Ian MacKaye was recently interviewed by Ultimate Guitar and spoke extensively about his admiration for John Frusciante as a fellow musician. Ian describes John as a Genius with intense ideas, trying to pursue something that only he knows what it is – “He knows his shit”. See the excerpts in which he talks about John Below. Ultimate Guitar Interview Published May 29th 2012
Ian MacKaye is a renowned musician and guitarist, known for being the singer of pioneer hardcore band Minor Threat, the inadvertent founder of the Straight Edge movement, and one of the guitarists and singers of renowned alternative rock band Fugazi. He now plays baritone guitar in his most recent band, the Evens. Ultimate Guitar’s Dan Bogosian caught up with him while in the middle of a busy work day to discuss everything from his guitar playing, John Frusciante, and the future of Dischord Records.
Are there any bands or guitarists today you appreciate?
Yeah! There are some really interesting bands. There’s a band from Australia, they’re not that new, called the Eddy Current Suppression Ring, and I think that guy’s a brilliant guitar player and its great music. And I just saw that Tune-Yards band and the bass player in that band, that guy is serious, very good. I have a great appreciation for good players, like I think John Frusciante is incredible, the way he plays.
The only way people rebelled was by self-destructing, which I wasn’t interested in. And punk rock was this incredibly creative, wild, open spot and that’s really where I wanted to be.
Do you know what he’s doing now that he’s out of the Chili Peppers at all?
Yeah, he’s working away on new ideas. He’s got all kinds of stuff. He has these really specific ideas about music and he’s following those ideas, and it’s fucking incredible. He’s playing guitar, but he’s using a lot of computer stuff, and it’s very interesting. He’s a friend of mine, so it’s hard for me to know what other people think of him in terms of his music. I think he’s a genius and his ideas are really intense. What he’s doing is very hard to describe.
And the thing about it is, to John, it doesn’t make a difference whether or not anybody ever hears it. And that’s just the way it is. He’s making it for himself, and that’s the mark of somebody who’s…
That’s the mark of a true artist or a true musician
Yeah, like all artists are translators. Visual artists see something, and are trying to translate it so other people see it. And musicians hear something, and they’re trying to translate it. They’re trying to find what they can hear and they’re trying to recreate it. I think there are different levels of that. But I think Frusciante’s taking it to a really pure level. Because he’s trying to pursue something that only he knows what it is.
It’s intense when you phrase it like that. There’s all this debate within Frusciante’s fans – all the people you say you don’t know they feel because you know him as a person – there’s a whole debate whether the fans are ever going to hear whether John’s doing right now, and should they even care since it’s all about creating that sound at this point.
I think he is pursuing something that has not yet been made, so therefore cannot be described. So that’s just the way it is. And you know, almost once a year I’ll see him and hear what he’s working and be like “Wow, this is really out there.” But I bring him up, because there are musicians that I have known, and occasionally I’ve had a chance to play music with them, and when you play with somebody who’s on a certain level, that their relationship with their instrument is so intense, that when you play with them when they’re on their instrument it elevates your playing. And I can definitely say that’s the case, just messing around and kicking it and fooling around with John. Just a couple of acoustic guitars or something, you realize he’s really at one. He knows his shit.
Thanks to nom_nom for sourcing the article.