Dave Navarro on Tattoos and Why He Won’t Remove One Dedicated to Ex-Wife Carmen Electra
Dave Navarro is just about as well known for his tattoos as he is for his incredible musicianship as the lead guitarist of Jane's Addiction. The dark and sexy Navarro recently spoke with Inked Magazine about some of his tattoos and shared memories of when he got his first tat with former bandmate Eric Avery.
"[We] were in a bar, getting drunk and talking about tattoos," Navarro recalled. "We were really fascinated with them at that time, because it seemed like an underground lifestyle. The drinks just flowed, we got the courage and we ran over to Bob Roberts’s shop and got them. I was hooked. People asked me, 'What are you going to do when you’re an old man?' And the answer was: I’ll be an old man with tattoos."
Navarro's favorite tattoo is the one he has on his lower back which says "Constance."
"It’s my mom’s name and was done in the early ’90s by Charlie McDonald," explained Navarro. "It’s more than likely my favorite because of what it stands for as a commemorative piece for my mom, who passed when I was 15. Second to that is probably the portrait of my mom on my rib cage done by Kat Von D. They are similar in nature, and both of those pieces are actually unusual for me because both of them required appointments. Generally speaking, I’m not the artwork-planning type. I prefer spur-of-the-moment tattoos, like, 'Let’s just roll over and get something done right away.' I like the instant gratification, hence I have a lot of smaller pieces."
Which was exactly how his latest tattoo of stars came about. "I was sitting at lunch with a friend of mine, and I said, 'You know what, I want to go get stars tattooed right now,'" he said. "We were in and out of there in half an hour. To me there’s a bunch of different thoughts and reasons why you get tattooed. Sometimes it’s for an aesthetic reason, sometimes it’s because you think an image is cool and you like it a lot. Sometimes there’s meaning behind things, stories and personal experiences you’re trying to commemorate and capture. So being able to just have a feeling and jam over and get something done to commemorate what’s happening in your life at that time is a pretty cool thing to do, and I love it."
"You also run the risk of walking away with some s----y tattoos," Navarro continued. "Some of [those] tattoos I have go down as my favorites because of the time and the experience, so it’s not about looking perfect. I had an artist once f--- up something really bad and I said, 'Wow, dude, you kinda f----d that up.' And he said, 'Well, it’s an imperfect art form, it’s all right.'"
No matter how bad the tattoos may turn out, Navarro says lasering them off is never an option, even when it comes to the "CE" he has inked on his sternum for his ex-wife, Carmen Electra.
"I feel like at some point your body becomes like a walking diary and you’ve got to live with it," noted Navarro. "I still had that experience. It’s a part of my story and my life, so I celebrate that. I feel that to cover up something would be to deny having gone through it. I had a great time being married to [Carmen]. That’s my life. And the fact of the matter is, all those elements are things that, as human beings — not to get too spiritual — are collective pieces of who you are today. I probably wouldn’t be who I am today had I not gone through that marriage. I’m not going deny that marriage and then go get it lasered off and get a f-----g skull to cover up the scar. A skull means nothing to me. It’s similar to trying to un-ring a bell."
Navarro's latest form of art is the forthcoming Jane's Addiction album, 'The Great Escape Artist,' which will hit stores on Tuesday (Oct. 18).