Welcome to another installment of RE:PRINT (the online archive of twenty-something-year-old-music-journalist-me for the Minneapolis print publications City’s Tone and Pulse).
All articles feature never-before-published content, a guest editor and — in most cases — unseen images of the subject.
Below is a combination live review and interview with Dave Navarro, circa Trust No One. Dave was my first cover story (had been on record reviews prior), but having done time in the Prince-O-Sphere, I was ready.
TRUST NO ONE – SHOW REVIEW & INTERVIEW
by Brooke R. Calder
City’s Tone Music Monthly – October 2001
Guest Editor: Peter Scholtes
Photos By: J.Milton/Photos On Fire
Bathed in scarlet light, prowling the stage at First Avenue Nightclub, Dave Navarro sweats behind his white Paul Reed Smith Custom 24. Matching eggshell Euro-Lowboys and prayer candles flicker atop amps; clad in black, he cradles the mic to his lips and spins a devastating tale of drug addiction and romantic demise in “Very Little Daylight”.
“I only feel alone when I’m with you- I could never be all that you want me to…,” Navarro rhythmically concedes. In some moments, it feels like he’s confessing to Friar Lawrence. Others, as if he’s confiding in you, Dear Benvolio. Somehow, the lovers lived, but Juliet has betrayed him. A guitar solo explodes with rage-kissed sorrow and the crowd goes wild.
During this Mainroom mania — however — every artist’s nightmare occurs. High-end swirls out of control, the mix swells, mids and lows turn muddy and threaten to envelop the rest of the song. An armful of fans scornfully glare at the sound booth; the Ave’s sound guy and Navarro’s team make all-knowing eye contact; fingers scurry across the giant Yamaha PM 3000 sound board while the band soldiers through “Mourning Son.” By the time they launch into “Rexall,” room sound is back on track and the show goes on to massive applause.
Standing behind the sound booth, watching band and tech crew both, something resonated: Dave’s on-stage reaction mirrored his life. He silently steamrolled through something shitty, then used it to create something bigger, better, stronger and faster.
The rest of the songs from his gritty debut glide by seamlessly: a sensual rendition of “Venus In Furs” drew long cat calls; “Sunny Day” was another beautifully melancholy stand out that left a handful of attendees in tears.
DAVE NAVARRO – FIRST AVENUE NIGHTCLUB – 09/09/01 | IMAGE: J. MILTON/PHOTOS ON FIRE
After closing his emotionally charged set with X’s “Los Angeles“, Dave was cool enough to catch up with weirdo music journalist me. Here’s the transcript.
Brooke Calder: Trust No One underlines an incredibly intense period in your creative and private life. Did you have any reservations about being that direct with people and was it a painful process?
Dave Navarro: Writing the songs from start to finish was a different side of things. More . . . intellectual. It was definitely an emotional purge- an exorcism, if you will. I had no reservations, you just can’t. Let me put it this way: A reserved artist isn’t an artist that speaks to me.
BC: Regarding unreserved artists, many readers are familiar with your work in Jane’s, Chili Peppers and your riffs on Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.” Having been a solo artist, a studio talent and part of a band, what are the pros and cons of each?
DN: I don’t think there’s any cons, just different aspects. Life is too short to focus on the cons!
BC: I like that. Slightly off-topic, but I read you were once in marching band. When did you join?
DN: The age of 11- I thought that would be fun to do. It has been a lot of fun!
BC: And after the death of your mother?
DN: Music was the one thing I identified with… It was a traumatic time.
(An awkward moment passes. Refusing to pry in the disrespectful manner I’d witnessed others doing, I shifted the conversation.)
BC: Dave, what’s your next tour stop?
DN: All over! St. Louis, Indianapolis… Later this Fall, I’ll be meeting up with Jane’s for some shows, then continuing tour on the West Coast.
BC: What’s the deal with the Diddy video? Please tell me you wrote those crunchy riffs in “Bad Boys for Life.”
DN: [Laughs] No. It was a cameo- we’re friends and he called me up. It was a blast!
BC: Thinking about the digital age — downloads becoming a thing, artists being able to sell their own work — any advice for the new guys?
DN: Do what you love. For me, the intention isn’t about making money. I’ve been fortunate enough to make a living doing what I love, you know? But if I were a plumber, I’d still make music.
BC: Regarding contracts?
DN: Hey, I could use some advice!
BC: I’ll put that in print. Surely someone will come out of the woodwork. Any other thoughts?
DN: It’s all about simplicity. Whatever you do, stay present.
BC: Final question. I create a “scénarios étranges” for each interview. Yours is: A giant asteroid is heading for Earth and the world is ending in 36 hours. Where are you going, who are you calling, and what will you do?
DN: Thirty-six hours? Hmmmmmmm. Definitely spending it at home with my girlfriend . . . Ordering like . . . 18 pizzas! [Laughs]
Off record in the green room, we giggle. It’s clear that Romeo’s prior Juliet turned out to be Rosaline, and that Carmen (Elektra) is the sun. We briefly discuss Carmen’s Minneapolis connection and I share that everyone here only had kind things to say about her, which (in this business) is rare. I can tell by the glint in his eye that he misses her tremendously.
Wrapping up, Dave compliments my Neo Tokyo watch, then asks what else I do. Since he went there, I hand him a Burning Shakespeare demo. He inquires what it is; I relay that I pen response pieces to other artists’ work (ex: “Sunday Afternoon“, in which the woman Dulli addresses in “Debonair” reveals her side of the story; “Pathétique” , a duo-lingo take down of Limp Bizkit‘s “Nookie“, etc.). He says he’s never heard of anyone doing that; I cite the Venetian tradition of poets sparring. He sparks a Sobranie; I comment that David Bowie smoked the same brand and shoot him a knowing look. Signature grin, he offers me one. I decline politely but thank him for his hospitality, wish him a killer tour, then hit the road.
Home, I transcribe our previously taped conversation and begin to pen the framework around it. Across town, my photographer friend Milty (a.k.a James Milton) calls to confirm that we’ve got a possible cover. Wanting to work while memories are fresh, I stay up all night and into lunch typing these words.
The following morning, I wake to my housemate banging on my bedroom door, frantically rambling about a crazy plane crash in New York. Thinking this is one of his signature pranks, I slip into my fuzzy bathrobe, hair mangled and shuffle downstairs, plotting revenge.
On the TV in the living room, there it is: replay of the first plane slamming into the North Tower. Still half asleep, I theorize this must be some stunning War of Worlds-style publicity stunt for a new disaster movie. Assuming that what I saw couldn’t be real, the scent of coffee lured me into the kitchen. Pouring a mug of Velvet Hammer, I yawn at the steam, shake my head and begin stirring the creamer in. Suddenly, my roommate shrieks again. I run.
Watching plane two hit the second tower in real time, my asteroid question to Dave echoed in my head like a DD-5 in overdrive. When the Pentagon was hit roughly a half hour later, I found myself contemplating whether this was the end of the America; if family out East were okay; what the next target might be and oddly, whether Dave could get to Carmen or vice-versa.
Once caffeine and reality kicked in, I spent the rest of the day monitoring CNN, clutching the phone and calling loved ones on both Coasts. I learn from my bff Clancy Ratliff that our former classmate David Jeffry was in the South Tower, but had thankfully survived. Hundreds, however, had not.
The day after, an acquaintance who knew I’d interviewed Dave leaked that MTV were pulling the video for “Rexall“ due to the exploding buildings. While I felt bad for him, removing potentially triggering visuals from rotation was probably the last smart thing the network did.
Like many Americans in the coming weeks, I kept waiting for lord-knows-what might come next. I struggled to concentrate and complete this article to meet our deadline, but am afraid it’s just not as cohesive as it could be.
It’s a strange, new world we’re living in, and the phrase Trust No One has taken on new meaning.
DAVE NAVARRO – FIRST AVENUE – 09/09/01 | IMAGE: J. MILTON/PHOTOS ON FIRE
DAVE NAVARRO – FIRST AVENUE – 09/09/01 – SET LIST
Very Little Daylight
Venus in Furs
Not for Nothing
Slow Motion Sickness
LIKE WHAT YOU’RE READING?
VISIT BROOKE’S NEW SITE or PATREON & SEND A WAVE: