Now this my be a gamble, but I think not everybody here knows that John Frusciante, one of the guitar players on The Heart Gently Weeps. was a heroin addict, let alone a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Just as I as searching for something I came across this article on him.
It was only in the last few weeks of 1996 that Frusciante was finally able to kick the three-year habit that contributed to the loss of his Hollywood Hills home and the gradual deterioration of his body; earlier this year, John’s remaining teeth were removed and replaced by dentures in order to avoid a life-threatening infection. His right forearm appears badly burned, and his speech, though filled with interesting insights and word games, is slurred and erratic.
–Till I Reach the Higher Ground, Guitar Player Magazine- November ’97, by James Rotondi
To me this certainly gives a new insight to the song. And he must be the one that told RZA about the all the other heroin addicted guitar players through times. It must have meant a lot to Frusciante to play on this record while the others were talking about the other sides of the heroin business.
Here’s a more complete recap from Wikipedia:
1992â€“1997: Drug addiction
Frusciante developed serious drug habits as a result of touring with the band during the previous four years. He said that when he “found out that Flea was stoned out of his mind at every show, that inspired me to be a pothead”. Not only was Frusciante smoking large amounts of marijuana, he began using heroin and was on the verge of full-scale addiction. He went back to his home in California and fell into a deep state of depression; feeling that his life was over, and that he could no longer write music or play guitar. For a long period of time, he focused primarily on painting and producing 4-track recordings he had made during the time he spent recording Blood Sugar Sex Magik. To cope with his worsening depression, Frusciante significantly increased his heroin use to a state of abuse; and subsequently spiraled into a life-threatening dependency. According to Frusciante, his use of heroin to medicate his depression was a clear decision: “I was very sad, and I was always happy when I was on drugs; therefore, I should be on drugs all the time. I was never guiltyâ€”I was always really proud to be an addict.”
Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt sample:
Frusciante released his first solo album Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt, on March 8, 1994. The majority of the tracks on the album were recorded while he was strung out on heroin in his Hollywood apartment. The effect drug use had on the album’s sound is exemplified on its tenth track, “Your Pussy’s Glued to a Building on Fire”. Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt was partly recorded during the Blood Sugar Sex Magik sessions, and was released on Rubin’s label American Recordings. Warner Bros., the Chili Peppers’ label, had rights to the album because of the leaving-artist clause in Frusciante’s Chili Peppers contract. However, because he was living as a recluse, the label gladly handed the rights over to Rubin, who released the album at the urgings of Frusciante’s friends.
An article published by the New Times LA described Frusciante as “a skeleton covered in thin skin” who, at the pinnacle of his addictions, nearly died from a blood infection. His arms became fiercely scarred from improperly shooting heroin and cocaine, leaving permanent abscesses. Frusciante spent the next three years holed up in his Hollywood Hills home, the walls of which were badly damaged and covered in graffiti. During this time, Frusciante’s friends Johnny Depp and Gibby Haynes went to his house and filmed an unreleased documentary short called Stuff, depicting the squalor in which he was living. The house was eventually destroyed by a fire that claimed his vintage guitar collection, and left him with a few serious burn injuries after he narrowly escaped.
Frusciante released his second solo album, Smile from the Streets You Hold, in 1997. The album’s first track, “Enter a Uh”, was largely characterized by cryptic lyrics and hysterical screeches. Frusciante also coughs throughout the track, showcasing his deteriorating health. By his own admission, the album was released in order to get “drug money”; he withdrew it from the market in 1999. Although his initial motives for releasing the album were ignoble, Frusciante has stated that he likes the album and has promised to one day re-release it.