“ABOVE GROUND” presented by Dave Navarro & Billy Morrison

“ABOVE GROUND” has revealed additional names of special guests that will be joining Dave Navarro and Billy Morrison for this one-night-only event taking place Monday, April 16 at The Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

The immersive evening of art and music–presented by Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) and Morrison (Billy Idol) in partnership with Revolver Gallery–will celebrate the vinyl album as an art form, and at the same time raise awareness and funds for the treatment of mental health, with the profits being donated to MusiCares®, a charity of the Recording Academy™. The musicians will perform two seminal albums in their entirety–first Kings Of The Wild Frontier by Adam and The Ants with a special guest appearance by Marco Pirroni of Adam and The Ants and then The Velvet Underground & Nico by Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground–with completely different stage sets and production for each album’s performance.

Set to join guitarists Navarro and Morrison throughout the evening are the following musicians and guests (in alphabetical order), with more to be revealed. Newly added names are noted with an asterisk.

Billy Duffy (The Cult)*

Billy Howerdel (A Perfect Circle)*

Billy Idol

Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction)

Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour)

Courtney Love (Hole)

Dave Kushner (Velvet Revolver)*

Erik Eldenius (Billy Idol)

Franky Perez

Jenny Vee (Eagles of Death Metal)*

Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads, The Modern Lovers)*

Josh Freese (The Vandals, Devo, A Perfect Circle, Nine Inch Nails)

Lili Haydn

Marco Pirroni (Adam and The Ants)*

Mark McGrath (Sugar Ray)*

Paul Trudeau (Billy Idol)*

Steve Isaacs (The Panic Channel)*

Steve Stevens (Billy Idol)*

When Navarro and Morrison sat down over coffee recently and started to talk about music, art, the lost love of the vinyl record, and at the same time their own mental health and their different battles in the same arena, it became apparent immediately that they both wanted to do the same thing–to celebrate life, to pay homage to records that truly shaped them both as musicians, and at the same time to raise awareness, funds and hope for people suffering from depression. This is how ABOVE GROUND was born. 

“One of the things we’re trying to do [with ABOVE GROUND] is help take the stigma away from mental health,” Navarro recently told Steve Baltin at Forbes.com. “We’re proponents of mental health for everybody. I think everybody can do with self care and mental health. Obviously this is a celebration, but it is a huge responsibility and I think that some of these organizations, like MusiCares, and certainly my friends and coworkers have helped me out in terrible times and been available for me when I didn’t know which way to turn. And certainly hearing of losing a loved one is a knife through your heart. It’s almost a knife going through a wound that already exists in your heart because you know how they felt. So there’s a strange dynamic that goes along with that kind of grieving. But more importantly, on a more public level, let people know that it is there and there is no shame in asking for help. The shameful thing is to shy away from the help. The thing to be proud of is reaching out and doing something to take care of your own life.”

When asked if an event like this reminds them of the medicinal power of music, Morrison noted to Forbes, “It’s one of the things that happened when Dave and I started to go through the albums and experience the joy that we first felt when these albums were released and they came into our life. Both the Velvet Underground And Nico and Kings Of the Wild Frontier inspired me and Dave.” He added, “This is purely for the love of music and trying to find a place to use that love of music to raise awareness for something that’s really devastating.”

During the intermission between performances at ABOVE GROUND, there will be speeches from people in the mental health field, including Bob Forrest and Dr. Drew, and a small memorabilia auction to raise funds, along with art displays and information booths. Revolver Gallery will showcase works by Andy Warhol. Representatives from MusiCares (currently focusing on the mental health arena and all the challenges that are faced in that field)will also be present at the event.

Tickets for ABOVE GROUND are available via ticketmaster.com and livenation.com.

What inspired you guys to come up with this event, musically and emotionally?
DAVE and BILLY: “It was an organic process and has truly come from our hearts. Losing multiple friends to suicide and depression and having both experienced mental health issues, we were simply talking one day about how it still seems like a taboo subject…something that is not OK to talk about, or ask for help with, or admit to…and we wanted to do something that shows people it is not any of those things. We felt that by combining our mutual love of the journey that so many vinyl albums took the listener on, with an event that could perhaps show that it is OK to ask for help with all mental health issues, we could achieve something here.”
Why do you feel the albums The Velvet Underground & Nico and Adam and The Ants’ Kings Of The Wild Frontier belong together on one evening?
DAVE and BILLY: “To be honest, initially there was no thought about ‘why’ they belonged together. To us, they are two albums that were incredibly important and inspirational to us as players. Both albums formed the backbone of our styles and tones and once the event started to take shape, we felt that the idea of two disparate and disconnected albums being performed in one evening took the whole thing away from the idea of a standard ‘gig’ and towards what we wanted to achieve–more of an art-type event.
The Velvets’ debut album is generally regarded as one of the most important albums of all time, whereas Adam and the Ants’ album didn’t receive the same kind of acclaim. How important is the Adam and the Ants’ album to you guys?
DAVE and BILLY: “There is no doubt that the Velvets album has received that kind of seminal critical acclaim, but the importance of the Ants album cannot be overstated. The twin tribal drumming was something we just hadn’t seen before and had a massive impact on Jane’s Addiction. The amount of feedback and noise and mayhem on that record was so exciting to us when it was released. Add in songwriting and structure that is just so so different from the normal, and a frontman that oozed sex and danger, and we were hooked. We both feel that the timing of the Ants album was released at a time when New Wave was taking over but they still held the grit and sense of abandon that we loved about punk rock.”
Can you talk about plans for the two different stage sets that are being planned for the performances of each album?
DAVE and BILLY: “Well obviously we don’t want to give away too much (possibly because we are still not sure what we can pull off!!!), but the idea is to make the stage look and feel completely different for each performance. That’s why there will be an intermission between albums. The stage production will be changed out completely, so that we can represent the ANTS album in one way, and then completely change direction and give the VELVETS album the look and vibe it deserves.”

For more information on ABOVE GROUND, visit:




About MusiCares:

A friend and ally of the music community, MusiCares was established by the Recording Academy™ to safeguard the health and well-being of all music people. A four-star charity and safety net in times of need, MusiCares offers confidential preventative, recovery, and emergency programs to address financial, medical, and personal health issues. Through the generosity of our donors and volunteer professionals, our dedicated team works across the country to ensure the music community has the resources and support it needs.

For more information, visit www.musicares.org, “like” MusiCares on Facebook, and follow @MusiCares on Twitter and Instagram.

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