“Nirvana often gets credit for being the first ‘alternative’ band to break through, the band that changed music and led rock out of the hair metal wilderness of the ’80s. That’s just not true. It was Jane’s Addiction.” – Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine
Perry Ferrell is the Pan of our generation, the unashamed king of excess. The frontman to Jane’s Addiction is some mix of topless exotic dancer and post-apocalyptic metalhead. His mournful voice is powerful and vulnerable. A weary warrior persistently wailing out iconic melody lines that have haunted us for decades.
The 1988 release Nothing’s Shocking stunned the world with a sound that ranged from metal-pop to electronic beats to rock roots. This record from the new Los Angeles band would influence bands like Soundgarden, Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana and get the group noticed around the world.
The singles “Jane Says” and “Summertime Rolls” rang out with Dave Navarro’s memorable guitar work and Ferrell’s distinctive voice.
“Here is a band that helped keep rock and roll unpredictable, inspiring, dangerous, and constantly moving forward. As it should be.” – Marc Spitz
All in all, as good as they are in the studio, Jane’s Addiction is much better as a live band. This official footage of “Jane Says” captures Jane’s Addiction in their prime. From the live record Kettle Whistle.
1990’s Ritual de Habitual was the band’s first record to go gold. It showed off Jane’s Addiction’s Zeppelin side in the single “Three Days.”
After this record the band released Strays in 2003. And Perry Ferrell created the Lollapallooza music festival as part of a last tour for the band.
Navarro joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Ferrell started Porno for Pyros and did some solo work and a mass amount of collaborations. Years later Jane’s Addiction would reunite and separate periodically. They are currently together, with a new release The Great Escape Artist. Here’s the single “Underground.”
Tune in to Michele Myers Friday nights at 9pm on KEXP 90.3FM in Seattle, kexp.org. Music historian, documentary producer and DJ, she’s made over 200 radio stories for KEXP Documentaries and written scripts, lesson plans and features for Experience Music Project, University of Washington and NPR. She’s spinning dance sets of soul, funk and electronic music Thursday, September 20 at Electric Tea Garden in Seattle.