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Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday Nite Retro - Jane's Addiction

Welcome to Friday Nite Retro - your weekly journey back into musical history. Tonight's topics include addictions, mountains, shoplifting, and even some pets and peppers. Citing Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground as one of their primary influences, vocalist Perry Farrell, bassist Eric Avery, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins formed Jane's Addiction in Los Angeles in 1985. The name was in honor of Farrell's housemate, Jane Bainter, who was heavily addicted to drugs, and to the famous researcher, Jane Goodall, whose addiction to finding new things they rightfully respect. The band was one of the first of the burgeoning alternative rock movement to gain mainstream media attention and commercial success in the United States.

Their major label debut Nothing's Shocking was released in 1988. The band was nominated for the inaugural Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental the following year. Their first hit, "Jane Says", and the follow up, "Mountain Song" introduced the troupe to a wider audience:

Jane Says

Mountain Song

The band's full breakthrough came with the release of Ritual de lo Habitual in 1990 which also was certified Gold. The singles "Stop!" and "Been Caught Stealing" topped the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and the video for the latter song won the first MTV Video Music Award for Best Alternative Video. Also that year Perry Farrell organized the first Lollapalooza festival, featuring Jane's Addiction as the headliners with Butthole Surfers, Nine Inch Nails, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Rollins Band, Living Colour, and Ice-T. However, tensions had emerged in the band and soon it became clear that Lollapalooza was to be the band's farewell tour:


Been Caught Stealing

After their breakup, the band members pursued other projects in the 1990s. Farrell and Perkins formed another band, Porno for Pyros, and had some success with their two albums, Porno For Pyros (1993) and Good God's Urge (1996):


Tahitian Moon

Dave Navarro joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1993. Avery and Navarro formed Deconstruction and put out a self-titled one-off album in 1994.

Dave Navarro and the Red Hot Chili Peppers's Flea later rejoined Porno for Pyros to record "Hard Charger" in 1997 for Howard Stern's movie, Private Parts soundtrack which lead to a brief Jane's Addiction Relapse tour with Flea replacing Avery as bassist, after he declined an invitation to rejoin the band. However Jane's Addiction did not launch their full return for a further four years.

Hard Charger

The 2001 Jubilee Tour featured all the old Jane's Addiction songs. Fans were told to expect a "Sexual Psycho Circus, I am not sure if you will want to quote me on that, but fans will see half-naked, penny rafters, guitar solos, and tribal drums..."

This was exactly what the fans got. During renditions of Classic Girl, illuminated, scantily clad stage dancers filled the arenas. For the tour, again Avery declined any involvement. With Flea busy with the Chili Peppers, Porno for Pyros bassist Martyn LeNoble was brought in to fill the gap. Following the success of this tour, the band decided to record a follow-up album to 1990's Ritual De Lo Habitual and tapped Chris Chaney to replace LeNoble on bass. They entered the studio with legendary producer Bob Ezrin in 2001, recording as a band for the first time in over 10 years.

The result was the group's final album, Strays. Some of the songs (or parts thereof) dated far back in the band's history, while others were brand new. Critics were generally favorable, with Rolling Stone reporting that "The band sounds familiar" and "beefier" though without the "glint of madness" of the original line-up. There was tension in the band throughout 2003 and disagreements over which festivals and venues to play, as well as artwork for the new album. The first single, "Just Because," was a minor hit, though the sixth song on the record, "Superhero," garnered much more exposure as the featured theme song of HBO's hit series "Entourage."

Just Because


The band IS still touring and recording today. Visit their official website to see what they've been up to lately!

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Blogger Sheri said...

Nothing Shocking is my favorite album of ALL TIME. I love Jane's with Perry Farrell, after not so much.

title="comment permalink">September 05, 2008 11:30 PM  

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