Born in 1967 in Santa Monica, California, Dave Navarro joined the alternative rock band Jane's Addiction as its lead guitarist at age 19. He rose to fame as part of the influential band, but Jane's Addiction broke up in 1991 on the heels of Lollapalooza, which was founded by bandmate Perry Farrell. Navarro joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1993, but left the band in 1998 after recording only one album. Since then, he has played with a host of other musical artists and has also moved into the TV realm, hosting such shows as Rock Star: INXS, Rock Star: Supernova and Ink Master.
David Michael Navarro was born in Santa Monica, California, on June 7, 1967. His parents divorced when he was young, and Navarro grew up as an only child, living with his mother. He took up piano when he was 6 or 7 years old but switched to guitar around age 11 after his father found him an acoustic guitar at a garage sale. Navarro was soon exposed to various rock-music artists, and he found himself under the influence of such musicians as Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.
Navarro then began playing electric guitar, and his musical interests branched out into alternative sounds, such as Bauhaus and Siouxsie and the Banshees. In high school, Navarro continued picking up lessons from guitarists in every genre, from speed metal to rock to alternative, developing his own style along the way. At this time, he also met Stephen Perkins, his future Jane's Addiction bandmate. Navarro and Perkins formed a band and played at local clubs briefly under the name Dizastre.
These years were also marked by personal tragedy for Navarro. In March 1983, his mother was murdered by her ex-boyfriend, and he subsequently moved in with his father and dealt with the loss through his music. He also turned to drugs and soon found himself struggling at school. (His mother's murderer was on the run for years until the TV show America's Most Wanted featured her story, which led to his capture and sentencing in 1996.) Navarro was expelled from school before he graduated, but in 1986 his life would change course for the better.
Stephen Perkins was in a band called Jane's Addiction with singer/songwriter Perry Farrell, and they needed a new guitarist. After playing with the band a few times, Dave Navarro joined the band in 1986, and the Jane's Addiction lineup that the rock world would come to know was born. That same year, Jane's Addiction caught their first big break when Love and Rockets heard one of their tapes and invited them to open for them on their 1987 tour.
Jane's released a self-titled live album in 1987, which created buzz for the band, and before they knew it, a bidding war to sign them was taking place between record labels. The band signed with Warner Bros. Records and released Nothing's Shocking in 1988. The album was a success and went a long way toward redefining the rock music of the time.
Two years later, the band released Ritual de lo Habitual to much fanfare, but the band was already coming apart at the seams due to drug use and personality conflicts. As part of the tour to promote their new album, Perry Farrell founded the Lollapalooza festival, featuring Jane's Addiction and bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, Living Colour, Nine Inch Nails, and Ice T & Body Count. After the Lollapalooza tour, Jane's played their last shows in September 1991, just as stress, drug addiction and clashing egos were breaking up the band.
Once Jane's Addiction broke up, Navarro kept himself busy playing with other musicians, notably showing up on Nine Inch Nails' Further Down the Spiral and Alanis Morissette's landmark Jagged Little Pill. Navarro had intentions of joining Guns N' Roses, but when that fell through, he joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers, debuting live with them at Woodstock '94. He recorded only one album with the Peppers, 1995's One Hot Minute, which was successful but never fully caught on. Navarro rejoined Jane's Addiction's for a brief U.S. tour in 1997 and quit the Red Hot Chili Peppers soon after the tour wrapped up, the fit with the Peppers never quite there.
In 2001, Jane's Addiction once again went on a reunion tour and this time released an album, Strays. Navarro also that year came out with Trust No One, his solo debut. The band toured through 2003 but broke up again in 2004, citing the previous clash of egos as the reasons.
Never quite quitting, Jane's Addiction played together several times over the coming years, starting at the New Music Express Awards in 2008 and following with a gig opening for Nine Inch Nails the following year. In 2011, they recorded another album, The Great Escape Artist, and went on tour to promote it.
When not with Jane's Addiction, Navarro has formed or played with several side bands, among them Porno for Pyros (with Farrell), the Panic Channel and Banyan. He also has appeared on numerous TV shows, hosting Rock Star: INXS, Rock Star: Supernova and the tattoo show Ink Master. He has published a memoir, Don't Try This at Home (2004), and starred in the reality TV series 'Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen and Dave, based on his marriage to model Carmen Electra (which ended in 2006).
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