interviewsthis page was updated on 2012.10.31 @ 02:50:01 CDT
phone interview with Dave Navarro
conducted by Dominique
Grumpyfish - January 19, 1998
- O.K. Dave, I'm confused. What is Spread's album actually gonna be called?
Unicorns and Rainbows: The Pelican [note the colon!]
- The video that you're making to accompany the record, is Chad in that too, or is it just a personal thing?
No, Chad's in it, in fact there's going to be a couple of...I don't want to say "music videos", but there's going to be a couple of songs that are sung to more dramatised footage...that is fictional, but for the most part, the video is basically documented real life happenings.
- Is the video going to come packaged with the CD, or will they be two separate things?
Well initially, I wanted to make it available only in a format that would be viewable and audible at the same time only. However the options I have there are very limited, in the sense that all I'm really looking at for the best sonic and visual quality is something called DVD which is still not even proven to be something that is going to take off on a large scale and at the same time, what ends up happening with DVD is that people without DVD players can still hear the audio off the discs. So, say I put out a DVD of the film and the music, with the intention that you have to watch it and hear it at the same time, if the person doesn't have a DVD player, they can just put it in their CD player, and hear it. So that defeats the purpose, plus it would end up being twice as much the CD alone would have been. So what I'm stuck with is this option of putting out a CD that costs twice as much and literally has close to zero fan base...so, a select few would buy the album, and those select few don't deserve to be charged twice as much...I suppose is the best way to put it.
- So you've abandoned that idea and it will be just an audio CD?
And hopefully a video as well, because then if you go JUST VHS, you lose the sonic quality of the music. So that was the other option, and I didn't want to do that. Plus, the video is, quite frankly, if it does in fact happen, which I'm hoping it will, it will be very difficult for some viewers to watch, and I might be shooting myself in the foot, in terms of accessibility, to whoever is interested in the project.
- What's it going to be rated?
The film? I don't know, because it's not going to be in theatres, I don't know if they rate home video, I guess they do, pornography would be, but there's no sexual contractions in the film.
[Laughs] Put it this way, it's not difficult to watch, in the sense that there's not a lot of really horrifying decadent acts taking place in it. It's difficult to watch in the sense that there's a lot of reality based vulnerable moments revealed within the footage...
- In Australia I think we have a rating which covers adult concepts, so even if there is no sex or violence in it, it still isn't considered suitable for children.
It's not a story though, it's literally a home made film with camcorders that I have, and most of the documentation has been filmed either within my home, or on the tour or in the studio, or wherever it might be, but it's in no way intending to be a slick, huge, ground breaking visual masterpiece. It's more or less what's going on in my life. But Chad's involved with it as much as he wants to be. He knows that.
- Were all the songs recorded at Blue Light Studios?
No, there are a couple from the Blue Light sessions, that's actually here, at my house, [for those who don't know], and in fact, we just recently installed Pro-Tools, which, as you probably know, is an intense computerised way of recording, and it's very exciting for me because I'm so in love with computers and I'm so in love with music, and I can't think of two better things to combine and waste the rest of my life working with.
- Yeah, but I'm warning you, my computer fucked up this morning and I can't get into it in any way, shape or form.
That's probably because you're running a PC.
- No, I've got a Mac, thank you!
- Well, the Power Mac still works, but I've got an LC640 as well.
Well why do you even have that? You should use it as the legs to hold up a coffee table [laughs].
- That's NOW it's function [laughs] it will now be relegated to that!
I have the [Macintosh] 1400 lap top and a 9500 desktop and the Pro-Tools is on the 9600.
- O.K. you win, I've only got a 7300.
I tell you, I just can't have enough of them.
- I know what you mean...
I'm really excited about when computers and plasma television is a reality.
- Are those the very flat screen things?
Yeah...the combination of the two. In terms of digital reception, or whatever you would call it. Then there's the webTV thing, but I'm pretty sure that everything's gonna be through an enormous monitor in the home and I just can't wait for that technology to happen. Some spots in the world, I don't know if you guys have it, but there are cables, they're working with, in terms of the internet, where the bandwidth is so great, that browsing the internet is just like flipping pages in a book. It's so incredibly fast.
- Have you been watching AnaCam recently?
- Someone told me that a picture you did got put up on her site. Did she send you a prize?
No, because I didn't win. If you look at the other pictures, everyone else is doing some incredible graphic wizardry...right?
- You called yourself "Painter" was it done in the Painter program?
No, just Photoshop, and what is kind of embarrassing for me, is that when I look at all the other pictures, everybody is doing the magical, technical stuff and showing their knowledge of their computers, and their programs to enhance a picture of Ana, whereas my only way to enhance a picture of Ana, was to put me in it. [Laughs] That's a little embarrassing [sarcastically] "Oh, she'd look really good with me in the top!"
- Of course!
Terrible...but she's a good friend of mine, in fact she called me yesterday, I just more or less sent that in to her as a laugh, just to be cute.
- It was cute....
I'm glad you thought so.
- When you and Chad sat down at the start, and said "Look, we've got some downtime, let's do a project", did you plan to release it from day one, or did that evolve later?
Well, Chad and I have a very close relationship. I would say that he and I are closer than either one of us is to the other members of the band [RHCP] and as a result of that, we spend a lot of time, apart from the band, together. At one point, we scored a short film, for a friend of mine. Unfortunately, nothing happened with the film, but that's when the Blue Light Studio came to fruition, and ever since then, we've just kind of been recording musical concepts whenever we had 'em and when we were faced with the reality of having a lot of downtime...Anthony was out of town, and Flea was in Australia, or wherever he was, the concept of a tour, or a new Chili Pepper record didn't seem so much of a reality...we began writing and recording our own songs, and in terms of from the start, did we plan on releasing anything? I just think, in that way, it just kind of evolved and we ended up with a handful of songs and I said, "Let's just record these and put them out." Initially, I wanted to just put them out myself. Just press up a bunch of CDs and put 'em out.
I have to tell you, and take the stand that this project [Spread] is in no way anything but, Chad and I having a good time and also utilising the music as a form of expression, at least for me, in a way that I have not had available, and the process of writing all the music and lyrics and basically playing all the instruments and doing vocals for the first time was pretty intense and emotionally devouring. And so, as much as I know that this record doesn't have "hits" on it and doesn't have videos on it and it's not going to sell a whole lot of copies and it'll probably be critically ill received, at the same time, I'm very proud of it, in a sense that this is something that I set out to do and I did it and finished it. As it stands, we're still planning on remixing quite a lot of the tracks because, having had some distance and looking back on this material, I feel that some of it doesn't go far enough in any direction. A lot of it sounds really safe to me.
- Is that in terms of the music, or the lyrics?
Just the production. Some of it sounds really slick and over produced and some of it sounds, just tame and I think that because, on top of being in the captains seat, so to speak, creatively, and on the writing side, I was also in the captains seat for the production end of things, which might have been a mistake because I wasn't able to have an open mind. I wasn't able to see anything from a different point of view. But all in all, we do have a completed, mastered album and we're gonna go and do some remixes and if they work out, then we'll use those, and if they don't, we still have the record.
- So, is that why you're getting other people to help with the remixing? To help get some objectivity?
Yeah, actually the only person I've been talking to is a guy called Jimmy Boyle, who is doing a band called Boilsinberri and he's been a friend of mine for about 10 years. I had no idea that he was, in himself, a talented songwriter so I spent the last week kinda co-producing some tracks of his, with him, and my intention is to hopefully hook him up with some sort of deal where he can put his music out to the people. In return, he's gonna help us with some remixes. What's interesting about the two of us working together, is the fact that he is very very "lo fi" and tends to create uglier sounding mixes.
- So that'll get rid of the "slick" thing you're worried about?
Yeah, but I think that he does it too much, and I tend to go a little bit more "hi fi", and he thinks I do that too much.
- And so if you both meet in the middle, it will be perfect?
Hopefully! So I brought his music to a little more of a polished area, with still keeping it raw, and hopefully he can take some of the polish value out of my music. Which I would love.
- Do you think Spread is the closest thing to the real "Dave"? Because it sounds very different to Jane's Addiction, Chili Peppers and Deconstruction.
Of course, because of the fact that every feeling on there is mine, but musically? I don't know, I mean there are parts of Jane's and Deconstruction and the Chili Peppers that are all very much part of me. I would say, in the Chili Pepper world, I've had a harder time identifying with some of the musical expression that we lean towards, but yeah, I would say, for the most part that Spread is definitely more of where I am coming from as an artist than anything I've done before. Just, simply because I did everything. I don't want to undermine Chad's input either, because he is one of the most creative and musical drummers, if not THE most creative and musical drummer I've ever met and his input on this album was so inspiring and so much responsible for the end product and I believe that his talents go unappreciated in the Chili Peppers. I think he's not listened to enough when it comes to musical concepts.
- So this is obviously why you like doing all the remixes of other peoples records with Chad? He's got a good musical brain.
He's an incredible arranger, let me put it that way. He's just got a knack for arrangements. He knows when to go overboard, and he knows when to pull the reins back. As far as the remixing stuff goes, that's just fun, we love to spend time in the studio, of course, and we love to be creative. What could be more fun than to be able to do those things and at the end of the day, not really have to care about how it turns out, because it's not yours? "At least it's not mine" [laughs]. Those things are fun, I'm not worried about it if it's Tracii Lords...I just wanna have a good time, and maybe get a little head!
- Does she give good head?
Noooo, I'm just kidding!
- I'm sure she'd give the BEST!
No, I wouldn't know! I'm just joking. I'm trying to be shocking, but I'm finding I don't shock too many people anymore.
- Well I am Australian, we're not shocked by anything.
I know [laughs]...no she's a sweetheart, it was really nice to work with her.
- Usually you don't get to work with the artist on remixes do you? I mean Jamiroquoi would just send it to you and you'd fuck with it and send it back.
Yeah, but Traci was very interested in coming down, I mean, we've got Chad Smith in the studio, can you blame her?
- Well, no! [laughs] With your lyrics, was Spread a chance to go back and examine personal feelings, or were they there already, waiting to be sung?
Mostly, a lot of the music just came from me and Chad just jamming together and for the most part, I would say 90% of the album. I never sat down with a pad and pencil and wrote down lyrics, I would just sing them, as we were playing. Invent stuff in my head...it was just a stream of consciousness, so to speak. It became very easy that way. My lyrics are just essentially very straight forward, very dry, very non-metaphorical.
- Wow, so you really just sang the words as they came into your head?
They're just simply what it is...there are some flowery moments...I cringe when I hear what it is that I'm trying to express, and then the way I ended up expressing it. I don't fancy myself a poet or a lyricist, by any means. I just used this musical venture as a tool to get in touch with some things. So I didn't necessarily have to go back anywhere, it was just there. Whereas some of these feelings I may have processed and worked through, it doesn't mean that they haven't happened.
- When did you realise you could sing?
I have yet to realise that.
- Oh, no baby, you can sing!....O.K. then, at some point you must have realised that your voice was good enough for you to decide to sing for Spread.
Let me ask you this...how would you know that?
- I've heard them.
- On the internet.
You heard my songs on the internet? How did you find out about the Spread page in Melbourne?
- Someone on the Jane's Addiction mailing list mentioned it.
Wow! Well thank you, I don't necessarily consider myself a strong singer, and the thing about me, and my vocals is that I do have faith in the sense that I know I can hit the notes, but as far as becoming a lead vocalist, I don't think I have that lead vocal "thing".
- I think you're wrong - I think you've got a fantastic voice...what's the song called? She has everything?
It's just called "Everything"...
- Your voice is awesome on that...
- Why are you going to get a guitar player and play bass yourself on stage? Why not just get a bass player?
I just love the bass so much and I feel like I've gone as far as I can go on the guitar. And like, I've never sung before and I've never played bass before, so...and since I wrote all those basslines on the album, I pretty much, just have decided that that would be really fun. When I'm at home and down in the studio, I usually...nine times out of ten, I pick up the bass before I pick up the guitar. And you know what? There's something about it that's more "in the moment" than guitar playing.
- So do you write the melody on the bass? Or do you start with a bassline and then decorate over the top?
In terms of writing songs? It's a multitude of different ways, but usually, most of the songs on the record started off acoustic guitar. My friend Rick Rubin once mentioned to me that a song isn't a song unless you can sit down with an acoustic guitar and play it. I disagree with him [laughs] but that's what he told me, and that's how I approach it.
- How are you going to find a guitarist that can be "Dave"?
I don't want anybody to...I wouldn't wish that on myself! [laughs] I just want a guy who I can get along with and that can play his instrument. I'm not asking him to do cartwheels, the songs are pretty simple and...oh, there is one song that I definitely insist on playing guitar, and that would be the "Everything" song, and that's only because, in the middle of the song, there is like a 5 or 6 minute jam, that was inspired by Jimi Hendrix's "Machine Gun" and there's just no bands out there right now...I guess Billy Corgan plays a lot of solo's...but there's not too many bands out there that have a lot of soloing guitar players in them. I understand that the progression of music is more about the moment and the inspiration, rather than talent these days [laughs] especially in an age where somebody who doesn't know a thing about music, can get on a computer, and write a hit song.
- They construct the song instead of playing it...
Absolutely! Which I think is great, because it just leaves more doors open, in terms of where we can go as a society, but as far as just sheer rock guitar playing...I still love that. In as much as I don't listen to it anymore...playing it's a whole other story.
In the song "Everything", to me, I have the best time playing that. In fact, I can play a piece, if you wanna hear it?
- Sure! Is this stored on your Mac?
No, it's on CD...[plays some of "Everything" over the phone]
O.K. did you hear this clip on the internet?
[He lets it run on until it gets to a guitar solo]
See how this song just goes into this freeform "rock" jamming?
Like the guys used to do in the old days and I just love that so much, I know it's wanking, but y'know, someone's got to do it, and I know that since this record isn't gonna be well received and loved by lots of people...I may as well [laughs].
- You can wank as much as you like [laughs].
That's why on that particular song, I insist, but apart from that, I love playing the bass. I know this is the longest answer you ever had to the simplest question, but...
- Talk away, doesn't bother me!
I don't know if you recognise this...[plays some more of "Everything"] but it's that Jimi Hendrix part I was telling you about...[plays more]
We cover a piece of the Jimi Hendrix song "Machine Gun" within the song "Everything".
- Do you cover any whole songs on the Spread record?
We do a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs"...
- Beautiful, that's a great song.
Yeah, I love it...I've always had a very special place in my heart for that song. We also did a cover of Lou Reeds' "The Bed" which is off the Berlin album, but I'm not going to put it on the record because...[pauses].
- That's a pretty intense song isn't it?
Do you know the song?
- Yeah, isn't it the one where she kills herself?
Right! I love the song, I love playing it and singing it, but upon reflection, "Venus in Furs" is something I can relate to can and I feel very comfortable singing it, but when it came to "The Bed"...actually, what happened is...since I was in the process of putting film footage to these songs and I made a video for the "Venus in Furs" song...where I play a transsexual dancer at a club and I end up going home with a military officer and that's what you see when you're listening to "Venus in Furs"...but then, when it came to beginning to consider "The Bed", I was hit with the harsh reality of what a personal song that is to Lou Reed and where do I get off coming up with images for that song? Let alone even singing it? And as much as I don't have a girl or woman in my life that killed herself, I did have the tragic loss of my mother, so I felt very close to that song and very sincere, when I was singing it, because I could definitely relate to the tragic loss of a very important woman in my life. But then, at the same time realising that this is someone else's really personal feelings, and I didn't feel comfortable doing it. So the option that I am stuck with now, is not putting it on the album...but you know how there are hidden tracks on albums?
Well, there's a possibility that I'm going to make it a hidden track, but only on the film...I shouldn't be saying this, because then it won't be hidden, but what I'm considering doing, and like I said, the film isn't 100% reality, as of yet, so I feel I can speak about it, but my concept is to have just the audio of the song come on like say, 10 minutes after the film is over, and so there is just black screen for 10 minutes and if someone leaves it on that long, then they'll discover that there's another song, but audio only.
- Sounds like a great idea.
I'm thinking of having blank screen, or maybe footage of Sammy Davis Jnr...
- Why? [laughs]
Because the album title and cover art is the antithesis of the feelings expressed within the album and I would imagine Sammy Davis Jnr dancing would be the antithesis of that song. I love using opposites as examples, that's why the unicorns and rainbows thing is so perfect for me.
- Because it's so opposed to the darkness of the content of the music?
Yeah, and so many people just don't "get it". I showed my assistant the album cover and she looked at me like I was out of my mind. "What are you talking about? This is your cover??"
- So what's on the cover?
A unicorn! It's got an airbrushed painting that looks like it's from the seventies, it's really cheesy..it's horrible [laughs].
- We have cars in Australia called Sandman panel vans, and the fashion in the seventies was to airbrush scenes on the panels of your panel van...
Yeah! See that? It's one of those...
Oh man, it's so great [laughs]. You listen to the music and hear those words, then look at the cover...it's really disturbing. I mean, it becomes one of the most disturbing and darkest of images I could ever think of.
- Sometimes the subversive is more powerful?
Yeah, it's basically just uncomfortable. For instance, in a rape or murder scene in a film, if they're playing really impactful, powerful music, you go "Wow, this is a really gripping, heavy handed part of the movie", whereas if they were playing...say, carnival music, it would do nothing but make you really uncomfortable, and that's what I like about it.
- Why do you want to make the listener feel really uncomfortable?
That's not my intention, I'm not trying to make anybody uncomfortable, but if I have to have a reaction, to me, for me, if it makes me uncomfortable and makes me think about it, and consider the reasons why I'm uncomfortable. And what is pervading through my life, I've found discomfort makes me think a little more. My intention is not to make people feel uncomfortable, it's more or less just to explore and divulge how uncomfortable of a person I am.
- I think it's pretty unique that you've decided to release the sound clips to a website, before they're carved in stone. Is there any kind of purpose behind it, or did the guy just ask you and you said yeah?
Pretty much. My whole thing right now is that I'm very excited about the internet and that as a tool of communication and a tool where we can get in touch with people we don't know.
- Well there you go...I heard them in Melbourne!
Yeah! I mean, that's so incredible to me and I don't even think that my intention was to release clips for the world to hear if they wanted, because frankly, these aren't even done. The truth of the matter is that the kid who started up the Spread website was very eager to hear some material, and he asked if I would send him a wave or two, and I said "sure" and I sent him a couple. I mean, they're not very long, and it take's too long to download 'em, but he was thrilled that I took the time to do that for him and he asked if I would mind if he put 'em on a page and I said "no" [I didn't mind]. So that just kind of came about, it was by no means me being a real arrogant, cocky bastard and thinking "I know everybody wants to hear this!" I just thought it would be a nice thing to do.
- Well it's pretty exciting, let me tell you, for the "Dave and Chad" fans. I communicate with a lot of them, and they're pretty excited that we're are getting to hear things at such an early stage.
Really? That's so nice.
- Do you also realise it drives your fans crazy knowing that there's that "un-released" solo CD just sitting in boxes in your house?
I didn't know that.
- It's terrible, we're all being tortured.
Oh, that's great! [laughs]
- You're so cruel!
No, I'm surprised anybody remembers that! That record's very difficult to listen to, it's really strange. Very very strange. For the most part, it's all acoustic and it was done at my house and it's all about my ex-wife and me and how much I despise her and despise myself. I'll play you one piece of the music off that record and you'll see what I'm talking about...[plays a trippy sounding piece with sweet childlike vocals]
The intent here was to...you see, it's pretty music and it's sung kinda like Sesame Street and there's kids and falsetto voices and it's kinda sweet, but the words are so horrible. [Sings] "Sunny day, happy day, you tore my life, I have no friends." Y'know, I guess right there is another example of this contrast and duality I'm talking about, but actually, I'm going to probably put a couple of these tracks directly from this, to the Spread record.
- Cool, that would be really good.
They're very bizarre, they're in no way cohesive songs.
- Yeah, but I think it's very interesting to people though, I mean everybody has heard what you've done with Jane's Addiction and the Chili Peppers and Deconstruction, people know that side of you, so I think, for the more interested fans, it's really interesting to hear this kind of stuff as well, so I think it's good if you put that on the album. Have you got enough distance from the subject matter yet, for it not to be so painful?
With the ex-wife? Oh yeah, I dealt with that pretty quickly. That was only because I made this record. I actually have those CDs now, like with artwork all printed up and ready to go, stored in boxes in my coffin.
- What are you going to do with them? Are they going to just stay there as a reminder?
They are going to stay there, or sooner or later there will be a friend of mine who'll say "Can I have one of those?" but I don't want anybody to have them. You know what it is? It's like 3 or 4 days of me just being totally insane in my house.
- You said it helped you get through the divorce and get over it.
Oh yeah, the intention of that CD...there's like 5 songs on it, and initially...all I wanted to do was just let it be free. I was going to drive around Los Angeles and go from record store to record store and leave like 50 of them at each cash register and as people are checking out, they can just have one.
- What stopped you from doing that?
Upon reflection, I thought the material might have been a little hurtful [to my ex-wife].
- Do you still think that?
Ah, I could care less now! [laughs] Here's an example off that record...[plays some more] there's one more line...O.K. that song "I saw her on the street today, I thought she was somebody else. I met her last September, I thought she was somebody else." That's all the lyrics, but it's like 5 minutes long, and then the rest of it is just this...[plays the next part] one guitar part, over and over and over again, with like loud noises way off in the distance and then the song itself is being played on the fast forward of a tape recorder through it. So it just sounds like complete lunacy.
- It sounds very trippy, like Jefferson Airplane or something...
Maybe it is, but there's less of a song structure to it. This is actually my favourite one off this album, so this one in particular will be on the Spread record.
- Great! I love the sound of it.
It's probably the one song I'm most proud of writing. [Plays the hypnotic, almost soothing, repetitive guitar line, with strange "whale noises" in the background] Just the fact that it...I can't even define it...the fact that there's only two lines of lyrics blended into music and the guitar part. The bulk of the music is one part over and over and over again, which to me, has been my experience with relationships. It's the same EVERY TIME, but way off in the distance, there's all this clutter and confusion that you're never really seeing or hearing up front.
- But it's this really disorienting noise, that's always there right?
Well yeah, my experience with relationships is that they're always the same, very simple, there's only two ways it can go. One is that you get married and one way is that somebody's hurt...
- Or both?
...or both, and it's the same thing over and over again and all the clutter and confusion and noise, in the song, sounds like it's way off in the distance, way behind the repetitive guitar part and that's like when people get into relationships, they try and bury their confusion in noise, so that the partner isn't aware of it until it's too late and they've already invested their emotional stability into it. You know, that's basically the thing to me, why I'm so proud of this song.
Also, it was one of those things where I was sitting down in the studio and I was on the phone to somebody, and they said, "Have you talked to your ex-wife?" and I said "No, I didn't, but you know what? I was driving down the street and I saw this girl and I was like, WOW! That's a really beautiful girl and I drove past her, and it was HER. So I literally thought she was somebody else..." and then I said, "which is kind of funny, because even when I met her I thought she was somebody else [laughs] I thought she was a good person." So the line "I met her last September, I thought she was somebody else." that's true, I didn't think she was a whore! [Laughs] So I was in the studio and I had that conversation with somebody on the phone, and then I hung up on them, I said "Oh my God, I gotta go!" and I just recorded it right then. Within about 10 minutes it was done, and I was like "Man, that just totally captures everything about relationships."
- Well that right there sounds like Art in it's purest form. An uncensored, emotional response...
...Yeah, and to me, that's what's exciting about it. About music, and sometimes I feel like I don't have that capability within the Chili Peppers and so that's why this record's really exciting for me. Like I said, this record's not going to be widely received with open arms because it's chock full of stuff like I just played you. At the same time, it's the most honest thing I could tell you.
When I listen to the radio, most of that stuff doesn't relate to me. I'd rather be exposing something about my vulnerability than talking about what a "rad chick" somebody is, or what a great car I drive.
- You know how the previous record helped you get over your ex-wife? Do you think Spread has been therapeutic in getting through a lot of the stuff you've talked about in those songs?
I think it's going to be very beneficial in ending my career! [laughs]
- !Uh huh....Was that your intention?
No, but at least there is definitely going to be an action! Something's definitely going to happen. I think I'm going to make a lot of people very upset with some of the lyrical content and I think that I don't care.
- Why have you reached a point where...
Where I don't care?
I'll tell you why. There's something so liberating about being able to strip yourself naked and say what you wanna say and feel what you feel and back it up with "I don't give a shit what your reaction is to it." That in itself is very freeing. To discuss openly and honestly about your insecurities and fears, to some would sound very neurotic and weak, but I view those kinds of actions as completely empowering. The fear that people lock away...the action of locking it away, to me is weak. The fear of being judged is weak.
- It takes much more courage to open up and tell people about your innermost feelings, definitely. And once you've laid it all out, there's nothing left to lock away, or fear.
That's what I think, so I feel, in that sense, I am completely stripping myself of any fear or judgement, because I'm putting myself SO out there now, it's like...what else?...you can't...you're either going to respect it or you're going to hate it, but either way, I couldn't give a shit, because this is who I am and I'd rather not fool you. I spent a lot of my time trying to fool people, I guess. I'm over it!
Please, I'm not trying to be arrogant with this, in fact I feel very lucky to be able to be in a position to say this, but in terms of being a rock musician and trying to reach the goals that I set down for myself, as a child. I just feel so fortunate and lucky that not only have I reached those goals, but I've surpassed them in ways that I never dreamed and I've been a key member in two extremely well known, recognised and influential rock bands, and I can't really think of another contemporary guitarist that can say that. To me, both those bands [Jane's Addiction and Red Hot Chili Peppers] were so different from one another, yet important to rock history and I got to be a part of both of 'em. I played the Forum in L.A., I played all over the world, I sold out Madison Square Gardens, with both bands. Never won a Grammy, but I don't care, I was nominated several times...[laughs]. The point I'm trying to make is there's really no where else for me to go, there's really nothing I can do to top what I've done.
- It's scaring me how you're talking in the past tense.
What do you mean?
- Well, it's like this is the end...
I'm totally prepared to have it be the end.
That's what I'm saying, is that I've done everything I wanted to do, so there is no fear in putting out an album that might upset people. Doesn't mean I want it to be the end, but I'm prepared, because the worse case scenario is that all I'm left with is having to make songs and music and films in my home, with my friends. That's just as fulfilling, if not more so...
- From a creative point of view?
Right, and the thing about music is that sure, people want it to get successful and be recognised and I'm not going to deny that I didn't and don't, and of course, still do, but at the same time, collectively within the bands I've been in, we've received a lot of recognition and have had an impact, in a way that I never dreamt would be possible. So I am not afraid. I don't mean to be speaking as if it's the end, but if it is, that's O.K. with me. It's not like there's one thing I wish I'd done.
- Well I'm glad to hear you're just preparing, and not planning, for the end.
What I'm trying to explain is that I feel very free, because what are the things that make you not feel free? Nine times out of ten, it's things you're afraid of losing, so basically, what I'm saying is that I'm not afraid of losing anything. I've made some money, but I've not made tons of it. Remember, I was not in the Chili Peppers when "Under the Bridge" came out [laughs] so they're very well off, and that's great for them. I have a comfortable life, but I don't, by any means, live extravagantly, and I've been in one room apartments with five other people at times. Either way, I'm not afraid of that either. I'm not afraid of taking steps forward or backwards as long as I'm creatively content. I don't care where I am, in terms of success.
- Does scratching for money not get in the way of doing what you want though? Especially when you've seen greener pastures?
No, I don't think so. I think it's the drive of the artist is what matters. I mean, I spent the whole time in Jane's Addiction, in the same one room apartment. In '91, when we broke up, I was living in the same place as I was when we formed. Jane's didn't make a lot of money. I hope this doesn't sound arrogant, I don't want it to, I just feel the only place I can go, and still be happy, is to embrace creativity.
- No it doesn't, I understand that.
I just spent this past week in the studio with Jimmy, mixing his music and that was so fulfilling. I just made a video for one of his songs, at my house...
- So I guess you're going to multimedia and explore all those other creative avenues now?
I just edited together a film for him, and it's all just so exciting.
- If you've gone as far as you feel you can go with music, there's still plenty of other opportunities and movie making avenues to conquer yet.
I know, I really want to go down the film making road, and I'm a writer as well. Not a music writer, but pen to paper writer.
- Do you plan more of that in the future?
Yeah, I've written articles for magazines here in Los Angeles.
- I read the article you wrote for "Details" and a few "Bikini" things.
Oh, that "Bikini" thing's not really writing, but those are a lot of fun to do....