Jane’s Addiction and former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro is gearing up to host Above Ground, a Los Angeles benefit concert which aims to raise awareness for mental health issues and suicide prevention, on April 16.
It’s a cause that’s extremely close to Navarro, who told Yahoo, “As someone who suffers from mental health issues, suicide has been a viable option in my past,” adding, “We have lost a lot of friends this year, due to mental health issues.”
Last year, former Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell and Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington both died, from apparent suicides. Chester had sung a song at Chris Cornell’s funeral, before taking his own life two months later.
“[It had] a massive impact on me,” Navarro revealed, although he also clarified: “I don’t have any insight as to what their mental health issues were or weren’t. I’m not a doctor.”
He went on to explain his response to their loss: “I couldn’t help but be brought back to the times when I had felt that lonely, that desperate, that suicidal, and I just want to change the playing field [with Above Ground] and let people know that there are options out there. [Suicide] isn’t the final answer. It’s OK to reach out for help.”
Navarro has been open about his struggles in the past. In his 2004 memoir, Don’t Try This at Home and his 2015 documentary, Mourning Son, he discussed his downward spiral into drugs as a teen which he believed was attributed to his mom’s sudden murder at the time.
“I felt isolated and alone, and the drugs made me feel included, and made me feel OK,” he recalled. “I can tell you that when my mom died, I didn’t have a support system. I didn’t have a therapist. I didn’t have a psychiatrist. I didn’t have friends who could understand.”
Navarro is pleased that mental health is now beginning to lose its stigma in the public eye—something he didn’t see when he was younger.
For years now, Navarro has been into meditation and yoga. He also regularly visits a therapist whom he met through another tragic rock-star casualty, his friend Scott Weiland who passed away in 2015. “I go to therapy whether I’m feeling good, or whether I’m feeling bad. That keeps me on an even keel,” Navarro said.
“I don’t feel any shame in saying that. I feel that it’s an incredible strength to be able to ask for help. Had it not been for the support team I had around me, I very well may have been one of the statistics.”
Subsequently, Navarro felt the need to provide a platform to help others with events like Above Ground, or simply speaking publicly about mental health.
Billy Morrison, guitarist for Billy Idol and Cult and co-host of Above Ground, pointed out: “We lead the most incredible lives, and when people who lead these lives don’t at least try and use that voice for some kind of good … Look, we’re not saviors of the universe, but Dave and I have love and healing in our hearts.”
Above Ground will take place Monday, April 16, at L.A.’s Belasco Theater, and will feature Navarro, Morrison, Courtney Love, Billy Idol, Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, Eagles of Death Metal’s Jesse Hughes, and will feature musicians covering Adam & The Ants’ Kings Of The Wild Frontier and The Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground & Nico in their entirety.
Tickets can be purchased here.