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.
I 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:
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?