Founded by Farrell and bass guitarist Eric Avery, following the disintegration of Farrell's previous band Psi Com, Jane's Addiction was one of the first bands from the early 1990s alternative rock movement to gain both mainstream media attention and commercial success in the United States. Jane's Addiction launched with a live self-titled debut album in 1987 and quickly caught the attention of Warner Bros. Records. The band's following first two major-label studio albums, Nothing's Shocking (1988) and Ritual de lo habitual (1990), were released to widespread critical acclaim, and an increasing cult fanbase. As a result, Jane's Addiction became icons of what Farrell dubbed the "Alternative Nation". The band's initial farewell tour, in 1991, launched the first Lollapalooza, which has since become a perennial alternative rock festival.
The band briefly reunited in 1997, with Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, replacing Avery on bass guitar. In 2001, a second reunion took place, with Martyn LeNoble—and later Chris Chaney—occupying the role of bass guitarist. In 2003, the band released its third major-label studio album, Strays, before dissolving again the following year.
In 2008, the band's original line-up reunited and embarked on a world tour. Eric Avery, however, subsequently left the band in early 2010 as the group began work on new material. The band released its fourth studio album The Great Escape Artist in 2011, with Chaney returning to the band for its recording and subsequent tour.
Jane's Addiction formed out of the remains of frontman Perry Farrell's previous band, Psi Com. In mid-1985, Farrell was searching for a new bass player for the faltering Psi-com when he was introduced to Eric Avery. Farrell and Avery bonded over a mutual appreciation for Joy Division and The Velvet Underground and began to practice together, even though Avery never did become a full-fledged member of Farrell's disintegrating group. The new band was dubbed "Jane's Addiction" in honor of Farrell's housemate, Jane Bainter, who was the muse and inspiration for the band. In its early incarnation, Jane's Addiction went through four guitarists and featured Matt Chaikin, formerly of Kommunity FK, on drums.
After Chaikin failed to show up for several rehearsals, Farrell began seeking a new drummer. Avery's younger sister Rebecca suggested her boyfriend Stephen Perkins. Avery was uncertain because of their differing tastes in music, but eventually relented. After Perkins was hired, the drummer and Rebecca Avery promised to get their friend Dave Navarro into the group. Based on Perkins' recommendation, the band auditioned Navarro and subsequently hired him.
Jane's Addiction became a sensation on the Los Angeles club scene, primarily headlining at Scream. The band soon gained interest from a variety of record labels. While the group had decided to sign with Warner Bros. Records, Jane's Addiction insisted on releasing its debut on independent record label Triple X Records first. The band's manager negotiated the largest advance up to that point, with Warner Bros. signing the band for between $250,000 to $300,000. In January 1987, the band recorded its debut record Jane's Addiction during a live performance at the Roxy Theatre at a cost of $4,000. Before the album was released, Jane's Addiction supported British band Love and Rockets on a two-month tour in late 1987. Also in late 1987, the band opened for former Bauhaus vocalist Peter Murphy at the now demolished Fender's Ballroom in Long Beach.
In January 1988, Jane's Addiction went into the studio to record its major label debut and follow-up to Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking. Warner Bros. gave Jane's Addiction a list of producers to choose from, but the group chose Dave Jerden.
Nothing's Shocking was released in 1988. "Mountain Song" was released as a single; MTV refused to air the song's music video because of a scene containing full frontal nudity. Farrell then decided to release the music video commercially with added live footage to create the Soul Kiss home video. Because of lack of airplay on MTV and modern rock radio, the album only sold 200,000 to 250,000 copies in its first year of release.
Jane's Addiction was scheduled to begin recording its next album in mid-1989. Navarro later stated he had almost no recollection of working on the album due to his addiction to heroin. Ritual de lo Habitual was released in 1990. To support the album, the band embarked on a 13-month tour. Farrell recalled, "That thirteen-month tour behind Ritual was half the reason we wound up unable to stand one another. The other half is that I am an intolerable narcissist who can't get along with anyone."
Part of the tour included headlining the first Lollapalooza festival, which traveled across North America in mid-1991. The festival, created by Perry Farrell and Marc Geiger, was to become a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction, but it was also a music festival with other well-known artists performing. Nine Inch Nails, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Butthole Surfers, Living Colour, The Rollins Band, The Violent Femmes, and Ice-T's Body Count, all played sets before Jane's Addiction finally got their turn. During this time the band began to get more exposure than they had ever before. "Been Caught Stealing" and "Stop!" became smash hit singles and received solid amounts of air time on MTV. During the very first Lollapalooza show, Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro got into a fight onstage after the two had begun violently bumping each other mid-song. The band walked off stage, but came back to play an encore; however, the fight continued and Navarro eventually threw his guitar into the crowd. Regardless, the band continued the tour and played about 25 more Lollapalooza shows, frequently playing a cover of Sly and the Family Stone's "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" as a duet with Ice-T and Body Count as part of the set.
Differences between band members on the issue of drug use on the "Ritual" tour led to a schism in the band, with Farrell and Perkins regularly consuming drugs, while Avery and Navarro chose to abstain. According to Spin Magazine (1991 Vol. 7 Num. 3), while traveling between shows Avery and Navarro would seek to avoid temptation by retiring to a section of the tour bus set aside for them. After shows, Avery and Navarro (and Navarro's wife at the time, Tanya) would immediately retire to their hotel. Quoted from the article: "...they have simply learned that they cannot use drugs of any kind anymore without becoming slaves to them, and that slavery is death".
In late 1991, Avery told Navarro that he planned on leaving the band. Navarro quickly agreed to do the same thing. The two told their management, who in turn tried to convince them to play in Japan, but Avery and Navarro only wanted to play as much as was contractually obligated. Jane's Addiction played its last shows in Australia and Hawaii before disbanding.
Dave Navarro joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1994 (he would be fired in 1998) and during a hiatus for the band, Navarro along with Chili Peppers's Flea joined Porno for Pyros to record "Hard Charger" in 1997 for Howard Stern's movie, Private Parts soundtrack. This led to a brief Jane's Addiction Relapse tour, with Flea replacing Avery who declined an invitation to rejoin the band. They produced a compilation album entitled Kettle Whistle featuring two new songs with Flea on bass. In 2010, Perkins stated that "Flea, to me, was a great match in '97. As a drummer, he was very exciting for me to work with."
The 2001 Jubilee Tour featured all the old Jane's Addiction songs, while showcasing the recent solo release from Navarro, Trust No One. 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 1990s 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 fourth album, Strays. Some of the songs (or parts of songs) dated far back in the band's history, while others were brand new. Criticism was generally favorable, with Rolling Stone reporting that "The band sounds familiar" and "beefier" though without the "glint of madness" of the original line-up. The first single, "Just Because", reached number 72 on the Billboard 100 charts, though the sixth song on the record, "Superhero", garnered much more exposure as the featured theme song of HBO's hit series Entourage.
The band spent 2003 on an extensive worldwide tour in support of Strays, including a summer headliner slot in a reincarnated Lollapalooza U.S. tour. Following this homecoming of sorts, Jane's Addiction once again broke up towards the end of 2003 after canceling several dates. Although exact details surrounding the band's demise are sparse, Navarro claimed on his website, in June 2004, that the reasons for the breakup were essentially the same as they were in 1991. Perkins would later state, "We always break-up if it's not real. We really can’t fake it. I mean we can make a million dollars for three months touring but we would fucking hate each other, which isn’t good. Even with the nostalgia, it's not worth it if it doesn’t sound good, or look good. One of the things with Jane's is that we have never been good at faking it."
A Greatest Hits album titled Up from the Catacombs – The Best of Jane's Addiction was released on September 19, 2006.
Jane's Addiction performed at the first-ever NME Awards USA on April 23, 2008, with the reunited core line-up of Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Eric Avery, and Stephen Perkins. This was the first performance with bassist Eric Avery since 1991, taking place after their acceptance speech for the "Godlike Genius Award". To follow this up, the original line up performed their first full set in 17 years in Los Angeles on October 23, 2008 at La Cita Bar, and played two further club gigs at the El Cid in Los Angeles on November 20. and the Echoplex on February 16, 2009. On April 11, 2009 they had a birthday bash for Perry that included members of Jane's Addiction and Porno for Pyros on the same stage; the bash was nicknamed Perrypalooza.
Around this time, photos of Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Eric Avery, and Stephen Perkins, taken by Trent Reznor, appeared on Nine Inch Nails' official web site, leading to speculation that Reznor could be helping Jane's Addiction record new material. Reznor subsequently posted a blog entry announcing that Jane's Addiction would accompany Nine Inch Nails on their summer 2009 tour, which kicked off on May 8 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
To accompany the tour, newly recorded versions of "Trip Away" and "Whores" have been released for free via the official tour website. Regarding the tracks, Perry Farrell states that: "just to get some creative juice flowing, we went into the studio for about two weeks. We had the idea to re-record two tunes, just because they'd never been done officially in the studio. And we had some fun writing some new things. A handful that are close to finished, but not quite done. But there's no rush to put anything out at this point." Discussing the tracks on his blog, guitarist Dave Navarro stated, "The thinking being that we wanted to give our longtime listeners something to celebrate the tour and "Whores" has always been one of the tracks that defined Jane's early on."
A box-set, entitled A Cabinet of Curiosities, was also released to accompany the NIN/JA tour in April 2009.
In July 2009, Jane's Addiction was scheduled to play the Splendour in the Grass festival in Australia when a health issue forced a last-minute cancellation. Music Feeds reports that an arm infection, probably that of drummer Stephen Perkins, is the cause of the cancellation. The entire Australian leg of the Jane's Addiction 2009 world tour was cancelled, though Jane's Addiction would play the next year's Splendour in the Grass.
Jane's Addiction performed at the 2009 Voodoo Fest held at City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana over Halloween weekend. The concert was filmed and a year later released as Live Voodoo DVD, which received mixed reviews. "...It all falls rather flat, a two-dimensional sound robbing the likes of 'Ocean Size' and 'Ted, Just Admit It' of any sense of dynamics", Phil Mongredien of the Q magazine wrote.
Jane's Addiction returned to Australia in February 2010 for the Soundwave Festival. Eric Avery subsequently left the band following the completion of the festival, stating: "That's it. With equal parts regret and relief, the Jane's Addiction experiment is at an end."
The band began working with Guns N' Roses bassist Duff McKagan on new material. with a picture of the group working together posted on Navarro's Twitter page. It was later confirmed by Dave Navarro on his Dark Matter radio program that McKagan had indeed joined Jane's Addiction on a permanent basis.
The new lineup of Jane's Addiction made their debut, performing at singer Perry Farrell's 51st birthday celebration, at Les Deux in Los Angeles, California on March 30.
In April 2010, the group announced two European dates, scheduled for June, taking place at the GelreDome, in Arnhem, Netherlands, and an appearance at the Rock in Rio in Madrid, Spain. Preceding these shows in Europe was a one-off Cinco de Mayo concert that took place at the Bardot in Hollywood, California on Wednesday, May 5, 2010. During the show, they debuted a new song titled "Soulmate". In September 2010 McKagan left the band.
On January 5, 2011, the band announced that they had recruited TV on the Radio guitarist and producer Dave Sitek as a replacement for Duff McKagan. Sitek was set to record the bass for the band's fourth studio album, entitled The Great Escape Artist. On January 14, 2011, while talking about the recording of the new album, drummer Stephen Perkins mentioned that although Sitek was a "stabilizing force" for Jane's Addiction, and was to appear on the upcoming album, he was not the band's full-time bassist as was previously reported. It was then confirmed that Sitek would not be touring with the band, which was set to promote the album on a summer tour, including headlining Reading and Leeds Festivals. These sets would later be cancelled due to Farrell's illness. It was then announced that Chris Chaney would be the band's live bassist for some shows in 2011. On March 30, 2011, a song from The Great Escape Artist, titled "End to the Lies" was premiered on the Chilean radio station Radio Futuro, and was also performed at Lollapalooza Chile on April 3, 2011. On April 8, "End to the Lies" was released via their website as free to download. On July 23, 2011 the band headlined the Gathering of the Vibes Music and Arts festival in Bridgeport, Connecticut. On August 3, 2011 the band released the second single entitled "Irresistible Force". The initial release date for new album was scheduled for September 27, 2011, but was postponed until October. The Great Escape Artist was released on October 18, 2011.
Jane's Addiction launched their Theatre of the Escapists Tour in 2012 to a sold out crowd at the 2,000 seat Pageant Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri.
In February 2012, Perry Farrell discussed the possibility of releasing a follow-up to The Great Escape Artist whilst touring in support of the album, stating, "What I have not seen before is a group that's done a record, had somewhat of a theme – escapism – and then done a second record almost as if it was a follow-up movie. I want to do that. We have material left from The Great Escape Artist we didn't record. I'm very inspired to keep with the theme. Something's feeling right about it."
In July 2012 Jane's Addiction headlined the inaugural Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio. Also in 2012, the band contributed a cover of Sympathy for the Devil to Sons of Anarchy. This track also appeared on the soundtrack album Songs of Anarchy: Volume 2. In December 2012, FUSE TV named Jane's Addiction single, "Underground", one of the top 40 songs of 2012. In May 2013, the band performed at the Bottlerock Festival in the Napa Valley, along with the Violent Femmes, Macklemore, The Black Keys, Cake, Train, Blues Traveler, The Wallflowers, Kings of Leon, and more.
The band released their live album, Live in NYC, on July 8, 2013, recorded during the "Theatre of Escapists" tour. On August 8, 2013, the band released a stream of a new single, "Another Soulmate".
Jane's Addiction was awarded with the 2,509th star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 30, 2013. Their star is located at 6436 Hollywood Boulevard.
In January 2014, Perry Farrell stated that Jane's Addiction is on hiatus, and he is currently working on a new musical, "Kind Heaven."
Jane's Addiction performed their debut album, Nothing's Shocking, at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas on May 8, 9, and 10, 2014, and again at O2 Academy Brixton on August 20 and O2 Apollo Manchester on August 21, 2014.
On July 15, 2016, Jane's Addiction performed on the Sterling Spoon Anniversary Tour for six shows in the US celebrating the 25th anniversary of Ritual De Lo Habitual and Lollapalooza. Special guests on the tour included Dinosaur Jr. and Living Colour.
Jane's Addiction was one of the pioneering acts of alternative metal and is credited for the mainstream exposure of the alternative music scene in the 1990s. The band was also heavily associated with the funk metal genre.
Emerged from Los Angeles' glam metal and goth scene, their music contains elements from heavy metal, punk rock, folk, jazz fusion, funk rock, psychedelic rock and progressive rock. The band's other prominent influences included '70s heavy metal, art rock, post-punk and gender bendering glam rock. The band was also labeled as "funk-punk". Their album, Strays was labeled as "nu metal", a genre which the band was a precursor to.
Jane's Addiction is usually regarded as one of the most influential acts in alternative music. Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine compared the influence of the band to that of Nirvana. The artists influenced by Jane's Addiction include Tool, Korn, The Smashing Pumpkins, Limp Bizkit, Candlebox, P.O.D., Oceansize, Paul Banks of Interpol, Nothingface, Stabbing Westward, Incubus, System of a Down, and Strapping Young Lad.
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); meanwhile, Avery and Navarro formed Deconstruction and put out a self-titled one-off album in 1994. Dave Navarro joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 1993 and in the same year Stephen Perkins started a band named Banyan, with core members Nels Cline, Mike Watt, and Willie Waldman (with revolving studio guests). Banyan have released three albums as of 2008, their self titled-debut, Any Time at All and Live At Perkins Place.
During their second major split, the band were involved in a number of other projects. Navarro, Perkins, and Chaney formed a new band, The Panic Channel, with singer Steve Isaacs, who together released one album, titled (ONe), in 2006. Perry Farrell, together with his wife Etty Lau Farrell and Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, formed The Satellite Party. The band signed with Columbia Records and released their debut album, Ultra Payloaded in 2007. Eric Avery signed with Dangerbird Records for the release of his solo album Help Wanted in 2008.
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