John Frusciante tried too hard to impress people when he joined Red Hot Chili Peppers.
The rocker was just 18 years old when he joined the group in 1988 and despite his talent, he found the first year “a struggle” because he didn’t have enough trust in himself.
He said: “The first year or so that I was in the band was definitely a struggle.
“I’ve got something to say that I think could probably be good for guitar players. I think at the beginning of my time in the band, I had my mind too much on trying to impress people,and I wasn’t trusting myself enough.
“I was feeling all these things – ‘I want to be unique’, ‘I want to show off’, ‘I want to stand out’ – and everything I was doing felt forced.
“I didn’t feel free and I didn’t feel like I was saying anything that I wanted to say. I didn’t feel like I was going deep in myself.”
John ultimately found the best approach was to “simplify” what he was doing and be more collaborative with the rest of the band.
He told Australian Guitar magazine: “By the time we were ending that [first] tour, I got to such a point of unhappiness that I said, ‘I’m just going to throw away all these things that I’m trying to do.
“I’m going to stop trying to grab people’s attention. I’m going to take my ego out of it entirely.’
“I decided I was just going to use my guitar to try to support the other people in my band.
“So I simplified what I was doing. And at the same time, I was also putting a hundred times the amount of personal expression and soul into it than I had before.
“[This] was the step that, all of a sudden, made people respond strongly to what I was doing.
“I wasn’t trying to be a Red Hot Chili Pepper in terms of what I thought other people thought that it was – I just started being myself.
“And that honest version of myself if what you’ve had ever since.”