Dave Navarro Missed Out on Being in Guns N’ Roses Due to Drug Addiction: “Axl Really Wanted Me to Join the Band”

"I was immersed in my drug addiction and I just simply couldn't show up in that shape"

dave navarro guns n roses
Dave Navarro and Axl Rose (photos by Amy Harris)

    Imagine an alternate timeline where Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro had joined Guns N’ Roses. It almost happened.

    When Guns N’ Roses had a vacancy on guitar following the exit of Izzy Stradlin in 1991, Axl Rose eyed Navarro as a replacement.

    “Axl really wanted me to join the band,” Dave told the “Appetite for Distortion” podcast. “And we talked nearly every day about ideas and the way the band could work with me in it. ”


    As Navarro tells it in the new interview, his drug addiction at the time got in the way, as he missed a scheduled audition with the band.

    “At that time in my life, I was just simply not present enough to do it,” Navarro reflected. “I had an audition with the band that I actually didn’t show up to because I was immersed in my drug addiction and I just simply couldn’t show up in that shape. But it happened the way it happened.”

    The rest is history. Navarro would instead join the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1993 and contribute to their 1995 studio album One Hot Minute, before being replaced by returning guitarist John Frusciante. Though he never shared the stage with Axl and company, he would guest on the 1999 GN’R song “Oh My God,” featured on the soundtrack for the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie End of Days.


    “And, oddly enough, Flea ended up joining Jane’s Addiction for a tour, and Duff McKagan ended up joining Jane’s Addiction for a tour,” Navarro continued. “So at this age now, it’s all water under the bridge and we’re all part of this collective musical family and we all played together a myriad of times. But the degrees of separation with those guys and us are way less than six.”

    Despite missing the boat on Guns N’ Roses, Navarro has built a significant musical legacy regardless. In addition to his longtime role in Jane’s Addiction and stint in RHCP, he recently formed the supergroup NHC with Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and fellow Jane’s Addiction member Chris Chaney.

    Fans can catch both Jane’s Addiction and Guns N’ Roses at the recently announced 2022 Welcome to Rockville festival, taking place May 19th-22nd in Daytona Beach, Florida. Tickets and weekend passes are available here.


    Watch Navarro discuss the time he could have joined Guns N’ Roses below.