PUBLISHED IN THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR Thursday, March 7, 1996

 

BY NICK KREWEN

DAVE NAVARRO considered it a lucky break.

Not his joining up as guitarist with California's THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS -- arguably the hottest funk rock band on the planet, mind you -- but drummer CHAD SMITH's snapped wrist that resulted in the postponement of the group's mid-Autumn North American tour.

"I tell you, when Chad broke his wrist, (bassist) FLEA and I were ecstatic," the 28-year-old Navarro exclaims over the phone from his L.A. home.

"Granted, we felt bad for the guy. He's our friend, and he was in pain. But we had just done two months in Europe, and we were both so exhausted and fried and so not looking forward to getting back on the road again."

Navarro, who hooked up with Smith, Flea and singer ANTHONY KIEDIS in September 1993 to record their latest album, One Hot Minute, said he initially thought Smith was pulling his leg when the stick handler phoned him from the hospital.

"He called me a day or two before we were scheduled to play, and said, `Dude, you're not going to believe this. I broke my wrist.' He knew I didn't want to go on tour, and I thought he was f---- with me. Then I heard the intercoms and the crowd noise in the background, and I realized he was telling the truth. I was ecstatic."

The former guitarist with JANE'S ADDICTION says he spent his time off "hanging around with my girlfriend and riding motorcycles."

"The good thing about it is that he healed up great, and we had a long enough break that I couldn't wait to get out on the road," says Navarro, who made his onstage debut with the band at last year's Woodstock Festival.

"I'd much rather be excited about going out on tour than going out and dreading it."

Navarro compares the situation to reuniting with a lover.

"There's nothing more exciting than knowing you're soon going to be with the woman you love," he says. "However, there's nothing more depressing than dreading the fact your ball and chain is coming for you. I hate looking at a tour as a ball and chain. I want to look at it as something I love and am excited to do."

Contributing darker, richer textures to the Chili Peppers' slabs of hyper funk rock, the California-born guitarist says his honeymooning stage with the band is over.

"I finished that (process) a long time ago," says Navarro. "After a certain amount of disagreement with anybody, you finally are comfortable with them.

"Even with a girl that you're dating, as soon as you have two or three arguments with them, anything goes. Once you've had emotional, spiritual and physical experience with somebody, you're pretty comfortable with it."

"I hate to keep going back to these relationship analogies, but I believe that every band situation has its own personality. It's like getting in touch with a new entity. I liken bands to singular beings. There are so many differences that basically the only similarity is that music is being played."

Navarro said his only difficulty was being expected to create music with new bandmates without getting to know them.

"An awkward situation was the fact that I joined this band and we immediately went to work on a record, whereas with Jane's Addiction, I'd been in the band for X amount of years," explains Navarro.

"With Jane's we accumulated a certain amount of material and then we went in the studio. It was more natural.

"From a technical standpoint, the Chili Peppers is a lot more rhythmically and funk oriented than I was used to playing with, but it was just a matter of getting to know the person I was dealing with. "

Surprisingly, Navarro had to be asked twice to join The Red Hot Chili Peppers, the first coming on the heels of his split with Jane's Addiction in '91.

"I said no the first time," he reveals. "Because they wanted me to do Lollapalooza with them, which basically meant that I would have to learn all their old songs and just be a guy playing their old songs. What's fun about that? I just did the last Lollapalooza (with Jane's Addiction). "

Still smarting from a bitter breakup, Navarro poured himself into a one-off recording project with former Jane's bassist ERIC AVERY called DECONSTRUCTION on American Recordings as he pondered his future.

"I'm telling you, at the end of the Jane's Addiction days, they could have had $12 million apiece on the table, and none of us would have taken it. It wasn't about the money. We just had our own differences. I spend enough time walking through life and shit that comes to me that makes me sad and miserable. There's no amount of money that I'm going to say, okay, I'm going to take more misery."

He also turned down a personal invitation from AXL ROSE, who helped him turf a drug habit, to join GUNS 'N ROSES.

"Axl's a good friend of mine," says Navarro. "He was instrumental in getting me clean. But I just wasn't ready for something like that right then. I didn't want to have a week of sobriety under my belt, and then go on tour with Guns 'N' Roses. It didn't seem like a serene move."

When the Chili Peppers called a second time, however, Navarro was ready.

"Chad and Flea are incredible musicians, and I've always wanted to play with those guys," he says. "I wanted to go out on tour again, and it was also an opportunity to have some input creatively, where I wasn't able to have that before. Those guys are incredibly talented, and I couldn't let the opportunity to create with them go by."

Needless to say, Navarro is pleased with his decision.

"I'm happy because I think I'm in the greatest band in the world. I know what our vibe is about, I know what we're capable of, and I know what it feels like playing with them. Regardless of what anybody thinks, I'm happy because I think it's the greatest. That's what it's really all about."

-30-

 

 

SIDEBAR ON THE ROLE OF FLEA AND NAVARRO IN ALANIS MORISSETTE'S BREAKTHROUGH HIT "YOU OUGHTA KNOW"

 

BY NICK KREWEN

 

Dave Navarro and Flea of The Red Hot Chili Peppers have a direct stake in this weekend's Juno Awards: both played on ALANIS MORISSETTE's hit single, "You Oughta Know".

Although the song as become an anthem of relationship confrontation, Navarro barely remembered the session.

"I didn't even know who she was," recalls Navarro. "I had never heard of her when I went down to do play on that. One of my good friends was mixing the song and he said, "Do you wanna play some guitar?" I said sure.

"I never heard anything about it again, til I'm driving in my car and listening to a song on the radio, and thinking, `Wow, this sounds familiar. What is this?'

"It literally wasn't until they reached the end of the song, and the DJ said, `This is something new from Alanis Morissette, and it features Flea and Dave Navarro of the Chili Peppers ' that I remembered."

Although he contributed guitar, Navarro says it was just another job.

"I'm happy for her," he admits. "I don't feel personal pride, like I was her springboard to stardom or anything. I didn't put any of my emotional personality into that. I just went down and played on a track. I would be more proud of some of my own work in that kind of a scenario."

Navarro says he only gets emotionally involved with his own creations. "It's intensely therapeutic," says Navarro. "It's basically showing the world who you are, exactly. It's kind of like giving away your personal secrets that you would never tell anybody, but you're telling them to everybody. The only thing is that it's open to interpretation. No one really knows exactly what it is you're telling them, but you're telling them everything you want to tell them. It's almost like you're giving away your secrets to this anonymous source, and it won't come back to you.

"There's not that much thought involved. It's really driven by the heart."

-30-

DISCOGRAPHY

DAVE NAVARRO WITH JANE'S ADDICTION

1987 -- Jane's Addiction

1988 -- Nothing's Shocking

1990 -- Ritual de lo Habitual

1997 -- Kettle Whistle

DAVE NAVARRO WITH ERIC AVERY

1994 -- Deconstruction, Deconstruction

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS

1984 -- The Red Hot Chili Peppers -- EMI

                Anthony Kiedis -- Vocal

            Michael Balzary (Flea) -- Bass

            Jack Sherman -- Guitar

            Cliff Martinez -- Drums

1985 -- Freaky Styley

            Anthony Kiedis -- Vocal

            Flea -- Bass

            Hillel Slovak -- Guitar

            Cliff Martinez -- Drums

1987 -- The Uplift Mofo Party Plan

            Anthony Kiedis -- Vocal

            Flea -- Bass

            Hillel Slovak -- Guitar

            Jack Irons -- Drums

1988 -- Abbey Road (EP)

1989 -- Mother's Milk

               Anthony Kiedis -- Vocal

            Flea -- Bass

            John Frusciante -- Guitar

            Chad Smith -- Drums

1991 -- Blood Sugar Sex Magik -- Warner

            Anthony Kiedis -- Vocal

            Flea -- Bass

            John Frusciante -- Guitar

            Chad Smith -- Drums

1992 --What Hits? -- EMI

1994 -- Out In L.A.

1995 -- One Hot Minute -- Warner

            Anthony Kiedis -- Vocal

            Flea -- Bass

            Dave Navarro -- Guitar

            Chad Smith -- Drums

1998 -- Under The Covers -- EMI

1999 -- Californication -- Warner

            Anthony Kiedis -- Vocal

            Flea -- Bass

            John Frusciante -- Guitar

            Chad Smith -- Drums

COLLABORATIONS

1989 -- Various Artists, Pretty Woman

1992 -- Various Artists, Unforgettable -- Warner (Promo Only)

1994 -- Various Artists, Woodstock '94

1997 -- Various Artists, Beavis & Butthead Do America

1999 -- Various Artists, Woodstock '99

SOLO AND SIDE PROJECTS

Flea

1990 -- Film, Let's Get Lost

1997 -- Various Artists, Live On Letterman (with Jewel)

1997 -- Jane's Addiction, Kettle Whistle

1998 -- Various Artists, Velvet Goldmine  (as Wylde Ratttz with Mark Arm, Ron Asheton, Jim Dunbar, Don Fleming, Thurston Moore and Steve Shelley)

1998 -- Various Artists, Small Soldiers (with Bone 'N Thugs Harmony, Henry Rollins and Tom Morello)

 

AWARDS

1992 -- Grammy, Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal, "Give It Away"

 

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS TRANSITIONS

1983 -- Anthony Kiedis -- Vocal, Michael Balzary (Flea) -- Bass, Hillel Slovak --  Guitar, Jack Irons -- Drums

1984 -- Jack Sherman replaces Hillel Slovak, Cliff Martinez replaces Jack Irons

1985 -- Hillel Slovak replaces Jack Sherman, Jack Irons replaces Cliff Martinez

1988 -- Hillel Slovak dies of drug overdose (June), Duane McKnight hired on guitar, replaced by John Frusciante, Chad Smith replaces Jack Irons

1993 -- Arik Marshall replaces John Frusciante, Jesse Tobias replaces Arik Marshall

1994 -- Dave Navarro replaces Jesse Tobias

1998 -- John Frusciante replaces Dave Navarro 

 

THANKS: STEVE WAXMAN, WADE HEMSWORTH, GLEN NOTT

©1996, 1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink

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