Sunday, February 17, 2013

Omar Rodriguez Lopez & John Frusciante


         In case you don’t know either of them, both Omar Rodriguez and John Frusciante are undisputed geniuses. Criminally underrated musicians, Lopez and Frusciante have been close friends since the first half of the 2000s when Frusciante guested on a Mars Volta record – Omar’s own band. The EP is not a collection of tracks. It is a proper sequence of sounds. And by golly, what sounds they are. The EP from the first track 4:17 am to the last, 5:45 am is like an acid trip. Incredibly visual and suggestive with moments of panic but ultimately, one of the most beautiful things you’ll come across. Here’s an excerpt from an interview Omar gave on this EP:
On many of your solo records you actually have John Frusciante, formerly of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers performing the guitar parts, I'm curious as to how that relationship came about?

We met at a club years ago, one of my band's De Facto was playing, and John was a fan of De Facto so he was there, and I just met this guy in the crowd and we started talking about Louis Benoit films and I said that I didn't know anybody else who liked Louis Benoit and he was like "Oh yeah you should come over to my house and we'll watch some" and I was like "Oh yea let's do that, have you got such and such, cool I haven't seen that, let's do it." So I went round his house and he had a bunch of guitars and he was like "Oh yeah I play in this group Red Hot Chilli Peppers" so it was kinda like that. I personally didn't know anything about the Chilli Peppers besides obviously just knowing the name because they were one of the biggest groups around, but I didn't know obviously what any of them looked like or what their songs were besides that bridge down town song (Under The Bridge) and so it was nice you know, it was nice for him and it was nice for me.

It was a true friendship that started over a love for Louis Benoit and then we started playing some music together as you would with another person who loves music and then eventually you realise that one of your closest friends is quite literally a musical genius so you just try to pick up as much as you can from that person and make sure that you are having a good time and that results in records together when you can. He is also a go-to person because I can write a lot of things that I can't even play, I write things that I hear in my head and can't play sometimes so it's nice to have a master musician, and also a lot of the times hearing the thoughts I had in my head become a tangible reality, or even just seeing him do it, then all of a sudden I'm able to do it. So that works out good too because I'm a very visual person, I don’t have any musical training or theory or anything, it's more like when I tried skateboarding when I was a kid, if I watched somebody do it I could do it, "Oh, that's how you do an ollie? What are you doing with your back leg there, ohhh ok," so it's the same when somebody plays guitar and they can play something or find their way around something and I can look at their hand then I get it and I can do it. *laughs*

It’s really interesting that you didn’t know anything about him when you guys met, that’s a cool little twist, people probably wouldn’t have thought it went down that way.

Yea it was great, and like I said it was De Facto so it was like a small, two hundred person club and the fact that he was coming from a band that big and even knew who De Facto was just shows his interest in everything music related and everything that happens with records and *laughs*, when I first went to his house I took him a copy of the first Mars Volta EP because he liked De Facto and I said “here this is this brand new thing that we’re doing and we’re gonna be giving all our energy to” and the next time I visited him a couple of nights later he was like “Yea man that’s so cool on the record how you do this and this” and I realised as we were having the conversation that he had learned and memorised and was able to play the entire EP from front to back, all the parts.

Wow, that’s amazing.

*laughs* I know right? He was getting excited about things, and he knows all this theory so he was like “Oh, it’s great how you put that seventh over the third and the five” and all that kinda talk and he’s playing it for me so slowly I’m realising he learnt this whole thing that I wrote then broke it down in his mind which is really impressive.

Notable tracks: 0=2 and VTA.

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