Tomorrow (December 20), in L.A., guitarists Dave Navarro (Jane’s Habit) and Billy Morrison (Billy Idol), will host their third annual Above Floor profit. As they’ve with the 2 earlier exhibits, the longtime mates will assist increase cash and consciousness for psychological well being by main an all-star array of musicians via two iconic albums performed from begin to end.
The present, on the Fonda in L.A., will discover the musicians taking over Lou Reed’s Transformer and the Intercourse Pistols’ By no means Thoughts The Bollocks, This is The Intercourse Pistols. Navarro and Morrison will probably be joined by Perry and Etty Lau Farrell, Billy Idol, Corey Taylor, Taylor Hawkins, Mark McGrath, the Fever 333’s Jason Aalon Butler, the Speaking Heads’ Jerry Harrison and some huge surprises, in keeping with the 2 hosts.
As they defined on this remarkably candid interview, the place Navarro talks about his personal suicidal ideas, their lack of mates like Scott Weiland, Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell, and far more, this occasion is so vital to them as a result of they’re right here by asking for assist from MusiCares and mates. They usually hope the occasion conjures up others to by no means be ashamed to do the identical.
Steve Baltin: As a result of I do know each you guys so effectively, I actually don’t even know the albums you guys are doing on the occasion. I simply know they are going to be good and it is for a great trigger. So what albums are you doing?
Dave Navarro: Oh, that is a easy reply. We’re doing Lou Reed’s Transformer, after which we’re doing By no means Thoughts The Bollocks, This is The Intercourse Pistols.
Baltin: How do you compromise on Intercourse Pistols and Lou Reed, that are each iconic?
Billy Morrison: Properly, the method is, we have recognized one another so lengthy, we do not bash heads towards it. We simply recommend albums and yeah, there was a Pink Floyd album at one level we’re gonna do, and possibly we’ll do this. Perhaps, subsequent yr we’ll do this, I do not know. However we bashed just a few albums between us, and the Transformer album has type of a thread between what we have executed earlier than, as a result of we have executed The Velvet Underground With Nico, and we have additionally executed Ziggy Stardust, and, clearly the [Mick] Ronson and Bowie reference to Transformer, so we have type of obtained this New York factor occurring.
Navarro: And we additionally did The Stooges. There’s the large tie-in with all of these iconic, legendary singers and albums that they’ve put out, in order that was how we landed on Transformer. Additionally, as Billy has identified, once you take heed to what is going on on on Transformer, and what you are singing about and speaking about when it comes to life-style, he was thus far forward of his time. The world is now catching as much as the lyrical content material of Transformer in plenty of methods. And so it is type of a very nice celebration of how far we have come, however simply what a genius Lou Reed was, when it comes to taking probabilities lyrically. And in addition, Billy and I are each artists and now we have been massively influenced by Andy Warhol and the Warhol Manufacturing facility scene, due to the artwork and music that each one got here out of there at that very same time. And Andy was a pivotal a part of serving to Lou provide you with concepts for songs for Transformer. So there’s an enormous, huge bag of the reason why we selected Transformer. After which should you go into the By no means Thoughts The Bollocks, This is The Intercourse Pistols, why do not you are taking that one?
Morrison: I believe clearly, anybody in a rock band lately would let you know that in some unspecified time in the future of their life they have been influenced by By no means Thoughts The Bollocks. Clearly, it is my favourite album of all time, however I typically take pleasure in this argument which is, “Identify one other band that modified the course of musical historical past with solely 12 songs.” And it is very troublesome to try this since you’ve obtained your Led Zeppelin, your Beatles and your Pink Floyds, however all of them had albums and a profession trajectory to formulate sound, songwriting, chemistry, that they had that. The Pistols have been collectively for 16 months and launched 12 songs, and it is nonetheless blowing bands, younger bands that come out now influenced by By no means Thoughts The Bollocks. So it is a vital album. Near my coronary heart, near Dave’s. So, that was it. I believe which one among us stated, By no means Thoughts The Bollocks, it was simply, “Yeah, let’s do this.”
Navarro: And the opposite factor about all of the information we have a tendency to decide on for the Above Floor occasion is that there is a robust visible element that goes together with all of those actions. And if you concentrate on By no means Thoughts The Bollocks, and you concentrate on Jamie Reid’s work, and Vivienne Westwood, and you concentrate on simply the fashion that emerged from that point, there’s plenty of imagery that we are able to pull, as a result of we wish to run video content material that coincides with the songs that we’re doing. So now we have a tremendous array of archived footage that we are able to select from to make use of, when it comes to presenting extra of an immersive expertise we attempt to current an experiential occasion.
Navarro: An occasion, yeah. And identical factor, should you look again at Adam And The Ants, clearly a really visible band. Take into consideration Velvet Underground, began out of a manufacturing unit. Ziggy Stardust, after all. Even The Stooges had a stripped down however glam, soiled, grungy look to it. And so, we actually wish to play with the look on the staging and when it comes to the presentation, however we attempt to keep as true to the albums as they have been recorded. Billy and I are in a canopy band, as you realize, Royal Machines, and generally we’ll decide a tune to cowl and we’ll all simply play the bar chords and energy via the tune, and do the tune with a singer. However these information, we actually decide aside every particular instrument and what’s taking place, and we do usher in horn sections, we do usher in string sections, we do usher in background singers, and the piano, and we attempt to actually type of emulate what’s on the recorded album.
Baltin: Have you ever guys began rehearsals but or no?
Morrison: Properly, that is precisely the place we’re proper now, is within the studio, and Dave and I’ve spent many days already. We’re very lucky sufficient that that is really in my home, and we’re lucky sufficient that we do not want to enter a rehearsal room to interrupt down these songs, to select aside the tones, and to be two guitarists who’re taking part in off one another. So Dave comes over right here and we decide them aside past what most individuals would anticipate, and we have been doing this for, what, a month or one thing. Finally, in a few days, we’ll be entering into an actual rehearsal room with the total band. As Dave stated, it is horn part, strings, backing vocalist, and all of the friends, and we are going to run this night as a full rehearsal, yeah.
Baltin: There may be not a extra good tune than “Good Day.” As you began rehearsing these and taking part in these, are there issues that you’ve got appreciated or picked up otherwise? And we’ll begin with “Good Day” as a result of, once more, it is one among my favourite songs of all time.
Navarro: Properly, oddly sufficient, ‘trigger Billy and I’ve been, as he stated, working collectively, choosing these information aside, and that is one tune that has little to no guitar on it. So, Billy and I had been actually type of taking note of the preparations and what is going on on. So we’re really very excited to get into the studio with the piano participant and with the strings, and actually get into the background vocals of that, ‘trigger the backgrounds on all that stuff is admittedly vital, particularly “Satellite tv for pc Of Love,” when you concentrate on the backgrounds that David Bowie laid down. So, now we have not likely damaged into that tune aside from going over it between us.
Morrison: For example a canopy band have been to play “Good Day,” you’d have a guitar participant taking part in the chords and I am certain it could sound nice. However one of many expertise right here is to know when to not play, particularly on Transformer, as a result of there’s a lot the place there isn’t any guitar. And this is not about Dave and I trying nice and pulling a pose. That is about elevating consciousness and funds to try to cease folks dying from psychological well being points. So, we’re not involved about, “Is there any guitar in ‘Good Day’? No, there’s not, so f**ok off.” After which we come again on. Because it occurs, I’ll let you know this, so I am singing ‘Good Day,’ and since I really like this man, now we have a pleasant jangly, clear tone only for sure components, as a result of I stated to Dave, “I do not need you to stroll off the stage. I would like you on there once I’m singing this tune.” So, it is a good instance, as a result of now we have really added guitar. However I am fairly certain the folks within the viewers will hear what we hope is a superb replication of what is on the file.
Baltin: What’s fascinating is doing this occasion 5 days earlier than Christmas, when the vacations will be so powerful for folks. Speak concerning the timing of having the ability to do that once more.
Navarro: I actually suppose that the reply lies throughout the query itself. Once we began this Above Floor group, we have been actually making an attempt to lift consciousness and finish stigmas round psychological well being and so forth. And now having gone via, primarily, two years of COVID and worry and isolation, I believe that all the planet has suffered tremendously when it comes to feeling scared, feeling a way of unknown, feeling remoted of their properties, afraid to attach with their family members, and it is stored folks very a lot aside, and there is been a steep enhance in psychological well being points because of it. And as you stated additionally, on the vacation instances, whether or not there’s household construction points or lack of a household or no matter it’s, melancholy can comply with for therefore many individuals. So this time of yr and this, particularly now having a chance to do it on the stage of the place we’re at, the place we are able to at the least have an occasion, I believe it is extra vital than ever, and it is type of a miracle that we began down this journey earlier than this all occurred.
Morrison: This type of occasion has been within the planning for 9 months, possibly extra, and so I believe we have been very lucky with the timing, as a result of we did not know once we pulled the set off and stated, “Okay, we’re gonna do that.” We did not know if occasions have been gonna be taking place or not. So, I believe we’re lucky, I believe that being so near Christmas is a blessing and a curse. Loads of the chums that may have liked to have been at this gig are within the Bahamas or with their households or no matter, however now we have been extraordinarily lucky with the friends that we do have, and everybody has, with out query, stated “In fact, I am on the town, I will be there.” And as you say, the lucky a part of it’s it lands 5 days earlier than Christmas the place fairly frankly, I wager everybody in that viewers has some type of subject, whether or not it is, “I do not wanna go and see my household or my household are nuts or I haven’t got any household.” So hopefully our occasion will give folks one thing to consider and look ahead to and be concerned in.
Navarro: And household occasions like that for individuals who come from considerably of a broken household origin background, these occasions will be filled with triggers that spin folks out into every kind of actually darkish, darkish ideas and darkish emotions. And so we actually really feel that it is vital to inform everybody that vulnerability and asking for assist is a superb energy, particularly at a time like this, and that is actually the message that we have provide you with. Each Billy and I’ve suffered from all the things, from psychological sickness to drug habit and a myriad of traumas. However we would not be right here if neither one among us had reached out for assist at one level, and in consequence, we’re capable of have the lives that now we have. And I believe it is only a very nice strategy to say, “Hey, look, guys, should you permit your self to be susceptible and permit your self to say what is going on on with you emotionally and also you permit your self to achieve out for assist, that an amazing shift, an amazing change and hope can come from such an motion.”
Baltin: All of us of us have talked about these things a lot, and on the subject of doing the profit, the trick is it’s a must to make it entertaining, however do it in a means that makes it actually cool and enjoyable, so that they’re extra receptive to it.
Morrison: That is an amazing level. Dave and I’ve been mates for 20 plus years, and have executed an terrible lot of cool s**t collectively. Something good that Dave and I’ve executed has not come from us sitting down and brainstorming. I do not know the way folks suppose it goes down, however our main motivation has at all times been, “Is it enjoyable for us?” This really began with Dave going “Dude, I would like to play Kings Of The Wild Frontier, the entire thing”. And at the moment, we might additionally not too long ago misplaced Chris and Scott and Chester and an entire host, and we simply stated, “Would not it’s good to have the ability to increase some consciousness and now have some enjoyable.” In order that’s so simple as the thought began, and now we do convey manufacturing. There’s an enormous video wall, there’s dancers, there’s artwork installations. Our good friend Danger is doing an enormous set up within the foyer. There’s speeches, Dr. Drew.
Navarro: You talked concerning the academic facet of issues, so we come out, we might do a file, after which within the intermission, now we have Dr. Drew Pinsky, now we have Bob Forrest and Shelley Sprague they usually’re all gonna come up and say just a few phrases about psychological well being. And these are professionals that know what they’re speaking about. So there’s an informational facet of this and sources and concepts and strategies of the place to go to get assist. So as soon as that occurs, we come again and shut out the night time with yet one more album. So it is type of like the data is book-ended with leisure.
Baltin: What does taking part in a Lou Reed album from begin to end imply to you guys?
Navarro: The attractive factor is each Billy and I knew Lou Reed and we had a chance to play with him in New York. So, clearly, doing the Velvet Underground album or doing Transformer is additional particular for us as a result of Lou gave his time to us, and so to have fun Lou’s life and Lou’s work on this space is a lovely present.
Morrison: Do you suppose he’d dig it? If he was alive? Or do you suppose he’d be like, “What are you guys doing?” [laughter]
Navarro: I did a canopy of “Venus In Furs” on my solo file and I did not be ok with placing it out until Lou signed off on it. So I despatched it to Lou and he not solely liked it, however we turned mates and went to dinner and I went again to his house, we frolicked and talked all night time lengthy. And he really wished to work collectively at one level on future music of his. That sadly by no means occurred, however I believe that he would really like what we’re doing. However I additionally suppose figuring out primarily based on having performed with him that if he was becoming a member of us on stage, he would have an issue as a result of he by no means performed a tune the identical means twice [laughter].
Morrison: My expertise of being in a rehearsal room with Lou Reed is likely one of the most intense and engaging and scary rehearsal situations I’ve ever been in. The man was intense, however a beautiful man. And I hope that individuals perceive what we’re doing is homage tribute, out of affection.
Navarro: Completely. I imply, the superb factor about Lou Reed is that he requested us to be taught a tune referred to as “The Blue Masks.” That was one of many songs that he wished to do. And so all of us simply woodsheded that tune and realized it the best way it was on the file and we have been all ready and all of us felt good. It was an advanced tune. And so we get the tune down and he comes into rehearsal and he is simply utterly skipping sections, extending lyrics. Simply utterly abandons the recorded model. I believe that he would actually be touched and honored that we’re doing this, however I additionally suppose that he would have a troublesome time singing these songs with us as a result of we’re doing it the identical means [laughter] as a result of his methodology is to by no means do it the identical means.
Baltin: Inform me concerning the relationship with MusiCares.
Navarro: The purpose is to lift consciousness and funds for MusiCares. They partnered with us in serving to placed on this present. And MusiCares is a superb useful resource for getting folks the assistance they want straight away when they’re in determined instances. And I simply wished to thank them. MusiCares has actually executed so much for lots of people that we all know and love. They usually work tirelessly to assist folks with psychological well being points and habit. And plenty of habit stems from folks not figuring out easy methods to resolve earlier previous trauma. So trauma is a big a part of the habit cycle. And as we have realized extra and as extra has been revealed in research that present that trauma is deeply tied to habit, and I believe particularly having it’s MusiCares the place as Billy stated, we have misplaced so many mates, actually mates that everyone is aware of about, Chester, Scott, Chris, and so forth, however even over the previous two years, I can let you know that I’ve misplaced about six folks to suicides and drug overdoses. And in addition I will be very candid and susceptible with you. I’ve been at that threshold many instances throughout the previous 10 years the place I’ve contemplated such issues myself. And if it wasn’t for reaching out, if it wasn’t for my mates, guys like this proper right here, folks within the well being discipline, I would not be alive as we speak. And so I do know deeply what it feels wish to, on the surface, “Have all the things and wish to die.” And it was so simple as choosing up the telephone. The exhausting half is choosing up the telephone as a result of plenty of instances there’s disgrace in that. And disgrace is one thing that retains folks from choosing up the telephone. So what we wish to say is that disgrace is not going to save anyone. It is that letting go of the disgrace and permitting your self to be susceptible and decide up the telephone and ask for assist that may change your complete life.
Morrison: That is the precise motive that Dave and I shaped Above Floor within the first place as a result of if we are able to say we have been there and by merely asking for assist, now we have potential life past our wildest goals. And you’ll too.
Navarro: One of the crucial susceptible moments of my life was two years in the past at Above Floor present the place I used to be doing vocals on an Iggy tune. I addressed the viewers and informed a full home the precise story I simply informed you. That I had made plans and contemplated and I had a word written and a plan. And I simply stated it out loud and stated, “However I am right here now.” And so I discover that there is a nice energy to place issues that, in all honesty, can actually have an effect on someone who’s an viewers member who could be struggling. If somebody is standing within the viewers trying up on the man on stage and the man on stage is saying that “I’ve been there and I had made plans,” possibly they do not really feel alone and maybe they will achieve some hope from that too. So it was a dangerous shot on my half. It was susceptible and scary to do, but it surely was essential. And so that is what we’re making an attempt to do. We’re simply making an attempt to offer folks hope.