Jane’s Addiction has traveled over many roads. From the edgy wilds of the LA stage though the swamps of world fame; from stunning starts to messy breakups, the band that startled a rock public with their major label debut, Nothing’s Shocking, in 1988, rose to gain the affection and attention of fans.
Slow to start, Nothing 's Shocking soon became a classic, critically hailed, and filled with enduring songs. From “Jane Says,” the biographical song about Perry Farrell’s hopelessly drug-addicted roommate with needs far beyond the chemicals that swam through her body, to the big sound of “Mountain Song,” Jane’s Addiction (also named for the same roommate) became hugely influential.
The high energy band was formed in 1985 by Perry Farrell, who brought in guitarist, Dave Navarro; bassist, Eric Avery; and drummer, Stephen Perkins. Before long, their wild performances in LA became legendary. Within a few short years after their formation, and after the release of a live album on indie label Triple X, the band was signed to Warner Brothers Records resulting in the issue of Nothing’s Shocking.
In 1990, the band released their second album, Ritual de lo Habitual, with its multiple covers and massive hit "Been Caught Stealing." One released cover depicted frontal nudity, with another designed to appease stores that would refuse to carry the controversial original, simply replacing the original cover with text that quoted the freedom of speech First Amendment of the US Constitution. Also on the album were “Stop!” and “Three Days.”
With increasing internal strife and Navarro’s heroin addiction, the band would soon break-up after an immense supporting tour for the album. From there, Farrell and Perkins formed the popular Porno For Pyros band, and more firmly establish the enduring Lollapalooza Festival, realized during the band’s final days of their first iteration.
But Jane’s Addiction was a band not to be denied. The band would reform, split again, and reform a third time. They released their third album, Strays, in 2003. On September 27, the band will release their fourth album, The Great Escape Artist. The album, like the announcement of Strays, is highly anticipated. With just three studio albums released over 15 years, and with The Great Escape Artist furthering that span to a period of an unbelievable 23 years, it is amazing the power this band yields in the hearts of their still quite solid fan base.
Time will tell if The Great Escape Artist matches the brilliance of their previous three. So far, the band has been unable to match the intensity of their Nothing's Shocking debut, but I would never doubt Jane's Addiction.