David Michael "Dave" Navarro (born June 7, 1967) is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is best known as a founding member of the alternative rock band Jane's Addiction, with whom he has recorded four studio albums, and as a former member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Navarro has also been a member of the Jane's Addiction spin-off bands, Deconstruction and The Panic Channel, and released a solo album, entitled Trust No One, in 2001.
Navarro joined Jane's Addiction in 1986, at the suggestion of his childhood friend Stephen Perkins, who had recently joined the band. Over the next five years, Jane's Addiction released three critically acclaimed albums, Jane's Addiction (1987), Nothing's Shocking (1988) and Ritual de lo Habitual (1990), before splitting acrimoniously, in 1991, during the first Lollapalooza festival and at the height of their popularity.
Following the band's break-up, Navarro continued working with bassist Eric Avery in the band Deconstruction, alongside drummer Michael Murphey. The band released one studio album before splitting, with Navarro joining the Red Hot Chili Peppers, in 1993, as the replacement for guitarist John Frusciante. Navarro recorded one studio album with the band, One Hot Minute (1995), before leaving in 1998 due to creative differences.
Navarro was born in Santa Monica, California, to James Raul Navarro and Constance Colleen Hopkins. Navarro's paternal grandparents were Mexican immigrants. His mother Constance worked as a model, appearing on the television show Let's Make a Deal. David was the only person in his paternal family who did not speak Spanish. This was a result of James and Constance's divorce when Navarro was 7, and he spent the majority of his time with his mother. He attended Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA. He later transferred to University High School in Los Angeles, CA.
Constance Navarro was murdered by her boyfriend, John Riccardi, in March 1983. Riccardi was arrested in 1991, thanks to a viewer tip after Navarro appeared on the television series, America's Most Wanted. After his mother's death, he moved in with his father.
On his Instructional Guitar DVD Navarro tells how he started playing guitar at the age of 7 after hearing a Jimi Hendrix song at a skate park.
Navarro joined the band Jane's Addiction in 1986 as the lead guitarist after he was recommended to vocalist Perry Farrell by drummer Stephen Perkins, who was a childhood friend of Navarro's. The band became successful and was popular in the alternative-rock music scene. Personal tensions, however, led to their breakup in 1991. The Lollapalooza festival was created by Farrell as a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction.
After the departure of Guns N' Roses' original rhythm guitarist Izzy Stradlin in August 1991, Navarro was the first choice of lead singer Axl Rose to replace Stradlin. However, despite four attempts to have him come in and play with Slash, he never showed up. However, he later went on to play on the 1999 Guns N' Roses song "Oh My God", which was featured on the End of Days soundtrack. In 1993, Navarro formed Deconstruction with Jane's Addiction's Eric Avery on vocals and bass and Michael Murphy on drums, and the band put out one self-titled album in 1994. Rick Rubin was involved in the production and Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes makes a guest appearance. They did not tour due to Avery's exhaustion after Jane's Addiction.
Navarro joined Red Hot Chili Peppers in September 1993. His first large-scale performance with the band was at Woodstock '94. The only album on which Navarro played with Red Hot Chili Peppers—One Hot Minute—was released in 1995. The album was seen as a commercial disappointment (even though it sold over 8 million copies worldwide). They also recorded a cover of the Ohio Players' song "Love Rollercoaster" for the Beavis and Butthead Do America soundtrack, and the John Lennon song "I Found Out" for Working Class Hero: A Tribute to John Lennon. A song Navarro recorded with the band during the One Hot Minute Sessions, Melancholy Mechanics, appeared on the Twister soundtrack. Many fans preferred former guitarist John Frusciante's guitar style over Navarro's, although Navarro did add a heavy metal and psychedelic aspect to the band's sound, which was experimented on further after Frusciante's return. The album received mixed reviews despite producing three hit singles. Navarro toured with Jane's Addiction for their 1997 Relapse tour with Flea on bass. After two years of touring on and off with Red Hot Chili Peppers, and his subsequent heroin relapse, Navarro left in 1998. John Frusciante rejoined Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1998. Navarro also remixed Janet Jackson's "What'll I Do" for her Janet Remixed album.
The album, Trust No One, marked his solo debut in the summer of 2001. In 2002, Jane’s Addiction reformed with bass player Chris Chaney, and started work on a new album. The band entered the studio with veteran rock producer Bob Ezrin, resulting in the album Strays and the Lollapalooza 2003 tour in support of the album. In 2002, Michael Jackson performed at the Apollo Theater, and Dave played guitar for his hit song "Black or White".
Navarro began working with Camp Freddy during this time. In 2003, Dave and his fiancée, Carmen Electra, agreed to have their wedding preparations filmed for an MTV show titled Til Death Do Us Part; Camp Freddy played at the reception. The show was a great success and was released on DVD in the fall of 2005. Dave’s book, Don't Try This At Home, was released on October 5, 2004 with Regan books, and quickly became a Los Angeles Times bestseller.
Navarro appeared in two tournaments on Celebrity Poker Showdown in 2004. In the third tournament of the series, he won his qualifying game and appeared in the championship round. In the fourth series, he appeared only in a qualifying round.
Navarro co-hosted with Brooke Burke, two seasons of the Mark Burnett television series: Rock Star: INXS and Rock Star: Supernova. Dave and his band, The Panic Channel, released their album One, in August 2006. They toured with Rock Star Supernova (the band formed from the series) in January/February 2007. During this time, Navarro has his own internet radio station. He soon broadened his creativity with an internet talk show called: Dave Navarro’s SPREAD TV, which was broadcast on Maniatv.com and is currently available for download on iTunes. The show highlighted a myriad of avant-garde subjects, artistry, and the human condition. Videos from the series are also available on Navarro's YouTube channel.
In 2007, Navarro also teamed with Teravision to direct his first adult movie, Broken starring Sasha Grey, in the first of a planned series of celebrity-directed adult movies. This effort won "Best High End All-Sex Release" at the 2008 AVN Awards. Navarro has also made appearances in Season 1 and Season 2 of Z Rock with Brooklyn-based band ZO2 on IFC. In 2008, he recorded additional riffs for the version of "Black Cat" performed on Janet Jackson's Rock Witchu Tour, appearing on screens during the rendition.
Jane's Addiction reunited once more in 2008 with all of the original members. The notoriously tumultuous band's reunion was widely credited by NME magazine for choosing Jane's Addiction as the recipient of their "Godlike Genius Award for Services to Music". Soon after performing together for the first time in 17 years at the NME Award ceremony in Los Angeles, the band was contacted by Trent Reznor. Trent began working with Jane's Addiction in his studio; they recorded and released two songs ("Chip Away" and "Whores") online on the NINJA 2009 Tour Sampler. Both songs were previously released on their self-titled 1987 Live album. This time together in the studio led directly to the pairing of Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction for a worldwide tour in 2009. The tour was branded the NIN/JA tour by fans.
During August 2009, Navarro toured southern California as part of the Billy Corgan-led band Spirits in the Sky.
In 2010, he posed naked for PETA's anti-fur campaign, "Ink Not Mink." He stripped down again for the group's anti animal-testing campaign in 2013.
In 2011, Navarro appeared as the 'Director' of a Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, playing a complicated passage for a 'camper' to emulate, in a commercial for Citibank.
Navarro featured on the track "Girls/Fast Cars" on the album The Wombats Proudly Present: This Modern Glitch. by indie rock band The Wombats.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers were named 2012 inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame although despite being in the band for five years and playing on one album, Navarro was not inducted. When the announcement was made of the induction, Navarro said he was happy for the band but later said he had no plans to attend the ceremony which was held in April 2012. Anthony Kiedis was asked why Navarro was not included in the induction and he responded by saying "He's in this other band, which may in fact be inducted itself one day, called Jane's Addiction. I think that's the band closest to his heart, and that most represents his contribution to the world in terms of music. So maybe it makes more sense for him to be inducted one day as a member of Jane's Addiction." According to the Hall of Fame and the Chili Peppers' lawyer, it is the Hall of Fame's decision on which members are inducted. They eventually selected original members, current members and those who have appeared on multiple albums. Ex-Peppers guitarist, Jack Sherman disagreed and felt that both himself and Navarro were being treated unfairly by the band and they, in fact, did have a say in who was inducted. Chad Smith was the only band member to acknowledge both Navarro and Sherman (along with other former members) during his induction speech.
He currently serves as the host and one of the judges on Ink Master, an American TV reality tattoo competition airing on Spike.
Navarro recently appeared in two episodes of the FX drama Sons Of Anarchy. The first episode appeared on November 27, 2012 while the second episode first aired on December 4, 2012. In February 2013 he had a guest role in Law and Order: SVU, playing a sound engineer.
Navarro has been married and divorced three times. He married his first wife, make-up artist Tania Goddard, in a pagan ceremony in 1990 and his second wife, Rhian Gittins, in a civil ceremony on October 15, 1994. Navarro married model and actress Carmen Electra, on November 22, 2003. On July 17, 2006, Navarro and Electra announced their split to Star Magazine. Navarro posted a message on his blog the following morning saying "I just want to say thanks for all of your love and support. I'm sure that you can understand that I wish to keep all personal matters private." Electra filed for divorce on August 8, 2006.
Equipment Of Choice
During the first few years of Jane's Addiction, Dave played a black Gibson Les Paul. Around the time of the band's major label debut Nothing's Shocking in 1988, he played Ibanez RG series guitars, including one custom painted with the album cover art. He is seen in the film "Gift" and the "Stop" video playing a blue Ibanez RG, which suggests it was used in the recording of the album Ritual de lo Habitual. During the 1990 Ritual tour, he primarily played a custom-shaped single cutaway gold Ibanez.
Dave began using PRS Guitars on the Lollapalooza tour in 1991. His signature model PRS (White with Gold Hardware) is now his number one stage guitar. He has several models in his regular stage and studio rig, and was only the third PRS artist to have both a Maryland-made and SE version of their Signature Model.
He used a Parker Fly Deluxe for the Chili Peppers days during the live versions of "My Friends". He used it for its clean tones and its piezoelectric pickup that sounds similar to an acoustic guitar.
During this era, Dave used a Fender Stratocaster for the brighter blues and funk tones required for the Red Hot Chili Peppers catalog. He has several Stratocasters in his possession. He also had a Modulus Stratocaster-like guitar made for him.
Dave has also been seen playing Kramer (Van Halen Signature) Guitars, Fender Telecasters, Takamine Acoustic 12 strings, and even a Squier Hello Kitty Stratocaster given to him by Carmen.
Since late 2008, Dave's been seen using live and in studio a custom white Ibanez RG, with a humbucker/single/single pickup layout, gold hardware, and a vintage style tremolo, essentially an Ibanez version of his PRS Guitars Signature Model. Dave previously used a vintage Marshall JCM800, but now plays through 2 Marshall JCM900 amplifiers which are dubbed Tangerine and Peach. For large gigs he will also use a Marshall Mode 4 for clean tones. In the studio he is also commonly known to use a Vox AC30 for cleans and a Bogner Uberschall for dirty tones.
With effects, Dave prefers BOSS. He uses a BOSS Octave Pedal, 2 BOSS DD3 Digital Delays, a BOSS Turbo distortion for extra volume during soloing, a Dunlop Cry Baby Wah Pedal and several others.
Epiphone Guitars (a subsidiary of Gibson) released its Dave Navarro Artist Acoustic in July 2010. According to an interview with Navarro on Gibson.com, the new guitar is based upon the classic Gibson (and Epiphone) "Hummingbird" design, and has already been played by the guitarist in the studio while recording with Jane's Addiction. Named "Jane", the new guitar is black in color (as opposed to Navarro's usual white guitars), and sports a dead tree and crows on the pickguard, rather than the traditional Hummingbird and foliage images.