Why Dave Navarro Is Alternative Rock’s Greatest Guitar Hero

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Edited and photo by Brett Buchanan

When you think of a modern day guitar hero, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better example than Dave Navarro. For nearly thirty years, Navarro has been one of the most recognizable faces in alternative music. With his jet black, slicked back hair, goatee, and dozens of tattoos, he is Rock Star-personified. Nowadays, you would be forgiven if you think of him more as the host of Ink Master, or as an actor on the insanely popular Sons of Anarchy. But make no mistake, music is where Dave Navarro reigns supreme.

Dave Navarro has the luxury of being associated with two of the biggest bands in the alternative scene; Jane’s Addiction and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. His discography also includes one solo album and two separate one-off albums with former members of Jane’s Addiction, The Panic Channel, and Deconstruction. Furthermore, he has guested with an eclectic mix of artists ranging from Guns N’ Roses to Alanis Morissette to Michael Jackson.

There’s no doubt that Navarro has provided the musical world with a healthy serving of music over his career, yet the current state of alternative music could benefit from another solo album by Dave. With so many alternative artists releasing great new albums in 2016, it’s a safe bet that Navarro could also produce a great modern classic. Here’s why the perfect time is now.

Jane’s Addiction Just Wrapped Touring The 25th Year Anniversary of Ritual De Lo Habitual

Jane’s Addiction has released four studio albums throughout their career. Their first two, Nothing’s Shocking and Ritual De Lo Habitual, are classics not only of alternative music, but rock music in general. Spending the celebratory tour playing Ritual front to back means Navarro has been engrossed in the ethos of one of his greatest, if not the greatest, musical accomplishment of his life. With the music of that era fresh on his radar, you can see how that could influence a possible new album; there only reinforcing why it’s a great time for him to do this.

Every other time Jane’s Addiction has taken a break, hiatus, or full-blown breakup, Navarro has immersed himself in a new musical project. After their initial breakup in 1991, Navarro teamed with former Jane’s bass player Eric Avery. Under the moniker Deconstruction, they released one eponymous album in 1994. Underrated and often overlooked, the album is a great listen filled with Jane’s-esque material, albeit a little rougher around the edges. Deconstruction was short lived, and Navarro soon found himself as the new guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Navarro has a lot on his plate currently with Ink Master, and promoting his documentary Mourning Son, but maybe he could squeeze in some time for a an album similar in vein to Deconstruction.

The Love For One Hot Minute Has Only Grown With Time

Replacing John Frusciante in the Red Hot Chili Peppers proved to be a mighty task for Navarro. But while One Hot Minute initially came across as being inferior to the enormously successful Blood Sugar Sex Magik, time has been kind to the Peppers’ only album featuring Navarro. Most fans will tell you that Flea dominates One Hot Minute; and he does. But Navarro, bringing in a mix of hard rock, metal, and psychedelia to the Peppers, made an immense mark as well. His guitar work on “Deep Kick,” as well as “Shallow Be Thy Game” and “One Big Mob,” is top notch. He also delivers some of his best guitar solos on “Aeroplane” and “Walkabout.”

The Peppers steered clear of Navarro-era material during John Frusciante’s second tenure with the band. However, following his second departure, the Peppers have become more receptive to this material; including “Aeroplane” in multiple set lists throughout 2016. Furthermore, Navarro and Chili Peppers fans alike were ecstatic when “Circle of the Noose” became available. The long spoken of track, the only recorded for a possible follow-up album with Navarro, received an overwhelmingly positive reception when it came to light in early 2016. With the uptick of interest in this period of Navarro’s career, it would be a great opportunity to build on this momentum.

15 Years Have Passed Since The Release of Trust No One

In 2001, Navarro released his only solo album, Trust No One. Left to his own devices, Navarro produced an absolute beast of an album. Rather than rely on flashy guitar-work, Navarro came into his own as a songwriter. Bursting with unexpected melodies and a few sing-along choruses, the eclectic collection of songs is more cohesive than you would expect. There is an easiness to Navarro’s voice. Stepping out in from of the microphone for the first time, you can’t help but appreciate the chance he took. And it worked. You don’t find yourself comparing him to Anthony Kiedis or Perry Farrell. There’s no need to. Navarro’s vocals more than hold their own.

“Rexall” and “Hungry” were released as singles, finding moderate success. His cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs” is a pleasant surprise, and a more than suitable companion to the original. Album closer “Slow Motion Sickness” may be Navarro’s finest moment. His lyrics are sarcastic yet telling. They ooze of his personality and his experiences. You come in expecting shredding, but what you get is a unique, introspective view into the mind of a musician who has far more talent than already assumed. Trust No One proves Navarro is more than capable of providing a great album.

It would be fantastic to hear what tricks Navarro may have up his sleeve at this point in his life. With any great artist, you always want more. In the age old battle of quality vs. quantity, Navarro has managed to keep the quality high. There’s no reason to think a new album would be any less than great. But in reality, Dave Navarro is a legend. In a time where rock and roll legends are less and less, we need more Dave Navarro.