Hello, everyone.

A mea culpa to begin with. In the first edition of this newsletter, I "deduced" that the first ever RHCP gig was February 3, 1983. I've spoken to someone who was at that gig, who put it on in fact, and I know now that I was wrong. The first real RHCP gig was on January 6, 1983. More about this in a few months, hopefully. I have much to share...once I get to the bottom of it.

When I started this newsletter, I knew there were two things in particular I wanted to write about: the first was the band's 1998 tour across the western edge of the USA, just after John's return. I've done that now - not as well as I could have - but I've taken a stab at it, and it was fun to travel with the newly formed band over those weeks twenty-one years ago.

The other topic I felt the need to write about was the band's 1992 tour of Japan. One detailing John's amazing return, and one detailing his cataclysmic departure; cyclic and harmonious, I guess. We forget, really, how dramatic this band's history is.

The problem, for me at least, is that while the 1998 tour was on the band's home turf, and was recorded and written about in English, and in front of English speaking people... obviously, the Japan tour wasn't, and 1992 was the pre-internet days. Because of the nature of the band being in an unfamiliar and "exotic" place, and because John up and quit halfway through the tour, this run of shows has a real important, elusive, historical quality to it.

Even researching the period is close to impossible - I can't speak Japanese or write in kanji, so I can't check archives anywhere. There's an English-language newspaper called the Japan Times, but their archives are only accessible to institutions, and who knows if they'd even have anything worthwhile; newspapers typically don't have much in the way of the deep-level detail that I'm after, especially about this band.

And so, really, up until now I (and most of the community) didn't know anything about the tour. Where they played -- that's about it. There are, if I'm counting correct, just five photos circulating from the entire trip. And only one setlist, which was finally confirmed after years of rumours and half-remembered sightings of old magazines. Compare that to the 1990 tour, in which an entire show was recorded in fantastic quality...

But - thanks to some friends in Japan - we know a lot more about that run of shows than we did before. Below I've explored the months and days leading up to May 7, 1992, the places they played, the vibe at the time, in the hopes of getting to know it a bit better.

If you were at one of the shows, please get in touch. If you know someone who was at these shows, please get in touch! I'm more than willing to keep updating this information. This is intended to be shared, reproduced, put out into the world. Everything is a first draft.

Before the band got to Japan, they spent the beginning of 1992 touring across Europe. Having felt that he should have left the band after the mid-1991 sessions for Blood Sugar Sex Magik, it was during this time that John started to act up; he would play poorly, avoid interviews, and had begun to bring his girlfriend, Toni Oswald, on tour with him; ordinarily a completely forbidden act in the band.

John and Toni Oswald in Paris, February 1992

In the years since he quit, then returned, (then quit again!) many stories about John during this time have circulated. That he was playing awfully, ruining each gig with chaotic wails, making his dissatisfaction with the necessity of touring known, and refusing to be a part of the ongoing commercialisation process that was being thrust upon him.

Well - you can judge all that for yourself. I'd bet John thought he was playing pretty good. Just differently. We've all seen the disastrous Saturday Night Live performance, but even his sabotaging of "Under the Bridge" in front of a national audience has a sort of beauty to it. [^1]

Here's how John thought about his playing at the time, looking back:

John quote TK

If you look at say, this show from Milan on March 1, 1992, he isn't playing too badly. Just... purposefully at only 50%. Look at "If You Have To Ask"... If anything it sounds like someone trying their best, but suffering from equipment problems, and when he gets going, sparks fly. They're not at the top of their game, but they've played worse. That said, his backing vocals seem like a pretty clear message being sent...a dissatisfaction of sorts, an "I'm here, aren't I?"[^2]

Speaking of equipment problems, check out this version of "Give it Away" from a French TV show on February 29, the day before that Milan gig. John might have checked out, but someone who had completely given up on the band wouldn't be so upset about his guitar messing up, would he? There was still some glimmer of life there, even if he does put in the bare minimum for the rest of the song, and play it slightly off.

Regardless of how well he was actually playing, it's clear he was unhappy. As far as I can tell, he did almost zero press around that time. Here's the band in Paris in February:

Chad and I both have touring attitudes, whereas Flea is less likely to wanna tour ‘n’ tour, and John even less so.

Anthony Kiedis, Kerrang, February 1992

In early March he seemed to be doing okay, if only a little out of sorts, though who knows what kind of editorial decisions were made here.

This is hardly the face of a man who wants to be there (though the rest of the band are hardly chipper either):

Then there's this article from March 13.

Anthony says it best:

John and I don’t really communicate with each other anymore, because we’ve kind of grown distant. He brings his girlfriend on tour and they just hang out together. The last time we were in Europe, John and I were the best of friends, and this time I don’t even see him except when we’re on stage. So it’s unpleasant for me. As far as John goes, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I can only hope for the best.

Things were bleak.

After that tour across Europe, the band played one show in Hollywood on April 4, a benefit for Magic Johnson's AIDS foundation. Scroll down at that link and you can find a short video taken during "Subway to Venus" - the very last image of John onstage with the RHCP until 1998.

After a month off, the band played two shows in Hawaii (on April 22 and 23) before they headed to Japan.

But sadly, on April 19, 1992, two days before the band left for Hawaii, John's friend Robert Hayes died in a car wreck in Alabama. John had met Hayes at the Musician's Institute, the college they went to together in circa-1987. During his period of unhappiness with the RHCP, John had made tentative plans to record with Hayes. He had written and recorded with him before: "Stone Cold Bush" was actually originally written by John, Hayes and one-time Chili Peppers drummer D.H. Peligro, before John ever joined the band.

"[We] were always thinking of doing something together. He was always trying to talk me into quitting the band and him quitting this interesting kind of jazz band he was in). And then he died. [...] I was just thinking about him and crying all the time. I quit the band in the midst of that. We went to Hawaii and then Japan, and Japan was just..."

John Frusciante, An Oral/Visual History of the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Robert Hayes shortly before his death.

John would always regret not quitting immediately after completing work on Blood Sugar, and would regret it even more once Robert died. There's some great research by a (sadly-deleted) Reddit user here about John and Robert.

There's not much known about the Hawaii shows other than this entirely unsourced image below, which I've lifted from The Side. (And I don't mean to brag, but we didn't even have dates for those Hawaiian shows until I researched them specifically for this letter.)

What they played during those shows is unknown, and there are no surviving reports about their time in Honolulu aside from Anthony's oral-copulation story in Scar Tissue.[^3]

And in the middle of all this turmoil, Japan beckoned...

Most of the information in this section in this letter is sourced from a book put out by Crossbeat in 2011. A big thank you to Twitter user @nat_mushiwaka for sending me a copy. Give them a follow - they have a great account. Crossbeat is basically the Japanese equivalent of Q or Rolling Stone. The book was put out as a 20th anniversary celebration of Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and contains two separate sections that follow the band during their time in Japan. One seems[^4] to be reviews of two different shows - the first and the last - and the other is a diary from someone who actually traveled with the band across Japan. I don't know if they were a journalist or someone in the band's inner circle, because (as you'll read) they were already with the band in Hawaii. Below, I'm going to quote from both of them extensively.

Big thanks to Caitlin over at Reddit for her invaluable help with this. Let's begin.

Here's what the person traveling with the band had to say on April 29, 1992: > At 4:50 p.m. we departed Hawai’i. Chad Smith, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, sunglasses, and straw hat, was every bit the image of a Hawai’ian. John Frusciante was wearing a leather jacket he’d rolled into a turban, and you’d never imagine he’d come from Hawai’i. This time he was the only one whose (older) girlfriend was accompanying him. It seemed that Anthony Kiedis had been injured in a mountain biking accident, so his left arm was bandaged from thumb to wrist. The remaining Flea had a somewhat different mien from the other three, a fast-talking guy whose facial expression never changed.

The girlfriend they refer to is Toni Oswald, of course. And you can see Anthony's bandaged wrist in that photo above -- it's nice when facts line up, isn't it?

Dinner was Japanese food. The menu was grilled fish, sashimi, salad, yakitori, rice, miso soup, and so forth. Anthony was so fast that had already brought two foreign models from somewhere or other. After dinner we went strolling, and though we went looking for a pachinko parlor from the temple, sadly there weren’t any open. Flea bragged that on their first trip to Japan, he had tried it and won.

Upon their arrival in the country, there's another entry for April 30:

> Day off. We split into an Akihabara team and a Shinjuku team for shopping. Flea was looking for a kimono for his daughter who was turning three, but couldn’t find one today.

Show 1: Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium, Yokohama. May 1, 1992.

The inside of the gymnasium in 2015. I imagine it looked much the same in 1992.

The first show was in Yokohama, a port city just south of Tokyo. Here's what our attendee said:

When we entered the assembly hall and reached our seats, suddenly some foreigners made a strange sound from the back and at exactly this moment violently surged in. After about two years of fans’ anticipation they had returned to Japan, aided by the good timing that, with the single “Under the Bridge” a hit in their home country of the US, “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” was surging up the charts, and the excitement of the crowd came across clearly even before the show began. Looking around the almost packed hall, my own mood soared.

At a little after the scheduled 7 p.m., you could see the figures of the band members on the wide stage. They opened with “Give It Away.” Ignoring the roar of the crowd, the band was really relaxed, and gave a tight performance. That said, it wasn’t by any means that the tension was low, and it was like they absorbed the wild enthusiasm that spread throughout the premises and released renewed energy back at the crowd. The character was different. Though I can’t compare it to anything concrete, it seemed vague.

So far, so good. The band were in seemingly decent spirits, if a little low-energy.

Anthony greeted the crowd, “Konnichiwa” in Japanese, then Flea yelled, “Our city, Los Angeles, is burning, baby!” It was because riots were erupting at the same time in their hometown of Los Angeles. It was a beautiful sight, to be able to see the excellence of Flea’s bass and Chad’s drums, in dialogue with Anthony’s vocals. You could feel the powerful undulations of John’s guitar, firmly locked into the rhythm section. In “Suck My Kiss,” the crowd screamed at the hook, as if to say “we’ve been waiting for this!” It was the highlight. Guys head banging, guys pumping their fists, guys dancing frantically to the rhythm, guys jumping up and down on chairs, guys chasing attendants around as if to escape the place… it became almost a zone of chaos.

Here, Flea is referring to the LA Riots. I can't imagine how it must have felt to watch that unfold from the otherside of the world. Of course, it was over by the time they got home, but by then they had other problems.

Nobody could keep their bodies from reacting to the funky, aggressive, energetic signature Red Chili sound, that kept pressing like, “more? more?” Coming back to the chorus of “Blood Sugar Sex Magik,” we were impressed by Chad’s drum solo, and as it neared the ending, the performance grew more feverish. Then, we realized they were starting the familiar guitar strains to the impressive melody of “Under the Bridge.” Even though the vocals Anthony was gently singing out were made to seem “quiet,” the excitement of feeling the emotion burning inside was enough. In this moment, even the hooligans in the place were drunk on his song.

Anyway, though it was the Red Chilis, whose irreverent tendencies are usually in the spotlight, this part really made me feel alive again precisely because they built the foundation through unique musicality and flawless performance. Afterwards, when John quit and so forth, you couldn’t even dream of such an excellent live set.

Sadly, we don't have a setlist for this show except for the couple of songs mentioned above, but it seems as if the band put on a good performance. No mention of unhappiness or acting out from John.

And here's what our touring friend said:

Day one, Yokohama Cultural Gymnasium. About 40 minutes of sound check and rehearsal starting at 3:30 p.m. Chad was the most excited, and even after everyone left, he played drums by himself almost until the opening. The doors opened at 5:30. Even after the doors opened, Chad walked around the seating area, giving pleasant signs to fans who noticed him. From about 20-30 minutes before the start of the show, Anthony practiced his vocals, and Flea started warming up on bass.

The show started ten minutes behind schedule. The members’ moods were good, and the audience was raging.

When the show was over, the band’s guests from who-knows-where continued to gather backstage, and reached a remarkable number. For dinner, we set out for Yokohama’s Chinatown. Once we’d managed to order, we drummed on our tea cups with our chopsticks while we waited for our food to arrive, making a racket. But Anthony didn’t join in. On the bus ride home, maybe because we were feeling full, or maybe because we were tired, it was relatively quiet.

I was expecting a lot more discord surrounding these shows, but apparently they were playing well, and were in good spirits. Obviously John was in a lot of inner turmoil, but not enough that it was visible to this outsider (or, perhaps, they were just being polite).

A day off for travel on May 2 to Osaka, a city around 500kms to the west of Yokohama. The links I've attached might help explain some of the more Japan-specific references.

May 2

Today we travel to Osaka. At a shop on the shinkansen platform at Tokyo Station, everyone buys Pocky. Everyone’s crunching away. Pocky has been their favorite since their first trip to Japan.

Once we’re checked into the hotel in Osaka, Anthony, Flea and Chad go off in a group of three to do a little shopping.

Flea’s shopping list: 1. Hanshin Tigers children’s happi 2. Children’s geta) 3. Pink wig (which he wore while he walked around) 4. Astro Boy T-shirts – 3 (he even made the shop workers sing the “Astro Boy” theme song) 5. Tank top 6. Indian top and bottom (he changed there and wore it home)

Anthony’s shopping list: 1. Gorilla lighter 2. Socks 3. Tank top (different color from Flea’s. There was some issue trying on the top, but whatever the shop workers said had no effect on him, so he stripped to the waist and tried on three shirts. They were considerably displeased) 4. Indian clothes (that he wore home)

(I have no idea what "Indian clothes" are - like a kurta?)

John’s shopping list: 1. Gorilla lighter 2. Long-sleeved T-shirt (when he learned the price, he decided against it, but the shop workers knew them as members of the Red Chilis so he succumbed and bought it) 3. Clothes for his girlfriend 4. pendant (one for him, and one for his girlfriend)

This section might not be very interesting, but it's fun to see what the band were doing in the days before this cataclysmic event. The idea of John being in such torment, but still wandering around and buying Gorilla lighters? What were the interpersonal relationships like at that point? (More on that below)

Seeing a takoyaki stall on the way home, Anthony said, “I like fish, but I can’t eat octopus. It’s because octopus mate for life. So I don’t think you should eat them.” That night’s dinner was Japanese food again. Everyone liked Japanese food to some degree or other, to the extent that when the staff asked what they wanted, they responded, “JAPANEEZU.” Today’s menu was sushi, tempura, sashimi, miso soup, rice, and so forth.

Show 2: Moda Hall, Osaka. May 3, 1992.

This building looks incredible. I think it might have shut now, sadly. Knowing Japan, there'll be a replacement along before long.

Our traveling friend:

Concert at Osaka’s Moda Hall. There was no place to warm up before the show, so Anthony and Flea each takes up occupation in an elevator. The show starts at 7:15. The audience’s mood is good, and it’s a pretty disorderly state of affairs. Flea takes the stage wearing the pink wig he’d bought the day before, but one song in it flies off due to his head-banging.

Dinner is yosenabe, sashimi, rice, and miso soup. First, we were scolded by the old lady who owned the shop for throwing the oshibori. Then, they made a racket when they realized the shrimp in the yosenabi were still alive. John seemed relatively happy. Then, when the racket escalated, we were scolded by the old lady again.

"John seemed relatively happy..."

Show 3: Moda Hall, Osaka. May 4, 1992.

The next day, and another concert in Moda Hall. There’s no sound check, and everyone seems relaxed. At 7:15, the show starts. From the first song to now, there were changes to the set list, so a number of songs were announced that weren’t played.

I don't really know what that part means, but typically when the band play the same location two nights in a row, they switch up the setlist, and that could be what they're referring to.

The guys said, “this was the best,” and were in good spirits. After dinner (tonight is Chinese), they brought 5-6 foreign guests to party at various clubs. Flea is bursting at the seams “everyone drink!,” but what will the result be?

Here's another review I found online for one of the Osaka shows (they have the date slightly wrong but, hey... close enough):

Thinking about it now, being able to see them performing live like this was precious. Once again, performing live while fighting oxygen deficiency… the satisfaction as their hits were unleashed, one by one… but something was troubling… John’s lack of energy on guitar would hit me at random. Sure enough, two days later he left the band. The later shows were cancelled… Oh! I can’t help but to think, thank God… Even now, though they’ve re-formed, they’re still “arena-class,” right?

Interestingly, this review mentions John's "lack of energy" - so maybe it was clear after all that he didn't want to be there. Or perhaps, this person has had their opinion of the show coloured by what happened afterwards.

May 5, another travel day.

Travel to Nagoya. When we ride the shinkansen, Anthony asks for a menu the moment we reach our seats. When we’ve ordered food on the shinkansen before, everything he wanted was sold out, so this time he’s checking to be sure.

Nothing wildly interesting. Nagoya is basically halfway between Tokyo and Kyoto/Osaka. There's a fun piece about the Shinkansen here.

Show 4: Diamond Hall, Nagoya. May 6, 1992.

Concert at Nagoya Diamond Hall. We leave the hotel for the venue at 4:00. Anthony appears in the Chinese clothes and Chinese hat he’d bought the day before, and the atmosphere backstage is more relaxed than usual. Flea was turning over in his sleep on the sofa, delighted, asking obscene questions and cackling.

The space is packed like sardines and it’s a dangerous situation even before it begins. The instant the show starts, the oxygen in the auditorium thins and due to the lack of oxygen, the band gets worn out. Then the cylinder of compressed oxygen breaks, so the encore ends after only one song. In any case, it all ended extremely early.

All these mentions of oxygen running low surprised me - I didn't realise that kind of thing was so prevalent - is it a Japanese thing, or a early 1990s thing; does it still happen today? - the Osaka show mentions it too.

Dinner is chicken wings, tempura, sashimi, asparagus and mushroom fried in butter, etc., and with satisfied faces, they said “today was the most delicious.” Anthony and Flea were pretty tired, so they said very little and ate in silence. By contrast, John was in an unusually good mood. He talked so much, it was frightening. The next day, he was in front of the other members, traveling with the crew.

I'm hardly qualified to say something like this, but it seems as if maybe John was having a bit of a manic episode here. Was it here that he made up his mind to quit? Most likely. It's not uncommon for people who suffer from bipolar, which John almost certainly did, to have a period of high activity preceding a low period. Then again, I'm not a doctor, and I don't know John.

In Scar Tissue, Anthony writes:

The night before our Tokyo gig, John was in the lobby of our hotel with Louie, and he became convinced that he had exposed himself to some female autograph seekers and that he was in imminent danger of getting arrested and deported. There was a distinctly erratic, unpredictable vibe happening around John. He was smoked out of his mind, and also hitting the wine in such a way that he didn’t strike me as being typically drunk.

I think John's manic mood and eventual panic about exposing himself is the same night, but I'm not 100% sure. Chad also mentions in the Oral/Visual History book that John was sure someone was trying to kill him while they were in Japan, and maybe it was during this night that he mentioned that.

Show 5: Sonic City, Saitama. May 7, 1992.

The big one. Saitama is a prefecture and a city about 45 minutes north of Tokyo. Sonic City is basically a convention centre: I'm sure it's been redeveloped in the meantime, but you can see some photos at that link.

Our travelling friend:

Concert at Omiya Sonic City Hall. John and his girlfriend arrived ahead of schedule with the crew. In his tired state, he had slept through the entire trip on the shinkansen. Even on arrival at the performance space, he slept a fair amount of time backstage. From the start, John’s condition was worrying, and when the band arrived a confused, tense atmosphere drifted about.

The story has been told a few different ways over the years. According to this Kerrang article, at dawn on the 7th, John tried to break his arm so he wouldn't have to play, and when that didn't work, woke their tour manager up and demanded his passport so he could go home. But at some point, he went to the venue with the crew. That's a surprise, because if he was quitting - why go to where the show was?

In an interview with Rolling Stone, given just a few weeks after the events themselves, Anthony says that he was at the band's hotel when he found out, but in Scar Tissue he says the entire day was spent at the venue. However it happened, the band managed to convince John to stay for just one more show.

During rehearsal the doors opened, and though the show started 20 minutes late, the atmosphere in the band was heavy. Maybe to cover John, Anthony and Flea put on a stage act more frantic than ever. From the second half of the show, John also seemed to have regained his rhythm. However, his actual state was not the same.

I would pay good, good money to see or hear something from this show. I'm very curious if there was any feeling among the crowd that something was up. Further, where his playing prior to leaving was antagonistic and confrontational, here I can imagine that John toned things down a bit, and allowed himself to enjoy the show, or at least behave himself.

Here's the setlist from the show, handwritten by Anthony:

For the longest time, this setlist was considered an unconfirmed rumour. Thankfully, that's not the case anymore.

Back to the travelling friend:

The truth was that that day, several hours before the show, he had brought up leaving the band. Immediately afterward, the band held a meeting, and decided for the time being to do the day’s show to avoid canceling. On this current tour, Anthony had taken every opportunity to meet with John and admonish him, and John’s state had unmistakably gotten correspondingly worse. The cause was not drugs, though there were rumors to that effect, but personal emotional issues. According to those close to him, he had grown weary of the repetitiveness of tour life for those several months, and perhaps the stress exploded.

This is the first mention of any sort of conflict between John and Anthony, but it merely seems like the usual kind of thing that happened during John's first period with the band. Here he is talking about it in 2006:

[F]or the first couple of years, Anthony would go between being a really cool friend to being a total fucking asshole. He’d just turn on me. He’d pick on some little thing I did or said, which reminded him too much of himself, and he’d be an asshole.

Our traveling friend:

In any case, though he went to the meeting immediately after the performance in Omiya, the next day John, whose condition hadn’t changed, returned in the early morning to America. He left a comment, “please tell everyone I’ve gone crazy.”

I know that a meeting happened before the show, but apparently one happened afterwards as well. That "tell them I went crazy" line became part of Chili Peppers lore, repeated over and over again in biographies and on fan-sites.

And here's a review of the May 7th show from the other writer in the book, who also wrote about the first Yokohama show up top:

Six days later was the Omiya show, but for some reason, compared with Yokohama, the stage and the fans felt more civilized somehow. However, as we neared the start of the performance, the audience seating started gradually heating up. Finally, the audience lights came on, and cheers and applause arose. This was when the Red Chilis took the stage. As usual, they were naked from the waist up. You can imagine my anticipation for the band’s set from that alone. Anthony was wrenching his neck around. It was like watching a prize fighter entering the ring. So cool.

No sign of any problem, evidently.

In that instant, wawa rang out from John’s guitar, and a shiver ran through my body. Today’s opener was “Green Heaven” from their debut album. Whether it was because the debut album wasn’t available for sale at that time, at first the fans couldn’t stand it at all, but from the start of the next song, “Suck My Kiss,” the swelling beat dominated the arena.

They're right - the first two albums weren't released in Japan until 1994. Interesting that they played both "Green Heaven" and "Hollywood". Furthermore, would be the last time they ever played "Hollywood" - which they rarely did in the first place.[^5]

One more fascinating little insight: the band played "Skinny Sweaty Man" during John's last show, on May 7, 1992. The next time they played it, June 5, 1998, was John's first show back. Loops and circles.

More from the review:

Like the album, the Red Chilis were heavy in some way. The entire band’s center of gravity had suddenly dropped, and founded on this giant bedrock, forced the beat out one after another. Though to this point they had been sprinting with all their strength, now it was as if they began plodding step by step, was how it felt. Each note reverberated to my core.

I wish more people would write concert reviews like this. Somehow playing in Japan turns their music into an earthly beast, a thing made of stone, rising out of the core of the earth.

They knew that they couldn’t draw interest just by darting around recklessly like they had at the first performance, “scaling up” can’t begin to describe how hard it was, and the destructive power of this entire band that had finally gotten big had [also] increased. It seemed like they conveyed it candidly during the finale of “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” and others. From Anthony’s grumbling vocals to the intensity of the band’s sound that you could see had suddenly transformed like a gun accidentally discharging, it clearly signified a new Red Chilis.

Yet, at the same time, they also carried the deep expressive power of [songs] like “Under the Bridge.” Anthony being able to sing this song that recalled a period when he had been corrupted by his immersion in drugs was the highlight of the show. You could say that it was evidence that he had finally been able to objectify the lowest time in his lifetime, including the heavy experience of Hillel’s death. From “Mother’s Milk,” produced immediately after the band’s reorganization, the Red Chilis had grown as people as they groped for a breakthrough in the band’s sound. It was “Blood Sugar” in which the new shape of the band that had built up materialized, both emotionally and musically. This Japanese tour was the performance that magnificently embodied this depth and heaviness. While I can’t deny that, even listening to the encore on this day, I felt a little bit disappointed, they showed us the champion sumo wrestler with a commanding presence.

They mention there being an encore, but there's not one on the setlist, and John probably didn't want to stick around afterwards, so I'm not sure there was one.

After the show, an American-born but Japan-based fan named Harry Dalrymple (who told me that the show was "truly dissonant and dischordant") happened to be in the right place at the right time, and snapped these photos. In them, John and Toni are coming out of Sonic City, and heading to the airport.

Funnily enough, these are the basically the only photos of the band from the entire tour.

The final two shows of the Japanese tour were cancelled. Chad, Flea and Anthony stayed in the country for one more day, and then flew into Sydney, meeting up with Zander Schloss, formerly of Thelonious Monster and the Too Free Stooges (and many other acts). There, they tried to rehearse enough that they could still make their original Australian dates, beginning on May 14 in Brisbane, but the entire run of shows was inevitably postponed until October.[^6] The band flew back to Los Angeles, Arik Marshall was hired, and the rest is a story for another time.

The news of John's departure broke about a week after he left, after the band put out a press release explaining why they were postponing the Australian shows.

The first sign of his leaving online is a Usenet posting from the 14th.

Heard rumor on the radio this morning: Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante (sp?) has been kicked out of the band. Can anyone confirm this? With Lollapalooza II on the way, too! Bummer.

That was followed up by a couple of comments:

Yeah! i heard he walked off in the middle of a set in japan or something. I think he stunk. The several times I saw him play, he was too wasted to get a decent sound out of his axe. Did you see him goof on SNL? It IS a shame if it screws up their Lollapaloozing......

Some outlets got it a little wrong (spot the mistake!)

That's all I've got so far. One day, maybe there'll be another photobook along the lines of the Oral/Visual History, and some more information or some more snaps will come out. I'm also very

[^1]: Blood Sugar Sex Magik rose from #49 to #45 to #35 to #28 on the Billboard 200 in the weeks after that performance anyway, so his playing hardly ruined the band's fortunes.

[^2]: John is also about a minute late getting on stage at first; another sign of trouble?

[^3]: Fun fact: The Jimmy Boyle he's talking about during that section (pages 292-293) ended up recording with John in 1997 and later mixed his 2001 record To Record Only Water For Ten Days.

[^4]: These are pure guesses - I have no idea who wrote these sections (the names Akabori Mika and Otani Hideyuki appear, but I'm unsure), where they appeared originally, why they were written...

[^5]: "Magic Johnson" was played, too -- maybe it was because the LA Lakers had just been kicked out of the NBA playoffs? Or am I just reading into things too much? :)

[^6]: Once, in about 2009, I saw a photo on Tumblr of Anthony in Sydney during this exact period, but I've never seen it since... And another fun fact - the day John quit, "Under the Bridge" was #1 in Australia.