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Dave Navarro: Darkness to Dawn

Dave Navarro talks drug addiction, mental illness and Ink Master with Oliver Peck

Photos by Brian Ziff

In 1986, Dave Navarro joined the alternative rock band Jane’s Addiction, and the group quickly became one of the most successful acts of the early 1990s. Navarro went on to release four studio albums under Jane’s Addiction, following a stint as a guitarist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers from 1993 until 1998. Aside from being regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, his impressive acting chops on the small screen haven’t gone unnoticed; nailing roles in television hits such as Sons of Anarchy and Odd Mom Out. Unfortunately, his path to stardom didn’t come without tragedy. Just three years before joining Jane’s Addiction, Navarro’s mother was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. At 19 years old, he suppressed the trauma of losing his mother by thrusting himself into a world of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Soon, Jane wasn’t the only addiction in Navarro’s life, as he spent years battling with substance abuse and mental illness. Luckily, Navarro was able to turn his life around and has since become an advocate for addiction recovery with MusiCares.

Navarro may have some recurring roles on TV, but these days, his creative vitality shines as the current host of Paramount Network’s Ink Master. We caught up with Navarro and tattooer Oliver Peck between takes to learn what it took for the guitarist to go from darkness to light — and how he’s leading others down the same path.