Concerts

Perry Farrell Says Dave Navarro Pulled Out of Jane's Addiction Tour Over Long COVID

Dave Navarro (left) and Perry Farrell from Jane's Addiction. The band is playing in Dallas this weekend sans Navarro.
Dave Navarro (left) and Perry Farrell from Jane's Addiction. The band is playing in Dallas this weekend sans Navarro. Emma McYntire/Getty
It’s been almost four decades since Jane’s Addiction played their first show in Dallas, at the legendary Theater Gallery in Deep Ellum. Thirty-five years later, the band is credited as a forerunner of alternative music and remains an icon of Gen X and American music. Singer and frontman Perry Farrell created the first Lollapalooza in 1991 as a farewell tour for the band, and three decades, four studio albums and several reunions later, Jane’s Addiction is back on the road.

Farrell remains just as excited about making music, and he spoke with us over the phone a few days ahead of the group's Dallas date with Smashing Pumpkins on Oct. 2 at American Airlines Center.

Just days before the tour was to start, lead guitarist Dave Navarro had to drop out of the lineup after being diagnosed with long COVID.

“It’s just the way it is right now. We’re going out there without our star guitar player,” Farrell says.

The band will be enlisting a revolving arsenal of players to fill in for Navarro, most likely a who’s-who list of rock and alternative guitarists. Farrell can confirm one name: Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens of the Stone Age.

We reached out to Navarro for comment but didn't receive a response.

Farrell’s lifelong career with Jane’s Addiction, Porno for Pyros, Satellite Party and his most recent project with wife Etty started off with a move to in the early '80s to Los Angeles, where he wanted to become a surfer. Raised in New York City, Farrell was introduced to surfing when his family relocated to Miami, and a friend he met playing on a basketball team got him into the beach scene after realizing they were never going to be professional basketball players.

“It was a new life for me, but I dug it,” Farrell says. “The first time I ever had a wave pushing me it was an incredible experience because it’s you against nature, hanging on for your life, and it requires courage and being nimble.”

It was surfing that gave Farrell the edge he felt he needed to become a great musician, a sentiment he shared with his late friend and fellow musician Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters, who died unexpectedly earlier this year while on tour in South America.

“The thing it had to do with music? It was the lifestyle; the guys that were surfers were the wildest guys, smoking cigarettes on the walls, finding parties, seeing concerts and listening to the best music,” Farrell says. “Taylor Hawkins and I’s friendship was all about writing the greatest songs, and Taylor would say to me, ‘Don’t ever give up surfing.’ That thrill we got from that wave, that courage was our edge, we put that thrill into our music.”

While in Los Angeles, Farrell fronted the band Psi Com and played early shows with Red Hot Chili Peppers and X. In 1985, he met bassist Eric Avery and started Jane’s Addiction, which would become one of the biggest alternative bands in the world.

“When we started Jane’s and I was looking for a drummer, I was looking for the best drummer and just like that, I met Stephen Perkins, " Farrell says. "When I met Eric and Dave Navarro I knew from the very first song we played together, I knew. I was already making plans, how far I was going to go with these guys.”

Farrell attributes the success and longevity of Jane’s Addiction to the members' individual talents, dedication to their craft and willingness to push the boundaries as artists.

“It’s really hard to be great, and most people just give up,” he says. “When you’re an artist, you can’t just hand it in, so to speak. Real artists can’t live like that. I know I’m constantly pissing off my manager and wife because I’m taking too long, but it’s got to be great, whatever I do.”

“It’s really hard to be great, and most people just give up ... I know I’m constantly pissing off my manager and wife because I’m taking too long, but it’s got to be great, whatever I do.” – Perry Farrell

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In pursuit of greatness, Farrell has fought plenty of uphill battles. He's undergone several surgeries to correct injuries he’s sustained from performing, including hernias. There was one surgery to remove a disk in his neck which required doctors to remove his voice box from his body — a particularly scary procedure for a singer. At age 64, the artist keeps himself on a tight routine on tour to maintain his heath and stamina.

“Out on the road, I run my life exactly like a professional athlete,” he says. “I have nutrition, exercise and have to be careful. You have to be so dedicated to it, because if I didn’t say anything they’d have me talking all day, and singing all night without a break! I’m a lifer, this is what I want to do until the day I die and on my 70th birthday, I’m singing that night.”

These days, much of Farrell’s thoughts concentrate on his family life and the world he hopes to leave his children. Although the past few years have been riddled with social unrest, pandemics and other issues, as a man of devout faith, Farrell firmly believes the world’s best days are still to come.

“You look at the world and half the time you think things are getting better, then there it is staring you in the face: fascism, lies, war,” he says. “The world is a beautiful place and we are sitting at the table of redemption, but we’re a fickle bunch of people. True men of faith have to agree with each other because we need unity in this world right now and I really do think it’s going to happen in my lifetime.”

Farrell has a wish for the world that he hopes will one day come to fruition and break down barriers of religion.

“The main thing that we learn is the lesson that love conquers all,” he says. “What I have left on this Earth is I want to be around to party with all the world's great religions, I want them all to pray and party together.”

In the meantime, the artist remains grateful and feels blessed to be able to have the family life and music career he's enjoyed. His wife Etty has been his musical collaborator on several projects including Satellite Party, Kind Heaven Orchestra and Heaven After Dark. She's also a dancer for Jane’s Addiction. Farrell never takes his life or blessings for granted, and he promises to live out each day as if it were his last.

“Being an artist is a mind-fuck, but it’s the greatest job in the world because you’re turning people on, that’s your job!” Farrell says. “I’m telling you man, I’m living my life for the rest of my life, every show I do, every song I put out. The world is a beautiful place and I am so thankful I had a chance to live.”
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