This is not a test. It’s time to tune into the Panic Channel.
This is not a test. It's time to tune into the Panic Channel.
Although Dave Navarro is best known as the outspoken wingman on the CBS reality series "Rock Star: Supernova" these days, the former Jane's Addiction guitarist has found another new creative outlet in the Panic Channel.
The Los Angeles-based melodic rock band came together organically when Navarro and two other former Jane's members, bassist Chris Chaney and drummer Stephen Perkins, "walked into a garage in the Valley" and started jamming. They quickly found the final piece of the puzzle in singer Steve Isaacs, a former MTV VJ and member of Skycycle.
Last week, the Panic Channel's Capitol Records debut, "(ONe)," entered Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart at No. 1 and the Billboard 200 at No. 110.
"The interesting thing is that when we got together we really didn't even intend on being a band. We just enjoyed playing music together," Navarro tells Billboard.com. "Once we had a body of work, we decided [to] make this a real band and go record these songs. Once the record was done we decided [to] put it out and go on tour. So things really evolved very naturally. Even [having] a song being played on the radio once probably is beyond the expectations that I had."
In fact, lead single "Why Cry" easily exceeded Navarro's expectations: it garnered enough airplay in July for the song to land at No. 33 on the Modern Rock chart.
"To have realized something out of absolutely nothing, that's just a great feeling," says Navarro about the success the band has had so far.
Although the group was relatively active earlier in the decade, Jane's Addiction effectively disbanded in 1991, and Navarro has had his hands in various and varied projects ever since. He was briefly a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, has recorded songs with artists such as Nine Inch Nails and Alanis Morrissette and released a solo album, "Trust No One."
In recent years, Navarro has taken his career to the next level with the 2003 MTV reality series "'Till Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave," which chronicled his courtship of Carmen Electra, and two seasons of "Rock Star." Although he has truly become a multimedia celebrity, his main focus is still on music.
"I have a few more weeks of 'Rock Star: Supernova' left, and then [the Panic Channel is] looking to go out on tour in the fall," he says. "I'm really excited to get back into just playing music for awhile because it's truly my passion. That's where I'm able to create and express myself. As much as I love television and working on the show, it's not a creative job. It's just pure entertainment. And I love that too, but I'm pretty excited about staying focused on music after the show wraps."
Like most bands, touring allows the Panic Channel to interact with fans. But unlike most, Navarro and his bandmates go the extra mile to offer the type of closeness that serious music lovers crave.
"Steve Isaacs and I run all of our Web sites. They aren't hosted by any corporate filter -- they aren't hosted by Capitol or anybody," he notes. "We literally host them and update them and write the code for them all. And we maintain our MySpace pages, personal and for the Panic Channel. And Steve Isaacs' blog is run by him, and my blog -- 6767.com -- is run by me. We really believe it's imperative that whatever kind of online presence represents the band comes from the band directly. Because for somebody who can't get to a show, that's their only interface with the band, and it needs to be viewed as such."
In addition to running those various sites, Navarro also streams a live radio broadcast on spreadradiolive.com from his home and occasionally the tour bus. It's that variety of intimacy that he hopes will surround him when the Panic Channel hits the road this fall.
"On our last tour we did very small clubs, between 300-500 [people], and we had the time of our lives," he says. "It's been a long time since I've gone on a tour like that, and to be able to have that kind of interaction with the audience is completely magical. There's four of us in the Panic Channel, but if we're playing [for] 300 people, we feel like the Panic Channel has 304 members that night."
Navarro seems to always be working on a new project, but when asked whether he has any other tricks up his sleeve that he would unveil before the end of the year, he replies, "God, I hope not, man, 'cause I'm gonna have a f*ckin' heart attack."