Jane's Addiction is an American alternative rock band formed in Los Angeles, California in 1985. The band is composed of Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Eric Avery (bass) and Stephen Perkins (drums). After breaking up in 1991, Jane's Addiction briefly toured in 1997, reunited in 2001 and then parted ways in 2004. Jane's Addiction have since reunited again in 2008, with founding member Eric Avery returning on bass. The band's varied musical style has influences rooted in a variety of genres including gothic rock and heavy metal.
Jane's Addiction was one of the first bands to emerge from the early 1990s alternative rock movement to gain mainstream media attention and commercial success in the United States. Their initial farewell tour launched the first Lollapalooza festival, an alternative rock showcase. As a result, Jane's Addiction became icons of what Farrell dubbed the "Alternative Nation".
Formation and Jane's Addiction (1985–1987)
Jane's Addiction formed out of the ashes of frontman Perry Farrell's previous band, Psi-com. In the summer of 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 addicted to drugs. In its early incarnation, Jane's Addiction went through three 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 for 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.
Nothing's Shocking (1987–1989)
In January 1988, Jane's Addiction went into the studio to record its first studio album, Nothing's Shocking. Warner Bros. gave Jane's Addiction a list of producers to choose from, but the group chose Dave Jerden. During recording, the band almost broke up over financial royalties; Perry Farrell wanted 62.5 percent of the royalties leaving the rest of the band members with 12.5 percent each. Avery said the incident had a profound effect on the band, creating an internal fracture. Not long after the royalties dispute, Farrell and Avery had a falling out. This was the result of Avery's newfound sobriety as well as an incident where Farrell believed that the bassist had drunkenly tried to pick up his girlfriend.
Nothing's Shocking was released in 1988. "Mountain Song" was released as a single; however, MTV refused to air the song's music video due to a scene containing nudity. Farrell then decided to release the music video commercially with added live footage to create the Soul Kiss home video. Due to 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.
After the album's release, the band went on tour, opening for Iggy Pop and The Ramones. By the end of the tour, Jane's Addiction was headlining clubs and theaters. The band was nominated for the inaugural Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental the following year.
Ritual de lo Habitual and first breakup (1989–1991)
Jane's Addiction was scheduled to begin recording its next album in mid-1989. However due to his rift with Avery, Farrell did not show up at the studio for weeks, so the band and returning producer Dave Jerden decided to begin recording without him. Farrell and Avery ultimately decided to come in and record at separate times. During the sessions, the group took a break for several months before it resumed recording. Farrell briefly attended drug rehabilitation, while 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."
Part of the tour included headlining the first Lollapalooza festival, which travelled across North America in the summer of 1991. The festival, created by Perry Farrell and Marc Geiger, was to become a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction, but at the same time it was a music festival with bands such as Nine Inch Nails, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Butthole Surfers, Fishbone, The Rollins Band, The Violent Femmes, Body Count, and Ice T. During this time Jane's Addiction 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, but the fight continued and Navarro eventually threw his guitar up into the crowd. The band however, continued the tour and played about 25 more Lollapalooza shows.
In late 1991, Avery told Navarro that he planned on leaving the band. Navarro quickly agreed to doing the same thing. The two told management, who in turn tried to convince them to play in Japan, but Avery and Navarro only wanted to play as much was contractually obligated. Jane's Addiction played its last shows in Australia and Hawaii before disbanding.
Solo projects and 1997 reunion (1992–2001)
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.
Dave Navarro and the Red Hot Chili Peppers's Flea joined Porno for Pyros to record "Hard Charger" in 1997 for Howard Stern's movie, Private Parts soundtrack which led to a brief Jane's Addiction Relapse tour with Flea replacing Avery as bassist, after he declined an invitation to rejoin the band. They produced a compilation album titled Kettle Whistle with two new songs that Flea plays on put into this album.
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 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 of songs) 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.
The band spent 2003 on an extensive worldwide touring in support of Strays, including, in a homecoming of sorts, a summer headliner slot in a reincarnated Lollapalooza U.S. tour. Jane's Addiction once again broke up towards the end of their 2003 touring and canceled several dates. Perry Farrell refused to record or tour in order to focus his attention on the 2004 incarnation of the Lollapalooza Festival (which was later cancelled due to dismal ticket sales). 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.
Second breakup (2004–2008)
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 former 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.
A Greatest Hits album titled Up From the Catacombs - The Best of Jane's Addiction was released on Sept. 19, 2006.
Reunion and NIN/JA Tour (2008–Present)
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.
Around this time, photos of Eric Avery, Stephen Perkins, and Dave Navarro, 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 "Chip 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.
With the NIN/JA tour now finished, the band will embark on a number of dates throughout Australia and Europe including the 2009 T in the Park and Rock'n Coke festivals.
While Jane's Addiction were booked to play the Splendour in the Grass festival in Australia, medical problems have prevented the band making the trip down under. Music Feeds reports that an arm infection, probably that of drummer Stephen Perkins, is the cause of the cancellation. The entire Australian tour has been cancelled, though Jane's Addiction state that they will return to Australia as soon as possible.