Jimi Hendrix put the Jane's Addiction ex into a ''Purple Haze''

By Rob Brunner
July 11, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Dave Navarro: Alison Dyer

Are you experienced? Ask Dave Navarro that question and the answer would certainly be yes. As the original axman for Jane’s Addiction and a onetime member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Navarro probably knows as much about the rock-star life as anyone (see his debauched autobiography, tentatively due this fall). But when he discovered Jimi Hendrix’s 1967 classic ”Are You Experienced” at age 11, the guitarist — who recently released his debut solo album, ”Trust No One” — was just another naive skater kid.

”I was at a skate park in L.A., and ‘Purple Haze’ came over the sound system. I just stopped and listened. I asked somebody what it was, and I went and bought the record. It became the inspiration for taking the guitar where I went with it. I was already playing guitar, but this music touched me in a way I had never been touched by musical notes before. Music had always just been background noise to me — of interest, but not emotionally connecting. After discovering ”Are You Experienced,” I felt completely connected emotionally, like I was the only one who knew about this amazing thing. I felt understood for the first time. It was almost like that music had been created, not for me…it was as if I found it because it was a missing part of my soul. Somehow in that moment, hearing ‘Purple Haze’ for the first time, I realized that’s what I wanted to do.”