Dave Navarro is not the type of guy who’s going to let a little mishap like the dissolution of his band slow him down. Even if it is the third dissolution of the same band.
After all, the guitarist behind art-rock heavyweights Jane’s Addiction, who announced last year that they were splitting up yet again (see “Jane’s Addiction Break Up — Again” ), is an industrious dude. He’s got himself a new band, the Panic Channel (which basically is the latest lineup of Jane’s, minus singer Perry Farrell), and is also one of the core members of the ultimate cover band, Camp Freddy. Both acts, he said, are preparing to release full-length debuts — but first, there’s the small matter of finding a record company to put them out.
At the moment, neither band has a label deal. Navarro said he’s been making the rounds at the major labels to discuss the future of both efforts, which he’d like to see drop sometime this fall, if possible. Of course, the guitarist has a pre-existing relationship with Capitol Records — the label released both his solo LP, 2001’s Trust No One, and Jane’s Addiction’s last outing, 2003’s Strays.
“If Capitol wants to put us out, we’d love to do that,” Navarro said of the Panic Channel material, which he characterized as having “power and melody.” “But so far, this thing has been DIY. It’s been a lot of fun getting back in the garage and just writing songs on our own. I would say there’s elements of both [Jane’s Addiction and Trust No One] to the music, but some of the stuff’s a little more song-oriented than anything we’ve done before, and some of it’s real experimental. So, as with everything that we’ve done, it’s very diverse.”
Panic Channel — which also includes bassist Chris Chaney, singer Steve Isaacs and founding Jane’s drummer Stephen Perkins, who’s been playing with Navarro on and off since high school — have all but finished recording their currently untitled debut disc, which they plan to mix in the next few weeks. Tracks slated for the album include “Tea House of the Spirits,” “Bloody Mary,” “Loophole,” “Blue Bruises” and “Said You’d Be.”
“We’re having a blast,” Navarro said. “It’s kind of fun to just be a baby band again, you know? Because we’re not a supergroup, and we’re not, like, some guys from Jane’s Addiction and some guys from another band — it’s like a brand-new project, a whole new sound.”
And then there’s the yet-untitled Camp Freddy opus. Created not so much as a band but a traveling jam session, Camp Freddy features Navarro and Chaney with Velvet Revolver’s Matt Sorum on drums, the Cult’s Billy Morrison on guitar and singer Donovan Leitch.
“The whole thing got together because we really loved the idea that there was no label, no management, no industry aspect to it because of the fact that it’s all cover songs,” Navarro explained. “So there’s really not a dollar to be made, and as a result of that, we’ve done the whole thing on our own.”
CF’s been working with producer Mike Clink on a plethora of “great classic-rock [covers], songs we grew up on and love,” Navarro said. Once it’s finished, plans call for the album to include Camp Freddy’s renditions of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” T. Rex’s “20th Century Boy,” David Bowie’s “Jean Genie,” the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen” and the Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz.”
The album, like the band’s live performances — which have become a thing of legend in Hollywood — will be chock-full of special guests, Navarro said.
“All the basic tracks [on the record] are done, we’re just waiting for guest vocalists to come in and do their thing,” he said. “But it’s pretty difficult to schedule everybody, because we’re asking musicians who have active careers to come in and be a part of this. Naturally, some are on tour, some are in the studio doing their own thing, so we’re not really on any kind of a time schedule. Whenever someone’s available, they pop in and do something. A couple of weeks ago, [Alice in Chains’] Jerry Cantrell went down and sang a lead vocal on a song; Macy Gray has already done her vocal tracks.”
Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath has also signed on to contribute his voice to the effort. Camp Freddy has also put out “feelers” to Ozzy Osbourne, Trent Reznor, and, er, legendary comedian Cheech Marin.
“The idea is we just want to get recordings of what we do live, which is always just a mish-mash of different players getting together that usually have nothing to do with one another musically,” Navarro, who regularly employs 1980s argot in conversation, said. “We’ve rocked out with Xzibit and Tone-Loc, for instance, which is a treat because you never know what’s going to happen. That’s what makes it kind of rad.”