interviews

this page was updated on 2014.08.14 @ 23:51:36 CDT

Dave Navarro's Solo Look
by Michelle Lee
Paper Magazine - July 1, 2001

Dave Navarro, considered to be a rock 'n' roll sex god to some (Christina Aguilera used to sleep with the liner notes from the Red Hot Chili Peppers' One Hot Minute album because his picture was in it), an off-kilter Hollywood nut-job to others (the tale of Navarro scrawling a friendly note to Fiona Apple in his own blood on the wall of her dressing room precedes him). Regardless, there's no denying the guy is everywhere this summer. In June, after releasing his debut solo album Trust No One, which he began in 1998 while on hiatus from the Chili Peppers, he also briefly reunited with his former Jane's Addiction bandmates to play KROQ's Dysfunctional Family Picnic.

Next up he's releasing his book, Don't Try This at Home (Regan Books, 2001) this August. The book chronicles a year in which Navarro opened his Hollywood home to guests ranging from Bijou Phillips to strippers to Leonardo DiCaprio to pizza delivery guys. Anyone was welcomed on one condition: they had to have their pictures taken in his photobooth. The book showcases these photos, along with witty (often drugged-up) commentary between Navarro and the subjects. Beyond some of the shocking rock star antics (like the time Navarro asked then-girlfriend Siouxie Sioux to pee on him; or the time he got caught on film trying to repeat the Fiona Apple incident while screwing three Bunnies in the Playboy mansion's orgy room), it's a compelling record of the musician's descent and eventual victory over drug addiction. By the end of the book, we also get the sense that our rock star hero has come to grips with his fear of attachment, which understandably stems from his teenage years when his stepfather murdered his mother.

One recent afternoon, dressed in a pair of black Henry Duarte jeans and black, fitted, long-sleeved T-shirt, the famous axeman insisted on putting all talk of music and personal anguish aside and instead, found his comfort zone talking with PAPERMAG correspondent Michelle Lee about enzyme cleanser, dating Meryl Streep, and why he'll never wear shorts.

Michelle Lee: Hey Dave, so I listened to the album yesterday and, like your book, a lot of the songs are intensely personal, like dealing with the loss of your mom. Is it tough to open that side of yourself up to the world?

Dave Navarro: It's just rock songs, you know what I mean? That's what's real funny to me. It's like, what's the big fucking deal? They're rock songs. What do we want our artists to do? Talk about cars and chicks, or personal experience? I'm sorry to be so non-forthcoming. I'm really sorry. I don't know. I'm drawing a blank on all this stuff. I've been talking about it for probably a month.

ML: I'm sure you feel like you're repeating yourself over and over again. That's got to suck.

DN: It's absolutely the most boring subject to me. You have to understand, I'm just over it. I'm really excited about moving forward.

ML: Okay, well, let's move ourselves right along then, shall we? I was watching MTV Cribs and saw you wearing these great leather pants at home. I was like, I'm at home in my ratty pajamas; does this guy just chill at home wearing leather pants?

DN: I'm so glad we're moving into this direction -- simple superficial stuff I'm thrilled to talk about. You're making me smile, and that's nice. That's why I'm like, at the end of the day it's a collection of rock songs. It's ultimately not just wanting some therapeutic heavy thing and like dealing with my emotions and blah blah blah. I'm an entertainer and I want to perform and that's the truth. Well... I have five different pairs of leather pants made by five different people.

ML: Were they custom made?

DN: For the most part. I find they're most comfortable pants. They pretty much go with anything. I can be hanging out at bus stop and fit in there, and I can go to dinner with my parents and fit in there. Somehow I've been cornered into this and -- I don't know how this even happened -- but into this style niche like this style guy.

ML: Even on your bio for your book, it lists all your modeling gigs.

DN: I know. But those were always because I had friends in the industry who asked me to do things based on the fact that I was a musician. It wasn't because I was some stylehorse or some handsome guy. It was because we were friends.

ML: Well, people always talk about how you look. While I was doing some research, I came across this fan site and this girl's one comment was, "This guy is so fucking gorgeous."

DN: Really? That's really nice.

ML: Would you rather people say more things about your personality and your music than your style?

DN: The bottom line is that attention is attention [laughs]. Who cares? Life's too short to beg for people to focus on a particular aspect. If I wear a dress, I'll get attention for that. If I put out music, they might talk about that. I can't be choosy, and I don't mean that in an arrogant way. I just mean that in a really realistic, simple way.

ML: Do people see you as being more confident than you are?

DN: I wouldn't say confident but I would say arrogant. A lot of the over-the-top moves I've made have been based on covering up some other element.

ML: I hear a lot entertainers feel the same way.

DN: Just look at Marilyn Manson. I wonder what that guy's trying to hide. It's like the record thing. Yeah, it's certainly personal, but it's no more personal than anything I've played guitar on. I've just attached lyrics to it to make it more interpretable. But I've always put my personal experiences and feelings into any form of music I've made. For me, that's why it's not hard and it's not unusual, and I'm not trying to speak for anyone or share some 'lessons' or any ideas per se because I don't have the audacity to even do something like that. These are my experiences and if anyone relates, great, and if you can tap your foot to a song that's great too, and if you disagree that's cool. It just happens to be where I'm coming from. The reason I dismiss it all down to 10 rock songs is because if I was really trying to simply be this artist guy with these heavy-handed emotions and I just needed to express them and get all lofty, I could do that at home. Now, going back to whole style thing, pretty much everything I own is black. It goes with everything. You don't have to think about it. And that's one of reasons the style thing amusing to me. I go out of my way to find things that will allow me to not have to think about what I'm going to wear.

ML: So you consider yourself pretty low-maintenance?

DN: Very low-maintenance [pauses]. Ehhh... my friends would disagree. I'm low-maintenance on the fashion for sure.

ML: Right, but a high maintenance personality?

DN: I think I have a high maintenance personality. I mean, when you play this tape back you're going to see that I've already gone through a spectrum of willingness to talk about things [laughs].

ML: I always see you wearing this great smoky eyeliner. Do you have a favorite one?

DN: No. But I do have a favorite makeup artist, though, whose name is Lori Depp. I don't even know what she has or what she's going to do. I just trust her. We've been friends for years. I never apply it myself.

ML: Right on. Leave it to the professionals.

DN: I would look like a clown if I did it.

ML: Any skincare regimen? Are you a product hound?

DN: I go through phases. When I'm in my products phase, I am way more into products than my girlfriend. We're staying in a hotel right now and there are two bathrooms. And my bathroom looks like a tornado hit it.

ML: Like what kind of stuff?

DN: Let's see, I've got an enzyme cleanser, an astringent, eye cream, exfoliating this and that.

ML: Well, it all makes your skin feel so nice and pretty.

DN: To be honest, I'm more conscious when I'm on planes and not sleeping and traveling. When I'm at home, I pretty much just use a cleanser like 2 to 3 times a day. And drink tons of water.

ML: I hear you're on health kick. That's good for your skin, too.

DN: I think it is. I think that's what's the most beneficial. My intention is to hit the gym every day. Three days a week, I do half an hour of cardio and an hour of weights. And four days a week, I do an hour of cardio.

ML: That's intense.

DN: It is intense but that's the intention. Because the truth is that there will be a day that I can't go. For instance, I flew into New York last night and went to the gym at like 10:30 p.m., but the reality behind that is, yeah, there's something to be said about the health aspect and the physical benefits but for me, it's much more important to clear the mind.

ML: Do you listen to music while you do cardio?

DN: No, I try to escape every thought process. It brings you incredibly into the moment. I'm not tripping on anything that's coming up or not regretting anything that's happened.

ML: That's a fantastic place to be. So many people view working out as torture.

DN: Fortunately and unfortunately, I've come to a place where it's more of a torture for me not to go.

ML: That's good, though.

DN: That is good, but I could use a sense of balance with the whole thing for sure.

ML: You mentioned your girlfriend before. Do we know her?

DN: You might.

ML: Who is she?

DN: Her name is... Meryl Streep

ML: Oh, you like older women.

DN: No, Carmen Electra.

ML: Oh, I'm so oblivious. I didn't know you guys were dating.

DN: She's the greatest.

ML: So do you and Carmen shop together?

DN: We shop a lot for accessories. But I pretty much get my clothes from racks at photo shoots or just by, you know, osmosis.

ML: Racks are great. They're your size. They're picked for you.

DN: I don't have to go to the store. I don't have to walk out of a dressing room feeling uncomfortable that the salespeople are going to go, "That's what he's choosing to wear?" I don't like to shop and she loves it. She'll be shopping every day, and I can't handle standing around waiting for her. But we seem to find a middle ground on the accessory tip. Like sunglasses and jewelry. So we'll have a fun time going to Gucci or Cartier or whatever.

ML: Do you own a piece of clothing that means a lot to you?

DN: The most important thing I have is an accessory. It's a silver bracelet that has the numbers 6767 [also the address for one of Dave's official web sites, www.6767.com] on it made by my friend Acacia and apart from that, I don't have any item of clothing that means anything to me. I think that's healthy.

ML: What's dorkiest piece of clothing you own?

DN: Probably the dorkiest piece of clothing I own right now is... a pair of shorts.

ML: What do they look like?

DN: Who cares? They're shorts! [Laughs]

ML: So what do you work out in?

DN: Sweatpants.

ML: What do you have against shorts?

DN: It's a personal thing. I don't really understand what to do with the socks and shoes. It always becomes a problem. I think I could handle a bathing suit and sandals in some kind of oceanic environment, but apart from that...

ML: So in the heat of summer, you wear pants?

DN: I'd probably wear army fatigues.

ML: That's true, sometimes loose pants are more comfortable because you're blocking the sun.

DN: Absolutely, it's an old Arizona trick.

ML: Are you good at cleaning out the junk from your closet?

DN: I'll do that once every couple months. Throw it all in a big bag and just go to Goodwill.

ML: That's so charitable of you. And people have no idea they're getting Dave Navarro's clothes. So do you like shopping in thrift stores at all?

DN: No, I honestly can't stand it. I honestly just don't like being out at a store trying things on.

ML: So if you could hire someone to be your personal shopper, who would it be?

DN: I'd probably go with Twiggy Ramirez.

ML: You guys are great friends, right? How did you meet?

DN: We met years ago when they were opening for Nine Inch Nails. We became friends, just hanging out in L.A.

ML: Are you pretty tight with any other famous folks? I know you've said Marilyn and Twiggy before.

DN: That's pretty much it. Twiggy is probably one of my closer friends over the years and obviously Carmen and I have a very intimate dialog. I can definitely have heart-to-hearts with her.

ML: What about Chad Smith [drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers]? I know you were homies for a while.

DN: I just actually had a birthday a few days ago and he came.

ML: Ooh, happy birthday! Did you have a big party?

DN: I had a party at the Standard Lounge.

ML: How old are you?

DN: I'm 34.

ML: You're very young.

DN: I am? Thank you!

ML: I guess it's just that Jane's has been around for so long, I always consider you guys to be older.

DN: I feel older.

ML: Are you afraid of getting older?

DN: Nah. Not as long as I have a skincare regimen.