WEST LOS ANGELES — Dave Navarro recently had to relearn Jane's Addiction songs. Not because the band is reuniting, but because he wants to excel at the "Guitar Hero II" video game.
"Being a guitar player, I tried to put that school of thought into the playing and it kind of screwed me up a little bit," Navarro said Monday at a release event for the new game, which comes with a mock electric guitar like its predecessor. ("Guitar Hero II" was developed by Harmonix Music Systems, which is owned by MTV.) "['Guitar Hero'] is kind of another way of thinking. It's a hand-eye coordination thing. So I had to relearn my own music — it was very weird."
Still, like any alpha male with a PlayStation 2 controller in his hand, Navarro insisted on mastering the game. And now he's officially challenging any other real-life guitar heroes: "Bring 'em on, dude."
Navarro joked that because "Guitar Hero II" "has the hottest chick on the cover of any game, I had to be a part of this thing" — for the record, she's virtual. But in reality he got involved in promoting the game after publisher Activision called for permission to use Jane's Addiction's "Stop" in the sequel.
"I think what's awesome about this game is that a lot of people love guitar, and they love the sound of guitar and they want to be able to play it," he explained. "And with this game, you don't have to know how to [play] to feel like you are playing some of the greatest rock and roll songs out there."
The sequel comes with a Pro Face-Off mode, where two players compete simultaneously, as well as more than 60 songs, including "Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses and the Police's "Message in a Bottle."
"The idea is that if you master one [song], you move on to the next one," Navarro said. "There are so many different levels and ways to play this. You can play with somebody else, you can form a band with somebody and two of you can go at the same time. You can go against somebody and there are different levels of difficulty, so I don't think there's ever a point at which you've mastered the game."
Along with all the virtual jamming, Navarro's been busy with a real guitar as well. He recently played on "Rock Star: Supernova" finalist Storm Large's new single, "Ladylike," recorded a Christmas single with his all-star cover band, Camp Freddy, and is preparing to hit the road with the Panic Channel in January (see "Dave Navarro Juggles TV And Guitar, Shrugs Off Panic Channel Sales").
"I'm looking forward to that because we're doing an arena tour and, hey, what's better than being on tour with Tommy Lee?" Navarro asked, then answered his own question with "Nothing!" The outing will also feature Rock Star Supernova.
As on the "Rock Star" show, expect Navarro to join Lee's band on occasion. "For me, that's one of the great things about rock music — you can go and interact with other artists at any moment," Navarro said. "And I plan to do that with Supernova for sure."