Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After messy breakups with two major rock bands (Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane's Addiction), Warner Bros. (the label with whom he was going to release a solo album) and his girlfriend, guitarist Dave Navarro began shooting coke and heroin again. He also bought a photo booth and with New York Times music writer Neil Strauss (coauthor of Marilyn Manson's The Long Hard Road Out of Hell) began to chronicle the next 12 months of his life. Their collaboration, Don't Try This at Homeusing photo booth strips, essays and interviewsdocuments over-the-top scenes: Navarro jotting down his phone number on a syringe wrapper for a mortified record company executive and Navarro, with Marilyn Manson, trying to blow up a photo of Courtney Love's vagina (for an album cover). Keanu Reeves, Leif Garrett and Leonardo DiCaprio are just a few other celebrities whose often-embarrassing antics are recorded here. ( June 1) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In a book originally scheduled for publication in 2001, rock guitarist Navarro (Jane's Addiction; Red Hot Chili Peppers) and rock journalist Strauss (coauthor of bestselling celeb autobios including M tley Cr e's thrillingly crude The Dirt, Marilyn Manson's The Long Hard Road Out of Hell and Jenna Jameson's How to Make Love Like a Porn Star) chronicle the year Navarro turned his house into "a cross between a crack den, an after-hours club, a halfway house and Andy Warhol's Factory" to test his theory that "[t]he only people who stay in your life are the ones you pay." Navarro had had messy breakups with his girlfriend and his record label, and he'd decided to start using drugs again. He installs a photo booth and low-tech surveillance equipment to record every rock star, sycophant, drug dealer and prostitute who stops by his house. The book's 57 episodic chapters (some of which are simply transcripts) relate the demise of a relationship, drug overdoses and detoxes; they include Navarro's jokes about a "committed three-way relationship" and his pseudo-philosophical ruminations about the impossibility of romantic love for the emotionally challenged. Drug-addled chapters such as "Ten Ways to Tie Off" and photo strips of wacked-out, cosmetically enhanced women speak to a sort of quasi-glamorous, semisick, half-desperate pathos. Navarro's experiences turn out to be a lesson in accepting the "rainbow of emotions that come along with life," and there's even a happy ending, as he sobers up, restarts his career and gets married. Weirdly fascinating for a while, but ultimately for the fans. Agent, Ira Silverberg. (Oct.) Forecast: If Strauss's track record is any indication, this book should do well despite its flaws-and booksellers who stack this near Anthony Kiedis's autobiography (Forecasts, Oct. 4) may find their aisles clogged with the Tower Records crowd. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
Don't Try This at Home
A Year in the Life of Dave Navarro
"Do you know what to do when somebody shoots up too much?"
That's the first question Dave Navarro asked as we began this collaboration on June 1, 1998, making it clear that I had more than a life story on my hands; I had a life. Not a series of past events filtered through the dirty grate of memory, but a heart that was still beating. To document the beating of that heart was the goal, and if the past was relevant at all, it was only as the blood that coursed through that heart and gave it a reason to beat. Or to not beat. Because at times, that heart didn't want to beat.
That night, Navarro showed me what he called his Spread movie. It began with a phone call to a rehab center. Navarro told the operator that he was in trouble and needed help badly; the operator said she'd call back later. The rest of the movie was a series of scenes he had filmed to the accompaniment of his music. It centered around three images: a spoon in a bowl of Jell-O, symbolizing the nourishment of his past; a spoon with a rock of cocaine, symbolizing the nourishment of his present; and a picture of his mother, the bond that connected both spoons. In the movie, he shoots up with a picture of his mother in the background, an image all the more disturbing if you consider that Navarro's mother was murdered by an ex-boyfriend, a man Navarro had grown to trust. Occasionally, that camera would pan to a computer screen, which displayed the phone number of his lawyer and directions on how to find a certain song in his CD changer.
The movie seemed disgusting not because of the images, but because Navarro's eagerness to exploit a tragedy for the sake of a self-aggrandizing art film. At least, that's what I thought until Navarro said it wasn't an art film. It was his will. The song in the CD changer, which he wanted played over and over at his funeral, was "This Is How We Do It" by Montell Jordan ... Don't Try This at Home
A Year in the Life of Dave Navarro. Copyright © by Dave Navarro. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.