BOOK REVIEW | "DON"T TRY THIS AT HOME: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF DAVE NAVARRO" BY DAVE NAVARRO & NEIL STRAUSS
photo by nacrowe
there was an interesting period in the late 90s when guitarist DAVE NAVARRO was without a regular gig as it had been years since he left the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and JANE'S ADDICTION had recently broken up for the second time. he was also recently divorced (pre-CARMEN ELECTRA). it was during this time that he bunkered himself into his HOLLYWOOD HILLS home and chose to document a year in his life ANDY WARHOL-style, by buying and installing a vintage photo-booth and requiring every person that entered his house (celebrities, models, comedians, hangers-on, musicians, groupies, maids, plumbers, drug dealers, etc) to take a photo when entering. WARHOL famously setup a 16mm film camera at his FACTORY studio and had everyone sit for several minutes, the idea being that after a while you stop posing and act like your authentic self.
DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF DAVE NAVARRO (HARPERCOLLINS, 2004) is the culmination of NAVARRO and co-writer NEIL STRAUSS contextualizing these photographs into NAVARRO's relapse into heroin addiction. you would think that this premise would be easy fodder for glamorizing drug addiction, especially with the seeming young HOLLYWOOD in-crowd partaking in his late night activities on a semi-regular basis. but the book really just sets up how lost he was at the time. it would be years before he would properly go about getting professional help regarding the trauma of dealing with his mother's murder by the hand of a jealous ex-boyfriend in his formative years as a teenager.
all that being said, i can't imagine the seductive power of being so young and admired. i don't know how anyone in that situation would not become a full blown addict with the HOLLYWOOD set. but he got out of it. he recovered.
and i think that is the reason he chose to write and have this book published, to show others (maybe within the music community) that there is a way out, no matter how deep and dependent you are on the drug community. in the years since more members of the community have passed on from drugs or drug-related activities, most notably CHRIS CORNELL, MICHAEL JACKSON, AMY WINEHOUSE, TOM PETTY, MAC MILLER, PRINCE, SCOTT WEILAND (STONE TEMPLE PILOTS), JANI LANE (WARRENT), LIL PEEP, WHITNEY HOUSTON, RICK JAMES, WAYNE STATIC (STATIC-X), IKE TURNER and THE REV (AVENGED SEVENFOLD).
i really feel this book was meant for his peers and not the general public. to the public parts of this book come off salacious and voyeuristic, but to a musician of any importance my guess is this unending expanding cadre of enablers is more than familiar. to them by showing his reality, hopefully it'll make them seek help.
as for NAVARRO, i wish he'd stop with his addiction to hosting shitty REALITY TV shows. i'm just saying.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
i hate SACRAMENTO.
thats not a secret to most people who know me. i moved there abruptly my senior year of high school in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 from all places, KUWAIT. looking back i appreciate the sacrifice my uncle and aunt took in bringing me in without much notice and did their best with a moody, intransigent teenager.
that being said, SACRAMENTO objectively did suck. the jingoistic, right-wing, muslim-baiting horseshit i had to deal with daily by the kids out there (and some teachers) was a test of patience on my part. one of the unfortunate things about living abroad that most people don't realize is coming home and having to smile and listen to people talk about things they know nothing of. you just have to sit and take it. thats it. its unavoidable and completely isolating.
so its been my longstanding belief that nothing good ever came out of SACRAMENTO, with the exceptions being DEFTONES and DEATH GRIPS. well, a few years ago i added CHELSEA WOLFE to that list.
holt shit is she the real deal. her music is a viscerally affecting amalgam of FOLK, POST-PUNK, DOOM METAL and GOTH rock. had i only known that someone my age from neighboring ROSEVILLE was gonna create such potent material years on i might've been a little nicer back then.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
my brother's ex-girlfriend clued me into this band nearly two years ago when i returned stateside from MYANMAR. at that point i felt utterly discombobulated emotionally (i had decided to not pursue my teaching career any further), geographically and politically. DRAB MAJESTY's 2017 effort THE DEMONSTRATION turned out to be the perfect soundtrack to that feel of isolation and detachment.
much like JAPANESE BREAKFAST hit a sweet spot with all the SHOEGAZE and INDIE ROCK bands i grew up loving, DRAB MAJESTY are basically an amalgamation of all my favorite 80s post-punk, GOTH ROCK and NEW WAVE bands, matching THE CURE's textual keyboards and droning guitar riffs with THE SMITHS' sense of melody and ringing guitar heroics.
plus they write really great songs. i cannot recommend them highly enough. they recently released a new album MODERN MIRROR that is definitely worth checking out in addition to their catalogue.
art by nacrowe
watch HERE our recent episode of DEER GOD RADIO where we get all whimsical emersing ourselves in the romantic tides and aural melodic pleasures that is the music of ROBERT SMITH and THE CURE.
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST, and THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW are available here at the DEER GOD website.