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."
8:49 p.m.: We walk into the Playboy Radio studio. There are Playboy bunny emblems mounted on the wall and a purple glow to the room. There is also a large Playboy Radio sign that hangs above a black desk with microphones attached. Dave and Todd have a show on the station -- on Sirius XM -- called "Dark Matter," which they broadcast with Jane's Addiction's guitar tech Dan Cleary and radio DJ Jessica Sattelberger. They're about to go on the air.
8:50 p.m.: The guys discuss if it's hot when women shave down below.
9:00 p.m.: "You are awfully quiet, Danielle. Are you still upset?" Dave asks me. He tells me that Carl Bernstein probably never cried.
9:05 p.m.: Dave admits: "If he [Todd] had a vagina, I probably wouldn't need to go on another date," says Dave. "He provides all my emotional support."
Dan Cleary (Left), Todd Newman (Center) Dave Navarro (Right)
9:10 p.m.: They're on air. Iron Maiden plays in the background. Dave explains that you should want to keep the clitoris nice and cool. He tells me to pick up a microphone and explain what happened earlier to the people listening. I was not prepared to participate.
9:11 p.m.: I announce that I've already pissed Dave off twice this evening. The first time was because I asked him if he minds two men having sex. Dan interjects and tells me that there always needs to be at least five dicks and three of them need to be black.
9:13 p.m.: Dave calls me a "typical woman" for trying to defend myself when I was wrong. "I was floored," he says. Todd notes that I broke the law. Dave jumps in and says that he "loathes the press," but feels closer to me after our argument.
9:15 p.m.: We get our second caller. He informs us that we're not on the air. "Good thing L.A. Weekly is here to cover this. We caught up with Dave Navarro doing his podcast," he says, jokingly. "What the fuck!?!?! My own associates at Playboy Radio failed to mention this. I have no fucking idea what I'm doing with my career."
9:20 p.m.: "I never thought that I would come to Playboy and be bummed that I'm getting fucked," says Dave. "I thought this would be hot, but it's really just a corporate cock fucking--" He trails off briefly before diving into another call.
9:30 p.m.: We realize that Playboy Radio is no longer available on Sirius XM Channel 102. They just cut it. Dave is livid. People keep calling in to ask why we aren't live right now. This makes him angrier. Jessica plays "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel.
9:45 p.m.: Dave smokes a cigarette in the bathroom.
10:00 p.m.: We're all sitting in the control room and "All by Myself" blares loudly. Dave is still very angry. He turns to me and asks if I have any questions for him. I look at him for a moment. I ask him about how his mother's violent death has affected his life. Dan jumps in the conversation to mock my question: "Yeah, how did it feel when your mom was murdered?"
10:01 p.m.: Everyone looks at me in shock. Dave responds: "Um. I can't give you a sound bite about that. That's a huge--" He doesn't finish his sentence. The entire room laughs, and there is an awkward silence.
10:35 p.m.: We get back in the car to head to Dave's apartment. He needs a moment to regroup. In the car, he tells me that talking about his mom's death isn't really a "wild night" for him. He turns around from the front passenger seat to say: "I don't know what else I can tell you other than it sucks."
"I don't want to piss you off again."
"You didn't piss me off. I'm just in a shitty mood. I think I'm pretty clear: I don't want to talk about my mom."
10:40 p.m.: I want to know who Dave is. The REAL him. He tells me that he is always evolving.
10:42 p.m.: He asks me to pull up one of my other Wild Night articles so that he can read it. I show him the article on rapper Problem. He starts reading my piece from my phone. I'm getting slightly uncomfortable. He's whistling an unrecognizable tune while he reads.
10:44 p.m.: He's worried I'm going to portray him as being a cranky dick. He's getting paranoid.
10:55 p.m.: We drive by a location where Dave wrote and directed a porn film starring Sasha Grey. He was proud he won an AVN Award for it. Dave admits that he doesn't watch any porn. "I really, really, really, never, ever, ever, do ever," he says. "When I want to do something, I don't want to watch a movie about people doing it. I just do it. When I'm hungry, I don't watch a video of people eating. I have a sandwich. So if I'm horny, why am I going to watch people fuck?" He also mentions that he can't put in porn without knowing somebody in it, which sounds to me like he does, in fact, watch porn at least some of the time.
10:57 p.m.: I was right. Dave tells me a story about how he was fucking a girl while watching her porn in a hotel. He said it was great and that Todd was actually there while he was doing it. Todd is married with two children, so he thinks that women always feel safe with him in the room.
11:00 p.m.: We arrive at Dave's apartment. He's still obsessing about this piece. He makes fun of himself for obsessing about this piece.
11:01 p.m.: He continues to obsess about this piece while mocking the timestamp format. He tells me he's nervous about how it's going to turn out.
11:02 p.m.: I walk inside his place. There is a coffin lying on the floor with a gray Tregan guitar placed inside. This coffin is his fourth one. According to him, they aren't built to last a long time. I ask him if he's slept in it before. He says yes.
11:03 p.m.: Above the coffin, there is a painting of a young girl sitting in a bathtub surrounded by blood. A dog's skeleton is in a glass box resting on top of a black table with an old-school tattoo gun in front of it. There are various paintings on the walls, a mini-bar to my right and a skeleton standing up in the back corner next to a pink Hello Kitty guitar. I notice that most of the alcohol is untouched, except for a half-empty bottle of Hennessy. On the kitchen table, there is an Ouija board.
11:05 p.m.: "Have you ever seen any ghosts?" I ask Dave.
"No, I wish. I study everything from UFO's to paranormal to conspiracy theory type stuff.
But I'm an informed skeptic. Until I see something myself..."
Dave walks to the bathroom. He comes out singing New Order's "Blue Monday." He admits he's a weirdo.
11:10 p.m.: I ask to use the bathroom. He goes inside again and straightens things up before I go inside.
11:15 p.m.: I come out of the bathroom and he's writing in my notepad. He crosses out something I wrote. Despite the obvious invasion of privacy, I don't freak out.
11:31 p.m.: We arrive at an underground Hollywood club called V Society. People here are dressed like vampires. The industrial music is blasting intensely. Everywhere I turn, I see naked asses and tape covering women's nipples. There is a guy with bunny ears and a thong on. Now, I look like the outcast.
11:35 p.m.: We walk into another room in the club. I sit down and notice that five hundred dollar bills sit on a table surrounded by vodka and cranberry drinks. A voluptuous woman in a short skirt sits next to me and starts touching my leg.
12:00 a.m.: Dave takes off his shirt, and I can see he has a lot of his black-and-white tattoos and his nipples pierced. A woman starts cleansing his head and body with sage.
12:05 a.m.: He's lying down on massage table covered in blue plastic and allows her to rub his back. There is a rope that separates him from the rest of the people in the club. I'm told I'm not allowed to pass the rope. I have no idea what is going on.
12:22 a.m.: I stand in front of Dave while his head faces the ground. His arms are at his sides. I'm still not allowed to pass the red rope. Two gloved men dressed in black are sterilizing his back.
12:25 a.m.: I see a metal hook pierce his back. It looks very painful. WHAT THE FUCKKKKK! Then the second hook gets placed in his back.
12:30 a.m.: Dave stands up and starts walking slowly. He paces back and forth.
12:32 a.m.: Dave is suspended into air. He lifts his arms. I have goosebumps.
12:35 a.m.: He dangles from two red ropes. He looks dead at one point. He closes his eyes and opens them. Todd lights him a cigarette to smoke while he spins through the air.
12:40 a.m.: He's spinning in circles. His back is dripping blood.
12:55 a.m.: A random dude with a chain coming out of his nose asks me why I'm following around Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters. The actual Dave I'm with, meanwhile, is at the bar buying his female friends drinks. His hand slowly slides down one of the girl's backs. She's dressed like a sexy vampire fairy. His hand is now on her ass crack.
1:00 a.m.: We leave the club and Dave tells me that it was a very spiritual experience. He was completely unaware of the people around him. This was his first time suspending in public. This is the kind of world in which he likes to spend his time.
1:10 a.m.: They drop me off at my car. Dave gets out and gives me a hug. He tells me that he's sorry for making me cry.
1:17 a.m.: I sit in my parked car for a moment and do not yet turn the ignition. I finally exhale.
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