Jane’s Addiction

  • Alternative rock band formed in 1985 from Los Angeles California. The main members of the band in the 80s and early 90s were Perry Ferrell (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Dave Navarro (guitars, keyboards), Eric Avery (bass guitar) and Stephen Perkins (drums). Chris Chaney has been the bassist since 2011. All bandmembers contributed to songwriting.
  • Ferrell was the frontman to the punk band Psi Com, which was breaking up in 1985. He was looking for a new bass player for that group, and he was introduced to Avery. They started to practice together, and when Psi Com finally ended, Ferrell and Avery decided to form a band, calling themselves Jane’s Addiction, in honor of Ferrell’s housemate Jane Bainter, who inspired them to make music together. They auditioned several guitarists and drummers. When the drummer they wanted stopped showing up for practice, they tapped Perkins, who was the boyfriend of Avery’s sister. Perkins arranged for his friend Navarro to join the group, and the band was complete.
  • They quickly became popular at clubs in Los Angeles, and record companies took notice. They signed a contract in 1987, but as part of the agreement, a live album was released on an independent label, which became their debut album, the self titled Jane’s Addiction. The following year, they released their first studio album, Nothing’s Shocking. The album initially had modest sales – the first single, Jane Says, reached #6 on the Alternative Songs chart – it contains only 2 chords for most of the song. A second single, Mountain Song, never gained traction, as MTV refused to play the video due to full frontal nudity. As the band gained popularity, more people purchased the album, and eventually it was certified platinum. Rolling Stone places it at #312 on their list of the Greatest Albums of All Time.
  • Their breakthrough release was their next album, 1990’s Ritual de lo habitual. Two songs from the album topped the Alternative Songs chart – Stop! and Been Caught Stealing. The latter became their best selling song, spending 4 weeks at the top spot. Rolling Stone’s review of the song said that it had “…the best use of dog barks since Pet Sounds.” The song is included in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s list of “500 Songs that Shaped Rock & Roll.” The album was supported by the first Lollapalooza festival, which was co-created by Farrell – as it turned out, it was a farewell tour for the band, which split up in 1991, largely due to differences in the band regarding the use of drugs.
  • There was a brief reunion in 1997, with Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers replacing Avery on bass. A short tour occurred, and a compilation album, Kettle Whistle, was released – 2 new songs were on the album, with So What! sneaking onto the Alternative Songs chart.
  • Jane’s Addiction reformed again from 2001 to 2004 – again, Avery refused to rejoin, so 2 other bassists performed with the band during these years. A concert tour in 2001 was successful, and the band decided to record a studio album of new music. Strays was released in 2003. The single Just Because reached #1 on the Alternative Songs chart, and crossed over to #72 on the Hot 100 – their only song ever to be on this chart. They toured to support the album, and then broke up again, for the same reasons as in 1991.
  • They reformed yet again in 2008 – this time, Avery was back on bass guitar. After playing several gigs, they decided to accompany Nine Inch Nails on their summer tour in 2009. By February 2010, Avery had enough, and left. They worked with Duff McKagan from Guns N’ Roses for several months, and then Chris Chaney joined and remains the bassist today.
  • In 2011, the band released their fourth studio album, The Great Escape Artist. The single Irresistible Force reached #9 on the Alternative Songs chart, giving them at least 1 charting song in 4 different decades. The band has performed occasionally since 2014, and Ferrell announced in 2018 that Jane’s Addiction will be part of his “Kind Heaven” project at Caesar’s Hotel in Las Vegas, opening in 2020. We’ll see about that….
  • Jane’s Addiction is a pioneer in alternative metal music. This genre, along with grunge, were defining sounds during the 90s. Many alternative bands of the 90s and beyond consider Jane’s Addiction as the primary influence. As a huge fan of 70s alternative music, I very much enjoy this evolution of the alternative sound. Here’s their hilarious video Been Caught Stealing, which won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Alternative Video in 1991.

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