At the age of eighteen, he joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers, first appearing on the band's 1989 album, Mother's Milk. The group's follow-up album, Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991), was a breakthrough success. Frusciante became overwhelmed by the band's new popularity and quit in 1992. He became a recluse and entered a long period of drug addiction, during which he released his first solo recordings: Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt (1994) and Smile from the Streets You Hold (1997). In 1998, he successfully completed drug rehabilitation and rejoined the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their next album, Californication (1999) would eventually go on to sell 15. 4 million copies. His album To Record Only Water for Ten Days was released in 2001. A fourth album with the Chili Peppers, By the Way was released in 2002. On a creative spree, Frusciante released six solo albums in 2004; each album explored different recording techniques and genres. 2006 saw the release of his fifth and final album with the Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium. In 2009, Frusciante released The Empyrean, which features Flea and Josh Klinghoffer, and announced he had again parted ways with the Chili Peppers.
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