Without Janes Addiction, there might still have been a Soundgarden, an Alice in Chains, a Nine Inch Nails, a Rage Against the Machine, and even a Nirvana, but they wouldnt sound the same. As Tom Morello said when inducting Janes into Guitar Centers Rock Walk of Fame in June 2011: 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. Thats just not true. It was Janes Addiction.
As the years have passed, Janes Addiction have kept pace in a modern culture that the band helped to expand and progress. They didnt invent the metal fan who also loves rap. That kid already existed. So did the Goth kid who also owned Zeppelin records. But before all music and information was instantly available, Janes did enlighten the metal fan whod never even had a chance to hear rap or industrial or prog or British indie and that metal fan is better and more open-minded for it. And now, so are their children. In 1988, Janes Addiction saved my life, Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins has said. Janes didnt invent modern rock, but they turned modern rockers into an enduring and inclusive tribe. Janes was the only band I saw in those times who had that 'I-will-follow-them-anywhere type of crowd. There were a lot of great bands around at that time, Henry Rollins told Spin, but Janes had this tribal thing happening with their fans. It was very powerful.
August 2013 marks 25 years since the release of Nothings Shocking an album like no other then, and like few others now, as influential as it is. Many critics were puzzled in 88 upon first hearing those 11 songs. A classic love em or hate em outfit, Rolling Stone observed. The band is great. And it is also full of shit. Often at the same time. The music runs from proggy pomp (Up the Beach), to stripped-down, barking punk (Idiots Rule, Had A Dad), to thundering hard rock (Mountain Song, Ocean Size). Its dubby and doomy one moment (Ted Just Admit It, which features samples of dialogue from serial killer Ted Bundy) and sweet and pastoral the next (Summertime Rolls). Theres whimsy inside (Standing in the Shower Thinking), hilarity, too (the faux lounge-jazz of Thank You Boys), and theres Pigs In Zen. How does one even describe Pigs in Zen except to ask, What other songs are like 'Pigs in Zen? Oh, yes, and it also contains modern rocks Free Bird the sad, sweet, and eternal Jane Says, a steel-drum-driven pop gem that everyone can sing along to. The riff and the chorus are in our DNA a quarter-century on.
Nothings Shocking is one of those once heard, never forgotten albums that bands dont even pretend to make anymore; easily on par with other titanic releases that came out of L.A. in the 80s and early 90s: Appetite For Destruction, Straight Outta Compton, Pauls Boutique, and The Chronic. And yet, the Janes oeuvre and myth doesnt feel aged, or classic. If anything, its still a live wire; dangerous and dark in spite of the passage of time. My sex and my drugs and my rock n roll, Perry Farrell sang back in 1990 on the Ritual De Lo Habitual album, are the only things that keeps me here. Two decades later theres not one note of corniness or kitsch to Janes. While the band never said, Hey kids, drugs are cool, they made no apology for exulting in substances stronger than pot. Sex, as Janes portrayed it, was bold as well; a ritual, with candles lit, altars built, spirits stirred. Its part of what bonded them to a devoted fan base and lets face it, what kept them interesting.
Lyrically, Janes made sense of a rapidly changing world a time when mutually assured nuclear destruction and the AIDS crisis were looming realities, racial tension was at a modern peak, and a generation gap between the Baby Boomers and a still-unnamed Generation X was growing increasingly wide and hostile. Janes didnt shrink from any of this. They celebrated it. Their music was something to wrap yourself in and, certainly in the 80s, it protected you from the elements in the sometimes terrifying new age. Janes would not be bullied. When MTV refused to play the video for the single Mountain Song, the band simply added some footage to it and sold it in stores (a few years before Madonna had the same idea). When several stores wouldnt stock their 1990 album Ritual De Lo Habitual (as good as Nothings Shocking and anchored by the epic Three Days), Janes re-issued it with a white sleeve and the First Amendment printed on it. Here was a band who knew how to give the finger constructively and with a little mischief.
Janes Addiction passed into legend early and by design. They broke up after six years together in 1991 at the height of their popularity: headlining the inaugural Lollapalooza tour. That first Lollapalooza, we were in Los Angeles recording Nevermind, Dave Grohl told Time Out Chicago. We heard about the show and Kurt and I got tickets somehow and decided to go down. And when we arrived, there were more piercings, more tribal tattoos and more Rollins Band T-shirts than Id ever seen in one place at one time. That was early summer. By that fall, radio and MTV and music had changed, Grohl said, adding, I cant even count how many people Perrys opened the doors for.
Next year, Janes Addiction will be eligible for induction into the Rock and Roll of Fame and could join other acts who are credited with bringing the college-rock sensibility into the mainstream, like R.E.M. and the Beastie Boys. While Janes Addiction absolutely deserve to be there, in a way, like most larger-than-life inductees, theyre more than a band: Theyre a tool for challenging your dreary reality. Perry Farrell saw the country (and the record industry) and asked, Why is it this way, when it should be that way? Then he changed it.
Janes Addiction is still a frighteningly powerful live band and an ever-exploring recording act. Original members Farrell, Dave Navarro, and Stephen Perkins reunited in 1997, then again in 2001, and released a third studio album (fourth if you count the live 1987 self-titled release, known to most fans as Triple X, for the indie label that released it) Strays, which features current Janes bassist, Chris Chaney, and was produced by the legendary Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyds The Wall). In 2008 founding bassist Eric Avery rejoined. In 2011 The Great Escape Artist was released to critical acclaim. It sounds like a band re-vitalized, Spin raved, while Billboard called the album a dynamic collection that features some of the band's best work."
Source: Artist Site