go to the Viper Room in Soul Removal. His regret is just being unable to stop it from happening. I go back to my original theory that Heart Phoenix sold him out. Maybe nobody dropped the ball, they just couldn’t see who threw it being that it was Halloween.


  2. I played with a thought of a possibility that River might be alive, why would he go to the Viper room unless he had a plan, or unless he wanted to set someone of his trail. Maybe he did but the whole thing went wrong, but what if…


  3. I don’t think that that which John Frusciante regrets about his past are his drug years…in fact, there’s a quote of his in which he says “being addicted to heroin? I really value that period of time.”

    It must of been something that happened just before then. He made a short video for Life’s a Bath in which he is shooting up his damaged arm, and if that song’s written for River, well I think it’s just a matter of connecting the dots. Here’s a quote from the River Remembered article by Peter Bogdanovitch:

    “After a while, she (Samantha Matis) saw River with a pal of his who he had told her was a junkie, and a bouncer was opening a side door for them. She didn’t know if they were being pushed out or going out of their own accord. Evidently, the junkie had given River some stuff that didn’t mix with what he might have already taken. River complained that he wasn’t feeling well, but his friend told him he was just being paranoid. Worried, Sam followed them out to the sidewalk to keep an eye on them, lit a cigarette, and walked ten feet away to give them privacy. When she turned around, River had started going into convulsions, then he dropped to the sidewalk. His friend said he was fine, to just leave him alone.”

    I think the key lies somewhere in the paragraph above…the junkie Peter’s talking about is definitely John. Notice how he says “evidently” before accusing Frusciante of poisoning River. It’s obviously a supposition, because Sam most definitely didn’t said to him John was the culprit as a matter of fact. Perhaps it was just a guess, the only conclusion you can reach out of that story without involving unknown characters.

    I think John feels guilty as hell because he downplayed the situation, but I don’t think he knew just how deep down the hole River was. In that regard, he may just as well be as innocent as anyone else.


    1. Sounds to me like Sam was confused about that night and didn’t know whether to call an ambulance or stand down. She probably felt just as guilty as John in that aspect. I’m sure everyone at the club that night feels the same way, if in fact, River actually died.


  4. Check out the lyrics to his song Chances on Shadows Collide with People (below). The song that follows is sad and eerie instrumental titled “23 go in to end”

    This is the time to die
    I’m not someone on whom to rely
    Chances come and chances go
    This is letting go

    I feel the tightening of the dawn
    The creation of something I’ve sung
    No one goes back ’cause they’re all there
    Are you everywhere

    Becoming who you think you are
    In order to do your part
    In the multi-dimensional scheme
    you’ll know what i mean
    This is the time to die
    I’m not someone on whom to rely

    Chances come and chances go
    This is letting you know
    I’m almost where ill never be
    This cutting off off ate like a string
    A line that falls to the floor
    And I’m not me anymore


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