The Untold Truth Of Dave Navarro

While Dave Navarro might be recognized for his distinctive look, there's a reason he was voted one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time by Spin. His ability to make a guitar gently weep or turn into a raging juggernaut cannot be understated. Whether he's contributing licks to Alanis Morissette's track "You Oughta Know" (via Entertainment Weekly) or performing with three-time Grammy-nominated band Jane's Addiction (via Billboard), he has cemented himself as a living legend in the music industry.

Throughout the years, he has been in the headlines for both the wrong and right reasons. While he might possess an enigmatic quality, he's also very much an open book, being proud and unapologetic in who he really is. And it must be said that his history is as fascinating as his musical contributions, and that's what we'll be exploring further here. From his brief stint in Red Hot Chili Peppers to his onstage punch-up with Perry Farrell, here is the untold truth of Dave Navarro.

Dave Navarro's one hot minute with RHCP

While Dave Navarro might be known for his time in Jane's Addiction, he was part of another seminal rock group in the '90s. Navarro joined Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1993 and left in 1998, contributing his funkadelic licks to the 1995 album, "One Hot Minute," as per Guitar World. Despite already being a guitar icon when he teamed up with RHCP, he wasn't as universally beloved as the band's former guitarist, John Frusciante, though he understood "the outcry from the fans," comparing his situation to Gary Cherone's controversial stint as the third vocalist for Van Halen (via SiriusXM).

At the time of Navarro's departure, Warner Bros. released a statement (via NME) from Chili Peppers vocalist Anthony Kiedis, stating: "This is a completely mutual parting based on creative differences. We had fun and I love the guy." Years later, Navarro opened up about the real reason for his departure on his Dark Matter radio show, admitting how his struggles with addiction impacted him in such a way that he couldn't even play guitar. "Anthony talks about it in his book where I fell ... Like, I literally tripped into stacks of speakers and storage gear and whatever," Navarro said. "I fell into a bunch of boxes, basically. And I was like, pretty clear, that I wasn't going to be able to get it together. So, they decided to go in a different direction."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

MusiCares because Dave Navarro cares

MusiCares is a humanitarian foundation that was started in 1989 by the Recording Academy to assist musicians who are struggling with issues such as mental health and addiction. It's also an organization that holds a personal connection to Dave Navarro, as he revealed to Inked.

After Navarro got clean, he partnered with writer Neil Strauss to publish a book titled "Don't Try This at Home: A Year in the Life of Dave Navarro," an honest memoir about his trials and tribulations as an addict. However, there was something that made Navarro uneasy about the release of the book. 

"Before the book came out, I began to feel it wasn't right to [be] making money off the stories revolving around the darkest times in my life — and other people's misery," Navarro told Inked. "So, the one solution I had was all the proceeds from that book went to a greater good, and that was MusiCares." Since then, Navarro has been actively involved with the foundation as he tries to assist other musicians and to normalize asking for help when one is struggling.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

He almost joined Guns N' Roses

As the axe slinger for Jane's Addiction and a bona fide showman onstage, Dave Navarro has become one of the most instantly recognizable musicians in rock 'n' roll. Plus, it helps that he's really good at what he does. It should come as no surprise then that Axl Rose wanted Navarro to head on down to Paradise City and join Guns N' Roses after the departure of their guitarist Izzy Stradlin, as per NME.

Appearing on the podcast Appetite for Distortion, Navarro discussed his curious history with Guns N' Roses. He revealed that Rose reached out to him and they spoke "nearly every day about ... ideas." Unfortunately, due to his drug addiction at the time, Navarro didn't show up for his audition since he realized he wouldn't have been able to perform at the level required. In 1999, Navarro finally collaborated with Guns N' Roses as he played guitar on the single "Oh My God," which appeared on the soundtrack for the Arnold Schwarzenegger-versus-the-Devil film, "End of Days" (via Rolling Stone). After that, it was hasta la vista between Navarro and Guns N' Roses.

Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington's deaths deeply affected him

Through his association and work with MusiCares, Dave Navarro wants to raise awareness not only for addiction struggles but also mental health and suicide prevention. It's an important cause, with the World Health Organization reporting over 700,000 people take their lives every single year. Navarro admitted to Yahoo Entertainment that he considered taking his own life in the past, but it "isn't the final answer," and "it's OK to reach out for help."

In the same discussion, Navarro detailed how the deaths of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington were harrowing reminders of the importance of mental health and reaching out to others. "I would say that going to Chris Cornell's funeral and seeing Chester Bennington sing a beautiful song for his friend, and then [Chester] taking his life a month later, really had a massive impact on me." Navarro and fellow musician Billy Morrison started a MusiCares benefit concert series called Above Ground as a way to show that there is help and hope for those who are suffering.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

His first gig only had 15 people in the audience

Dave Navarro is no stranger to rocking out with large crowds. Whether he was filling up arenas around the globe with Jane's Addiction or playing to 350,000 people at Woodstock '94 with the Red Hot Chili Peppers (via Yahoo!), Navarro lived the dream and shared the biggest stages. However, it wasn't always like this, as he had to pay his dues in the early days.

Discussing his first gig with Louder Sound, Navarro revealed he was still in high school when he played at MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. "There were about 15 people there," he said. "It was amazing, the highlight of my life." But it wasn't only an important day for Navarro, as the drummer for his band was none other than Stephen Perkins, who would go on to play for Jane's Addiction. In fact, as per Rolling Stone, it was Perkins who would recommend Navarro as a guitarist to the band and encourage them to bring him into the fold.

Dave Navarro's favorite band

Jane's Addiction was a unique-sounding band for their era. Even though they had one foot firmly planted in the alternative rock camp, they weren't afraid to wear their different and often eclectic influences on their sleeves. Dave Navarro admitted to American Songwriter that Jimi Hendrix was his reason for picking up a guitar when he was child. That said, The Jimi Hendrix Experience doesn't hold the distinct honor of being Navarro's favorite band, though — that accolade belongs to another group that had no need for introduction.

Speaking to Los Angeles Magazine, Navarro discussed his love for a certain English psychedelic band that drove the establishment up the wall (via The Sydney Morning Herald): "Pink Floyd is my all time favorite band and David Gilmour is my favorite guitar player of all time." Even though Navarro doesn't play the same kind of music as Pink Floyd per se, there's no doubt that Gilmour's desire to explore the sonic soundscapes of the six string encouraged him to do the same.

He doesn't care about critics

According to Forbes, Finnish composer Jean Sibelius once said, "Pay no attention to what the critics say; there has never been a statue erected to a critic." It appears as if Dave Navarro subscribes to the same train of thought, as he doesn't have much time for critics and their many opinions, especially when it comes to entertainment.

In an interview with Gothamist, Navarro revealed that he isn't "interested in what [critics] have to say" about his tours or albums. His only exception is if "it's somebody who has made records themselves, or has a body of work behind themselves." Apart from that, he's only concerned with listening to the audience and fan reception. It doesn't stop at music, though, as Navarro shrugs off film reviews and criticism as well, choosing to watch what he wants and on his terms. Film Twitter will be livid to read that someone is making decisions without consulting the self-proclaimed online experts. It's heresy, really.

He's not Nicky Nightmare's father

Internet rumors are pesky little things. Quite often, they pop out of nowhere, and people end up believing them as gospel, even if there's no factual evidence to back them up. Case in point: Dave Navarro being Nicky Nightmare's father. Nightmare, a TikTok creator, rose to prominence for his imitations of famous rock songs and the claim that his parents are celebrities, as per Insider. Since Nightmare plays shirtless and utilizes the surname Navarro, his fans didn't even need to call Mystery Inc. to form the hypothesis that Jane Addiction's guitar god must be his father.

Insider reached out to Navarro for comment and his representative responded, saying: "Dave is not familiar with this lad and not his father." In 2013, Navarro confirmed to LA Weekly that he doesn't have children, nor does he want any. As a result, it's highly unlikely that he'll be giving the "no, I'm your father" speech in the immediate future.

Dave Navarro wrote Fiona Apple a bloody love letter

While Dave Navarro's highest profile relationship was his marriage to Carmen Electra, he decided that he needed to go above and beyond to make a striking first impression on singer-songwriter Fiona Apple. As per Kerrang!, the two musicians were announced to appear at the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas gig in 1997. Upon finding out that Apple was performing at the same show, Navarro penned her a love letter on the wall ... In his own blood. The crimson note read: "Dear Fiona, have fun. Love, D.N."

The story sounded so outrageous that even KROQ's DJs couldn't believe it, debating if it actually happened live on-air. Deciding to put the rumors to rest, Navarro phoned in and confirmed it was true, adding that it was "a little note that comes from the beauty and pain that flows from within my heart ... Literally." Apple never responded to the bloody love letter, probably believing it was best to never be discussed again.

He likes to look after himself

Gone are the days when rock stars looked like they'd smell like a nose-pinching combination of stale beer and a public toilet's urinal. Health is wealth, and it's become the norm for musicians to treat themselves to some tender loving care. As revealed by Dave Navarro's ex-wife Carmen Electra to People, Navarro had a bigger closet than her and took his sweet time in getting himself looking good.

"He had hair, and makeup, and he would get into the vibe," Electra said. "Yes. He loved it." She added how Navarro had a specific appearance at the time with his leather pants, eyeliner, and shirtless look, but she couldn't deny it worked for him as "he looks amazing." With that said, Electra admitted that another one of her exes took the cake (or should we say perfume?) in the best-smelling department, citing Prince as someone who always smelled good and adored Carolina Herrera's fragrances.

Dave Navarro and Perry Farrell got into a fight onstage

All's fair in love, war, and rock 'n' roll, right? When it came down to Jane's Addiction, the tumultuous nature of the band proved to be one of its greatest drivers, as they channeled that explosive energy into their music. As described by Spin, there was already "an unspoken standoff" between vocalist Perry Farrell and bassist Eric Avery during the recording sessions for their now-legendary album "Nothing's Shocking."

In 1991, during a Lollapalooza show, Dave Navarro and Farrell got into it in the middle of their concert, as per Vanity Fair. While Navarro doesn't look back on the incident fondly, he also cannot remember what led to them coming to blows. "We were kids and we were volatile," he said. "We had different forms of expression than we do now. I'm sure that some of those altercations were chemically induced in one way or another." Ironically, the whole purpose of the first Lollapalooza was meant to serve as the band's farewell tour, as per Guitar World, so, of course, they had go out with a big swing.

He turns to Beethoven when he has a bad day

Many people turn to heavy music as catharsis after a long, hard day at work. Yet, despite all the rage, there's also comfort in looking to the composers of the past for relief — particularly in the classical music genre. In an interview with Revolver, Dave Navarro unpacked the songs he listens to when he has a dark day. While Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and David Bowie's tunes all made it onto his list, Navarro showcased his diverse taste by tipping his hat to Beethoven's "Symphony No. 7," which he described as a "heavy" track.

"That's one piece that's so dark, moving, cinematic and beautiful that it almost ... If you're going about your day at your house and that's playing, it makes everything heavy," Navarro said. Well, a study did find an interesting connection between classical music and heavy metal fans, as per CBC, so perhaps Beethoven deserves to be acknowledged as the first heavy metal musician in history.

Reunited with an old friend

For a guitarist, their six-string means everything to them. It isn't just a musical instrument; it's an extension of their creativity. In fact, some guitars hold personal meaning to musicians, reminding them of key and inspirational moments in their journey. Dave Navarro felt exactly the same way about his custom Ibanez Navarro — which accompanied him to the recording sessions of some of Jane's Addiction's most iconic tracks, as per Guitar Center. "When Ibanez signed me, it was a big deal unto itself, because I was a kid, self-taught listening to Hendrix and Page," Navarro said, "and now I've got a sponsorship with the same guitar company as Steve Vai?!"

During the first Lollapalooza festival, and at the height of his addiction, Navarro pawned his guitar for quick cash. In 2018, Guitar Center Hollywood's Eric Bradley recognized the legendary guitar when it was brought into the store. He bought it, and through several connections made contact with its original owner. Navarro was over the moon to be reunited with his guitar 28 years later, saying, "An instrument like this is not unlike a relationship with a human being. It's something you connect to, that hears you, understands you."