Interviews

Published on December 3rd, 2017 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Dave Navarro On Jane’s Addiction’s Benefit Concert For Rhonda’s Kiss, Hosting “Ink Master” & ..

For nearly 30 years, Dave Navarro has been one of rock’s most high-profile guitarists. Beyond co-founding Jane’s Addiction, Navarro was a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers for five years, contributing to hits like “Aeroplane,” “Warped,” “My Friends” and “Love Rollercoaster.” Navarro also played guitar on Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know,” beyond other collaborations with Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses, Marilyn Manson, Christina Aguilera and Diddy.

Navarro has also been a fixture of cable television. His first regular series was Til Death Do Us Part for MTV. He appeared on four episodes of Sons Of Anarchy as Arcadio Nerona. But more notably, Navarro has been the host of the Spike hit Ink Master for the past six years, and is currently filming the show’s 10th season. The success of Ink Master has led to two spin-off shows, Ink Master: Redemption and Ink Master: Angels. Navarro’s hosting duties also extend to the podcast known as Dark Matter Radio, which broadcasts on DashRadio.com on Wednesdays from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM PST.

Dave Navarro continues to make music with both Jane’s Addiction and the all-star cover band Royal Machines. Both of Navarro’s active bands are known for doing a lot of good, and Jane’s Addiction will be headlining a benefit show for Rhonda’s Kiss on December 8th at The Palladium in Hollywood. I had the pleasure of speaking with Navarro — by phone on a Saturday while he was on a break from filming — about his involvement with Rhonda’s Kiss, the success of Ink Master and what else he has coming up. Navarro can be followed on Twitter and Facebook.

So you’re on-set now?

Dave Navarro: We’re slamming the end of the season and it’s crazy here.

When you started filming Ink Master, did you have any idea that the show was going to go this long?

Dave Navarro: I had no idea. The first season was kind of an experiment. Thanks to the fanbase and the audience, it propelled us to where we are today. I think really what appeals to people is that they get to see artists who are really talented and passionate about what they do, do what they were born to do. That’s what I love about being here. Even though I’m not a visual artist, I can totally relate to that passion and drive that they have. That’s really what it’s about for me.

It’s somewhat inspirational to watch people who show up to put their skills on the line like that, especially for the world to see. They really are stripped of any kind of illusion and they really have to show who they are, which is a huge risk. I’m super-happy that it has gone on as long as it has, and we’re finishing Season 10 right now. I really owe the success of the show to the passion of the artists.

This isn’t the first reality or competition show that you have part of. What was the transition of you going from a top guitarist to an on-air personality? Was there a specific moment?

Dave Navarro: I don’t really know. It certainly wasn’t an intentional transition. I think that I’m super-grateful for the fact that I’ve been given the chance to take advantage of opportunities. Choices come and I’m on this planet only one time, as far as I know, maybe we’re on this planet multiple times? (laughs) But as far as I can tell, might as well go for what comes your way. I never really sought out being a television host, but it kind of presented itself in a pretty natural way. It seemed fun and interesting, very different. Certainly not a creative outlet, it’s way less than that than music for me, of course. It’s equally as rewarding in terms of the people I get to meet, the places I get to go. It gives back, it really does give back. I’m super-thankful to have had that transition. I don’t necessarily think that I’ve gone from one thing to another. I feel that I’ve become two things, because I still play with Jane’s Addiction.

In between your time with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Destruction and Jane’s Addiction, you did have a solo career going, and a lot of your success has been spread out between different projects. Have you ever thought about doing a tour where you play all of your hits from over the years?

Dave Navarro: No, actually. That’s interesting. I feel like any Chili Peppers material wouldn’t be right to play without them, unless it was a cover under unusual circumstances, like playing with friends. But to put together a tour hasn’t really crossed my threshold. We’re still pretty active in Jane’s Addiction and we get a lot out of that. To be honest, I really love my position in Jane’s Addiction. I didn’t necessarily love touring as a lead singer. I liked singing on the record, but I didn’t enjoy that position. I think that I’m fortunate enough to have someone like Perry [Farrell] take that role, and he’s amazing at it. I like being the guitar player. (laughs)

Speaking of Jane’s Addiction, you have the upcoming Rhonda’s Kiss benefit. How did you get involved with that cause?

Dave Navarro: I have been playing with Dave Kushner for about 30 years. He is from Velvet Revolver, of course. He and his wife have been very active with Rhonda’s Kiss and so for the past couple of years, through Dave I was brought into the organization and had an opportunity to contribute for the past two or three years. We would play with different people, like Juliette Lewis and Mark McGrath, Billy Gibbons, just to raise some awareness and money for this cause, which is to help people with cancer…

The financial burden of that disease is so overwhelming, in addition to just having the disease, a lot of people just can make ends meet. Rhonda’s Kiss provides resources because, you think about the trauma of being diagnosed with cancer, or not having the facilities to get screened, and then it’s dumped in your lap and you have no way to pay for your care… That’s what Rhonda’s Kiss tries to do. It has just been a no-brainer for me. It’s the holiday season, it’s time to give back, be grateful for what you have and do something for the bigger picture. I can’t think of something better to do than share the stage with my friends and do what we love to do and bring joy to the people who come to see it, and raise awareness and money for families that are struggling.

Some of the people you just mentioned have always performed with Royal Machines. Is Royal Machines still at it?

Dave Navarro: Yep, we’re playing The Roxy this year as we do every holiday season… There’s two dates in December. We’re actually in the midst of putting that together for the next few weeks. I don’t know what the lineup is yet. An interesting thing about Royal Machines is that we don’t ever know what the lineup is until the show. We have kind of an idea, but you never know until the last minute someone is going to show up and say, “Hey, let’s do such-and-such a song,” and we’re all scrambling to learn it. (laughs) It’s a unique and fun thing that we get to do every year. Royal Machines, we do a lot of corporate shows. We get hired for events quite a bit, but rarely do the actual fans who made us what we are get to see us. So every year we like to do our general admission show or two at The Roxy, I think we’re coming up on eight years that we’ve done that. It’s become kind of a staple for us.

You have a lot going on between Ink Master and guest appearances, but have you thought about putting together another book? I ask because Don’t Try This At Home, your first book, was successful. More importantly, you’ve done a lot of things career-wise since that book came out.

Dave Navarro: Yeah, it’s funny you say that. I actually have a… I can’t really get into what it’s about, yes, that is definitely in the future. It would take a different tone. I’m going to collaborate with a partner on a project that I think will hopefully be super-helpful for certain people that are dealing with trauma, PTSD. That’s what it would focus on.

Is there a career goal that you are still working towards?

Dave Navarro: Yes there is. I haven’t really talked about it yet, but let’s just say that I want to work in the area of helping… Let’s just say that it’s along the lines of what my book will be about, you know? I’ve personally been through a lot of really serious trauma in my life. I know how hard it is to live life with that kind of baggage. There are solutions out there and I think maybe helping bring awareness to those solutions would be next up on the agenda for me.


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About the Author

is a New York resident (and Long Island native) with over 15 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer.Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Format Magazine, Businessweek, The Improper, the L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. He has been a member of the SATW and the IFWTWA organizations as a food and travel writer.Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host the recently-launched "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with PureGrainAudio.


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