“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
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