Navarro expected little from Jane's Addiction debut

Dave Navarro admits he was as surprised as anybody when Jane's Addiction hit the big time.

The guitarist recalls having no expectations when the band recorded their self-titled debut album live at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles in 1987. But within a year they had released their major label debut Nothing’s Shocking and were on their way to stardom.

Navarro tells Ultimate Guitar: “There might be a pessimist side of me that didn’t even believe it would ever really come out. Growing up in LA, I’m very familiar with people who have lots of big plans and not very much outcome. A lot of people talk about the things they’re gonna do and then at the end of the day don’t deliver. So I was aware of that at that young age and just prepared for us to be one of those groups.

“I don’t think anybody really foresaw us becoming anything more than an underground college radio band. I don’t think we did and I know I certainly didn’t. There was a radio station here KXLU that was a big supporter of alternative scenes back in the day.

“In my head, if we were played on KXLU, we had made the big time. That was it. We had recorded demos together as a band by the time we did that record. Also I was so young and I was just like a young, drunk kid. I don’t even know if I was really thinking about it.”

Navarro describes the debut album as “cringeworthy” in some ways, but adds that he also considers it “perfect.”

He says: “As a record and as a time capsule, I think it’s shockingly good. But as a technician on the guitar? It’s cringeworthy.

“I can’t look at my own work and judge it. All I hear are things I don’t like about it but if I look at it like one of Andy Warhol’s time capsules, I think it’s perfect.”

Talking about how rock bands have been affected by the changes in technology, Navarro says he’s most disappointed by how it has ruined the mystery surrounding rock stars.

He says: “It gives me chills to think about the time. I was in fucking sixth grade and Van Halen I comes out and I save up allowance and go to the store. I buy it, put it on and I have no fucking idea what is going on. It was just mind boggling.

“The idea that in today’s culture I can go and check out the website and tweet Eddie Van Halen is just like, ‘Huh?’ That’s kind of destroying any myth there is. I want this guy to be a superhero. I don’t want him to have a Twitter account. But that’s the world we live in.”

Jane’s Addiction’s most recent album was 2011’s The Great Escape Artist.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.