Dave Navarro Made Me Cry
[Editor's note: Soon-to-be-award-winning gonzo music journalist Danielle Bacher prowls the late late night scene for West Coast Sound. For this installment, she hit the town with guitarist Dave Navarro, of Jane's Addiction and Camp Freddy.]
7:47 p.m.: I'm standing in the lobby of guitarist Dave Navarro's high-rise loft building in Hollywood. I'm tall and wearing heels, so I'm wondering if I'll tower over him, since he's 5'9". The man at the reception desk asks me if I'm waiting for anyone. I tell him. He looks at me and quickly nods his head.
7:50 p.m.: Dave glares intently at me as he walks through the lobby. I notice that his septum piercing is crooked. His female friend glides along next to him. He's wearing a black cutoff tank with a cross on it and white lettering that reads: "Jesus Loves You So I Don't Have To." He's also got black jeans, and a studded belt and chain connecting to the front of his pants. His keys dangle near his crotch. Two silver necklaces hang around his neck, one of them bearing a medium-sized ankh. He shakes my hand and then runs his hand through his long, coal-black hair.
8:00 p.m.: Outside, he hugs his lady friend goodbye. Immediately, a fan notices him and walks toward us. The excited man goes off about someone who knows him, etc. We walk away.
8:02 p.m.: Dave's friend Todd Newman rolls up in a Cadillac, and we get inside the car. The two have known each other for 11 years, and have bonded over their shared experiences with heroin addiction and recovery.
8:10 p.m.: Dave tells me he's been sober for two years and that it hasn't been that difficult to stay clean. Before sobriety, he would spend weeks (or more) in isolation, doing drugs in his pad. These personal depths have inspired much of his music.
8:20 p.m.: Dave reads a column that he wrote for Penthouse off his phone, answering someone's question about why it's cool for two women to have sex together, but not cool for two men. He quotes the Bible, Leviticus 20:13: "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them." He goes on to say that "the Bible is saying that two men being together is unnatural, while two women being together is not. According to this, God is down with girl-on-girl action."
8:22 p.m.: I ask him if he has a problem with two men having sex. He tells me that I clearly don't understand him or sarcasm if I'm asking this question. I proceed to ask if he's ever been with a man. He tells me that rumors say he has. I ask him what HE says. Cryptically, he admits that "men have been in the room" while he was having sex.
8:25 p.m.: He's not a religious person. This comes as no surprise. We have a deep conversation about religion and what it means to be spiritual. Dave goes on to claim to be happy single and says he doesn't want to get married again. He also doesn't want kids. He mentions that he had an amicable split from his former wife Carmen Electra. They kept separate bank accounts and didn't argue much about the divorce. In fact, they're still close to this day.
8:27 p.m.: We enter Starbucks, and Dave and Todd order coffee. The man taking the drink orders recognizes Dave and says hello. We stand outside while Dave smokes a cigarette. He hands me one. Another fan comes over and shakes his hand. I ask if it ever gets old to have so many people come up to him. He tells me that it does sometimes, but if fans aren't obnoxious, it's fine. He doesn't like when people ask him what it's like fucking Carmen Electra.
8:40 p.m.: We drive to Playboy Radio headquarters in Burbank. I glance at my cell phone and realize that it's been recording this entire time. I haven't told Dave that he is on the record. Immediately, I inform him. He gets very pissed.
"Woah, what the hell?" he says. "Isn't that Journalism 101? Tell your subject you are recording them."
8:41 p.m.: He goes off on me about how I should have told him that I was recording. I start arguing with him about why it's a good thing I recorded. I didn't want to misquote him. He gets even more pissed that I'm trying to defend myself.
8:42 p.m.: We are standing in the middle of the parking lot. My eyes fill with tears. Something like this has never happened before. I turn away so he can't see me cry.
8:43 p.m.: Dave asks me to delete my entire phone recording up to this point. He stands over my shoulder as I do it. I press delete.
8:44 p.m.: "I wouldn't have said this and that if I knew I was on the record. You have to understand that I'm so gunshy and scared of the press. They have crucified me my whole life, and I'm really sensitive to it."
"I can understand that. I know that you don't know me, but I'm not trying to exploit you. It was an accident. That's why I told you when I realized it."
8:46 p.m.: Dave takes out a cigarette and starts smoking. A security guard from the building tells him that he can't smoke there. He puts it out. FYI: I'm now allowed to record him for the remainder of the time we hang tonight.
8:47 p.m.: He looks over at me. "Are you upset? It looks like you're about to cry," he says.
"I think so."
We both laugh. I wipe the tear from the corner of my eye. He looks at me and says, "You have to have thick skin to be a journalist."