Guitarist Dave Navarro On Fuji Fest, Chili Peppers

If you ask rock mega-guitarist Dave Navarro, there was a higher power at work in bringing on the high winds and rain that aborted Japan's Fuji Rock Festival on Saturday.

And it's likely it's not the biggest fan of Western music.

"I guess the gods of Mt. Fuji just weren't interested in having Western decadence turn a buck at the base of a holy spot," was how Red Hot Chili Peppers and once-again Jane's Addiction guitarist Navarro summed up the band's experience at last Saturday's rained-out festival.

The concert, scheduled to be a two-day affair with sets from Green Day, Beck, The Prodigy and Weezer, among others, was hastily cut short due to Typhoon Rosie, which made her presence known during the Chili Peppers' set. "It was awesome," said Navarro, speaking Monday from the safety of his L.A. home. "The typhoon hit full-force right while we were playing. We were contracted to play an hour and a half, but it just wasn't safe to play after a while."

Asked about rumors circulating backstage at the festival that this was the Peppers' last-ever live show, Navarro said not only is that not the case, but that the band have three upcoming dates, two of them make-ups for shows canceled following Kiedis' injury. "Oh no, absolutely not," was how Navarro responded to the rumors, joking that the only way the band can remain active when they're not doing anything anymore is to respond to such rumors. "Anytime it looks like the Soundscan numbers for our back catalog are flagging, we get one of those rumors out there to pump up catalog sales," Navarro joked.

In fact, the band, performing their first show since singer Anthony Kiedis shattered his wrist in a motorcycle accident three weeks ago, hit the stage in the headliner slot with a torrential rain falling already, according to Navarro, and, despite the "horizontal" pelting, they didn't want to stop playing. "The rain was coming down at incredible speeds, sideways, coming at us from all angles," Navarro said. "The rain went right into my and Flea's pick-ups and Flea's bass amps got so soaking wet that the speaker cones looked like saturated sponges."

The drenching affected the band's sound considerably, he said. Festival officials, hoping to stage the largest outdoor festival of its kind in Japan's history, had to pull the plug 45 minutes into the Peppers' set when conditions became too hazardous.

Nonetheless, despite a year's lay-off, the Peppers' set lived up to the band's expectations, Navarro said. The band was, however, a bit apprehensive about playing after mega-hot political thrashers Rage Against the Machine. "We refer to them as Rage Against the Well-Oiled Machine," Navarro said, laughing. "We weren't crazy about following them since they've been on tour forever and we haven't played in a year and our rehearsals were a bit off because of Anthony's injury."

Ironically, after the second day's events were canceled due to the poor conditions of the stage and grounds, Navarro said the weather became beautiful and sunny, bringing some of the rain-soaked performers out of their nests. "It was weird," Navarro said. "It was perfect on Sunday and since the bands had nothing to do, they came over to the hotel we were staying at, which had an amusement park."

Then, setting up a scene worthy of a Fellini movie, Navarro described how members of the Foo Fighters, Beck, The Prodigy and Green Day spent their Japanese vacation at an amusement park together.

The guitarist also squelched Chili Peppers break-up rumors by revealing that the gang is scheduled to begin writing songs for their next album sometime after he returns from a late August European press junket for the recently announced "relapse" of Jane's Addiction.

To make up for the July 21 show in Alaska and the July 23 show in Hawaii that were to be warm-ups to the Fuji date, the Chili Peppers will play the George M. Sullivan Sports Arena in Anchorage, Alaska on Sept. 13 and the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii on Sept. 16.

The band will also play the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas, Nev. on Sept. 11, "just for fun," according to Navarro, since the date is a new one and not a make-up.