1. Overview Bio
Great bands break rules, but legends write their own. JANE'S ADDICTION have actually written the rule book for alternative music and culture through a combination of genre-defying classic songs and a cinematic live experience. Their songs serve as the Ten Commandments for alt rock, inspiring an entire generation of bands such as Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam and Tool. When the Los Angeles quartet came along, they merged alternative and rock like no one before, becoming the first alternative rock band, creating a new sound and attitude.
Perry Farrell stands out as one of music's most forward-thinking and enigmatic frontmen, and his vocals soar with vibrancy, vulnerability and vitality. Guitar god Dave Navarro conjures simultaneously psychedelic and epic riffs. Stephen Perkins' tribal stomp remains hypnotic and transfixing. In 2010, Jane's Addiction began writing and recording a new album--The Great Escape Artist--for release on Capitol in October 2011, to be supported with a worldwide tour. The band and producer Rich Costey (Muse, Franz Ferdinand, Interpol) added TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek to the creative team. Sitek, best known for his production work on TV on the Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Foals, is writing and playing bass on the new album.
The addition of Sitek writing music with Navarro and Perkins pointed the record in a decidedly alternative direction. Farrell's melodies and lyrics completed the picture, the results of which created a more natural progression of Jane's music from their inception as the creators of alternative rock as they now step into 2011 with a very modern-sounding record that somehow magically still harkens back to the original vibe of the group.
Taking a more musical approach, the members switched off on instruments and stretched out a bit, as Navarro played some bass, Sitek played some guitar, and Perkins experimented with several new percussion instruments. The group even brought in long time touring member and session player extraordinaire, Chris Chaney, to play additional bass.
To further the experimentation, Jane's Addiction enlisted the help of the Masters Musicians of Joujouka, originally discovered by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones in the late 60's, to create the lush but bizarre background to their first released track from the new set called "End to the Lies." The Master Musicians of Joujouka recorded their parts in the wilds ofMorocco.
"End to the Lies" was leaked in April 2011 on Chilean radio when Jane's Addiction headlined Lollapalooza Chile in Santiago at the first official Lollapalooza staged outside the United States. A final mix of the initial song was released online a month later along with a striking video directed by Alex Bulkley from Robot Chicken fame.
The group's first single "Irresistible Force" is a cosmic love story. According to Rolling Stone, the song "...comes on like an art-metal freak show set on some distant planet." Spin Magazine went further on to say "...frontman Perry Farrell and guitarist Dave Navarro both put in stunning performances...It sounds like a band revitalized."
Acclaimed for their swirling sonic symphony and unique studio alchemy, Jane's Addiction have sold over seven million records in theU.S.alone. They've also garnered Grammy nominations and spearheaded the movement of modern American festival culture by launching and headlining Lollapalooza. Even during dormant periods, their classic songs pulsated through rock radio constantly and their influence resounded through countless acts.
Jane's Addiction laid the foundation for their legacy in Los Angeles. There probably isn't a more appropriate birthing ground for music this unique. In 1985, Farrell met the band's original bassist Eric Avery, and they immediately connected over a shared musical perspective wanting to shake things up. They'd only hone that perspective further with the addition of Perkins. Everything fell into place once Perkins suggested Navarro, and the first incarnation of the band was solidified. Headlining various local venues and becoming a veritable phenomenon in the L.A.club scene, Jane's Addiction garnered the attention of numerous major labels. Even though they'd officially sign with Warner Bros. in 1986, the band chose to release their live debut, Jane's Addiction, via indie label Triple X Records in 1987, keeping a D.I.Y. attitude that'd define their career. Recorded live at The Roxy, the album stirred up national interest, introducing their one-of-a-kind style to the world at large.
In 1988, Jane's Addiction would officially arrive as a pop culture force with their first proper studio album, Nothing's Shocking. The band created a sound that the world had never heard before. It was as riff heavy as it was sensitive. Farrell lyrically chronicled the stranger side of L.A. life, telling personal tales that'd stick with fans just as much as Navarro's licks did. The characters that populate tracks like debut single "Jane Says," "Ted, Just Admit It..." and "Had a Dad" were just as alive as the music itself. Farrell examined sex, violence, love, drugs and so much more with Marquis de Sade-style wit and Andy Warhol-esque vision. It's easy to wonder who those songs are about, and if those people are all out there somewhere on the fringes. The album artwork, a naked sculpture of Farrell's girlfriend at the time, and the video for "Mountain Song" both were widely banned. However, Nothing's Shocking was "alternative" in the purest sense of the word. Jane's Addiction live for their art and nothing else. Trademark song "Jane Says" charged up the Alternative Songs chart and the album was certified platinum, also grabbing a Grammy nod in 1989 for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, and audiences everywhere fell under Jane's spell.
For their second studio album, 1990's Ritual de lo Habitual, the band went further down the rabbit hole musically. Fully embracing their psychedelic and progressive side, tracks like "Three Days" and "Then She Did..." exceeded the eight-minute mark, becoming elegant aural tapestries with mystique a la Led Zeppelin. The album reached 3x-platinum in the U.S with two #1 singles "Stop!" and "Been Caught Stealing," the latter of which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance.
It was almost as if the band's chemistry bubbled too much, and they needed a break at this point. In 1991, for the Jane's Addiction "farewell" tour, Farrell concocted Lollapalooza. His visionary idea brought alternative nations together like never before, and the touring festival ran annually until 1997. After the first Lollapalooza, Jane's Addiction went on hiatus, but they never truly went away. The band embarked on 1997's highly successful Relapse Tour with Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass, supporting their inclusion on the Private Parts soundtrack. A gold-selling compilation, Kettle Whistle, also hit shelves that year.
The world needed Jane's Addiction in 2003 just as much as it did in 1985, and the band released Strays, their first new album in 13 years. After debuting at #4 on the Billboard chart, the album quickly reached gold status, and first single "Just Because" was their biggest single to date landing at #1. Jane's Addiction was once again everywhere with "Superhero" becoming the opening theme song for HBO's hit show "Entourage" at the same time. The band headlined the re-tooled Lollapalooza festival that summer.
After taking a break in 2004, the band reunited in 2008 for a fiery performance at the first-ever USANME Awards. Instantly, they began channeling the same mystic energy that fueled them on their earliest tours and they wanted to share it with the world. The best way to do that was by hitting the road on one of the most successful tours of 2009, NIN/JA with Nine Inch Nails. Not only did it hearken back to the band's first tour together, but NIN/JA illuminated Jane's Addiction firing on all cylinders with their biggest and most visually stunning stage production yet as well as flawless playing. Given the success of the tour, new music was a must, and The Great Escape Artist is a triumph for Jane's Addiction.
'THE GREAT ESCAPE ARTIST'
The underbelly ofLos Angelesis a carnival of freaks, hustlers, miscreants, and street corner visionaries of all kinds.
Below the glistening veneer ofHollywood's lights lies a counter culture driven by escapism. Whether it's via carnal, mental, physical, chemical, or aural pleasures, the denizens of this quirky court thrive on escape. They hunger for it. They endlessly seek it. They intrinsically need it.
Jane's Addiction's fourth album, The Great Escape Artist, could only have been born within this realm. Spun through a kaleidoscope of tightly wound riffs, hypnotic harmonies, booming beats, and an unmistakable howl, the record announces the beginning of the next chapter for the alternative rock torchbearers.
Jane's Addiction; Perry Farrell (Vocals) Dave Navarro (Guitars), and Stephen Perkins (Drums) began working on what would become The Great Escape Artist in 2010. After a highly successful summer tour with Nine Inch Nails, the group had tapped into a majestic chemistry, and they wanted to harness it on their first collection of studio material since 2003's Strays.
Perkins summed up the fire burning at the heart of The Great Escape Artist, "There's a great momentum that's building in the band," he told AOL's Spinner, "and the positive energy of making new music and being proud of it."
The process behind the tunes began in early 2011 when the band entered aLos Angelesstudio with producer Rich Costey. Their intent was to travel a different road, and consequentially they paved an entirely new path for alternative music at large.
At Costey's suggestion, Farrell and Navarro took a meeting with TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek in order to possibly collaborate. The three clicked instantly, and Sitek stepped into the role of a songwriter and a bass player for the album as Costey, Navarro, and touring bassist Chris Chaney would also share four-string duties.
Sitek helped the band evolve their alchemy, expanding the sound even more. Farrell described Sitek's distillation of electronic textures, bombastic rock, and crazed punk to Rolling Stone declaring, "He's like a scientist, and he's not afraid of making a monster."
Now, that monster is something of a multi-headed musical hydra. On the album, "Twisted Tales" emerges from a haze of orchestral electronics and intriguing, infectious fretwork. A dystopian lyrical picture comes into focus as Farrell sings, "I had no mother, no trust, under the stars is where I would eat." There's a cinematic intensity to the frontman's storytelling that reverberates throughout the tune, especially as Navarro's acoustic guitar floats alongside it during the bridge. Elsewhere on "Underground," the singer asserts, "I'm a hustler. I'll never give up the underground."
That underground still heavily figures into the mythos surrounding the music. Well, it was that "underground" that spawned Jane's Addiction in the first place. They rose up out of it because of their unwillingness to compromise and adhere to the zeitgeist. Jane's Addiction opened up the gateway to The Great Escape Artist in a unique fashion on the first single, "End to the Lies."
The song slides from an elegantly entrancing exorcism of distortion into Farrell's transcendent croon about "a composite of assholes" he knows. In order to conjure the otherworldly sounds of "End To The Lies," the band collaborated with The Master Musicians of Joujouka. Hailing from the village of Jajouka near Ksar-el-Kebir in the Ahl Srif mountain range of the southern Rif Mountains in northern Morocco, they are Sufi trance musicians who use reed, pipe and percussion to create drones and complex rhythms unique to Joujouka. The musicians are known for their connections with the Beat Generation and Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones, who recorded them in 1968 for an album that was released in 1971, Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka.
Even with the experimentation, it's still classic Jane's Addiction. About the song, Navarro reveals, "The band hails fromLos Angeles. We come from the street. I think the combination of angst, the street element, the artistic element, and the love of sexuality and sensuality fuse together. It's pretty much what this band has been about since day one."
However, this time around, they transmute those stylistic and sonic hallmarks into a cavalcade of warm psychedelic synths and effects wizardry. The music nods to the movements of modern alternative rather than clinging to classic conventions. In the late '80s, the band bent the blueprint of rock to its whim. Now, they're laying the framework for another phase altogether. "We wanted to cast a spell," smiles Farrell.
That spell takes hold tight on "Irresistible Force." Sparse soundscapes drop into calculated percussive chaos as ominous keyboards entwine with a screeching lead. "I'll Hit You Back" punches with a punky intensity before spiraling off into another ethereal lead. Then the epic six-minute ballad "Splash a Little Water On It" glides across distorted darkness before breaking into another dreamy deluge of electronics and organics. Employing a powerful acoustic tone, "Broken People" is a heartbreaking sonic chronicle of celebrity meltdowns%u2014you can practically feel the cracks forming on the line, "She's really a good girl from a good family." Nothing is what you would expect, and that's exactly what will bring you back to The Great Escape Artist.
"The music that I listen to and love isn't necessarily rock-oriented anymore," Navarro explicated to Rolling Stone. "There is a beauty in simplicity that I'm really embracing. To me, that's evolution as an artist."
There's also a palpable excitement that comes along with progression, which Perkins echoed to Spinner, "There is something kind of inspiring about it because this band does feel fresh again."
"Fresh" doesn't even begin to describe it though. This is another level for Jane's Addiction, and they're opening doors for curious artists to follow just like they did nearly thirty years ago. Farrell concludes, "I love being able to escape my past even though my past was great. I just love the future even more."
The Great Escape Artist isn't simply the future for Jane's Addiction. It's the future of alternative.
Are you ready to escape?