Pepper Guitar Mill Grinds On

Hot minute is up for Navarro

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"We were like Spinal Tap, but it was the guitar player that kept exploding," Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith told Rolling Stone back in late '95 upon the release of One Hot Minute, the first Chili Peppers record to feature the formidable six-string assault of former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro.

Smith was, of course, referring to the veritable revolving door that made Navarro the seventh person to strap on an axe for the band. The magazine's three-and-a-half star record review described Navarro as a "permanent" addition. Permanent Pepper guitarist? Couldn't be. After four years and just one album, Navarro and the band have decided to part ways.

Anthony Kiedis described the parting as "mutual," the result of de rigeur "creative differences." For his part, Flea described Navarro as "an epic and beautiful musician and human being" and anticipated that they would work together in the future. Tongue firmly planted in cheek, Navarro likened his departure to when he left home at age seventeen, except that his father "would have *never* suggested the light bulb costumes [the band wore at Woodstock '94]." On a more reflective note, he said "the friendships we've established will remain forever eternal."

The former Jane's Addiction guitarist, who officially became a Pepper on Sept. 5, 1993 in place of Mother Tongue's Jesse Tobias, is working on a new project called Spread with Chili Pepper drummer Chad Smith. That record will be released this summer on Warner Bros. Records. Founding funksters Kiedis and Flea, meanwhile, are working on material for the next Peppers album.

Navarro had first been courted by the Peppers in '92, immediately after the departure of guitarist John Frusciante, but was tied up with his first post-Jane's band, Deconstruction. A year later, free from other recording obligations, the timing proved right for Navarro to join up. Although he'd never owned a Peppers record prior to his enlistment, Navarro's dark vibes ultimately meshed with Kiedis and Co.'s trademark levity to critical and public acclaim.