Dave Navarro has been a force in the alternative rock scene for over 30 years. First rising to fame as the guitarist for Jane‘s Addiction, Navarro brought his creative style and technical skills to multiple bands and projects over the course of his prolific career. Here‘s an overview of this alt-rock icon:
|Full Name||David Michael Navarro|
|Birthday||June 7, 1967 (age 55)|
|Hometown||Santa Monica, California, United States|
|Notable Bands||Jane‘s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers|
|Notable Collaborations||Alanis Morissette, Christina Aguilera, Billy Idol|
As a lifelong Jane‘s Addiction fan, I‘ve always admired Navarro for his raw talent, showmanship, and musical vision. Let‘s take a deeper look at Dave Navarro‘s life and career.
Learning Guitar as a Teenager
Dave Navarro was born in Santa Monica, California in 1967. After his mother was murdered when he was 15 years old, Navarro turned to playing guitar as a creative outlet and coping mechanism. Some of his earliest influences were Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and other classic rock legends.
Navarro started honing his skills by playing in bands during high school. Even as a teenager, he developed an innovative style that combined metal, psychedelic, and hard rock elements. His pioneering approach to effects, pinch harmonics, and unconventional chords shaped the early foundation of his iconic alt-rock guitar sound.
Forming Jane‘s Addiction
In 1985, Navarro became a founding member of the band that would make him famous – Jane‘s Addiction. Alongside vocalist Perry Farrell, bassist Eric Avery, and drummer Stephen Perkins, Jane‘s Addiction gained a following on the LA underground scene.
The band‘s debut album, Nothing‘s Shocking, was released in 1988. The album showcased Navarro‘s superb technical skills as a guitarist, particularly on songs like "Mountain Song" and "Jane Says." His use of effects like delay and distortion formed the basis of Jane‘s Addiction‘s unique alt-rock sound.
Nothing‘s Shocking brought Jane‘s Addiction into the mainstream as they signed with Warner Bros. Records. The 1990 follow-up album, Ritual de lo Habitual, saw the band achieve an even greater level of commercial success. Navarro‘s hard rock riffs and psychedelic solos on hits like "Been Caught Stealing" became an integral part of the early 90s alt-rock movement.
Joining Red Hot Chili Peppers
After Jane‘s Addiction disbanded in 1991, Navarro joined Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1993 following the departure of John Frusciante. His influence as a guitarist pushed Red Hot Chili Peppers in a darker, more heavy metal-driven direction for their album One Hot Minute, released in 1995.
Navarro‘s intricate guitar work on singles like "Warped" and "My Friends" delivered mainstream success. One Hot Minute sold over 8 million copies worldwide. While creative tensions ultimately led to Navarro splitting from the band in 1998, his legacy had a lasting impact on the evolution of Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Periodic Reunions of Jane‘s Addiction
Throughout Navarro‘s career, he has periodically reunited with Jane‘s Addiction for tours and album releases. The original lineup came together in 1997 for the album Kettle Whistle. In 2011, I was able to catch one of the most memorable Jane‘s Addiction reunion tours at the LA Rising Festival.
Seeing the electrifying chemistry between Navarro and Perry Farrell once again was a dream come true. Navarro had the audience of over 50,000 hanging on every note as he unleashed guitar licks on classics like "Been Caught Stealing" and "Stop!"
It served as a reminder of how seamlessly Navarro can command the stage and deliver ingenious, face-melting guitar work.
Releasing Two Solo Albums
Beyond his collaborations, Navarro has also produced two solo albums. His first, titled Trust No One, was released in 2001. Unlike Jane‘s Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers, this album featured Navarro on lead vocals for nearly every song in addition to electric and acoustic guitar work.
In 2019, Navarro‘s predominantly instrumental solo album Rhones allowed him to explore different genres and guitar styles ranging from rock, metal and funk to classical and blues. While known primarily as a vocalist in bands, Navarro‘s solo albums demonstrate his versatility as an instrumentalist capable of evocative musical storytelling solely through guitar.
Ventures in Writing, Acting and TV
Away from music, Navarro published his memoir Don‘t Try This at Home in 2004, which became a Los Angeles Times bestseller. The autobiography provided a poignant look at his early family trauma through the lens of success and addiction.
Navarro has also appeared on hit shows like Sons of Anarchy and in films like Suicide Kings. He even starred in a reality show called Til Death Do Us Part about his relationship with Carmen Electra. Navarro‘s charisma translates on-screen just as well as on the stage.
A Legendary Career Continues
Now in his 50s, Navarro maintains his status as an all-time alternative rock great. He continues recording and touring with a reformed Jane‘s Addiction while also collaborating with artists like Billy Idol. After over 30 years in the industry, Navarro still approaches his craft with an unrelenting passion.
Younger musicians around the world look to emulate Navarro‘s style and skill on the guitar. For any lover of alt-rock guitar, watching Dave Navarro in his element shredding a solo or belting out a guttural scream alongside Perry Farrell remains an unforgettable experience. I feel lucky to have grown up during the age of Navarro and gotten to witness his genius firsthand during the heyday of alternative rock.