Jane's Addiction "Irresistible Force"
Perry Farrell says it's a lot better touring with Jane's Addiction now than it was when the band was new.
"In the early days we had a lot of things going against us," says Farrell. " We had bad attitudes. We were on the road too long. Of course, being as heavily intoxicated as we were people didn't feel very good. We were often times miserable. But this time through we don't let people push us around too much. We do two shows and then take a break and go back and do two more shows and take a break. We look at it more like a professional athletic team rather than we do a rock 'n' roll band. As a result, my mental health is better. My physical health is better. And I am able to appreciate the places that I go to more."
Now instead of hiding out in hotel rooms in a state of inebriation or hung over in the towns where Jane's Addiction performs, Farrell takes to the streets for lunch, talks with people and shops for antiques and old photographs.
"I'm usually in a shopping district, watching the people walking by and holding hands, and I really love it."
Jane's Addiction formed in 1985 in Los Angeles when Farrell, who was in the band Psi-com, met bassist Eric Avery and decided to form a new band. The two named the group after a friend who was addicted to drugs and began recruiting members for the guitar and drum positions in the band. Drummer Stephen Perkins and guitarist Dave Navarro were the two who settled in for the long haul.
The group caught on in the Los Angeles area and released the debut album "Nothing's Shocking" on Warner Bros. Records in 1988. The band won immediate critical acclaim and controversy. The album's cover was a body-cast sculpture of Farrell's then-girlfriend as naked conjoined twins with their hair on fire. Many stores refused to carry the album and others sold it in a brown paper wrapper. The band's first video (for the track "Mountain Song") was nixed by MTV for nudity. The group's second album, "Ritual de lo Habitual" (1990) landed the single "Been Caught Stealing" on MTV, but, again, a Farrell sculpture on the album cover caused controversy and a plain second cover was created for stores that refused to carry the regular version of the album.
In 1991, Farrell co-founded the Lollapalooza Festival, which traveled around the United States with Jane's Addiction as one of the headliners. At the end of the tour, the group broke up and has undergone a series of reunions and break-ups ever since. The band released the album "The Great Escape Artist" in 2011 and all the group but Avery reunited for the current tour. Tom Cheney, who has been part of the group several times over the years, is the current bassist.
The members have all had projects outside of outside of Jane's Addiction. Navarro has released solo albums and became a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers as well as working on television. Perkins and Farrell formed The Panic Channel and Perkins is part of the band Banyan. Farrell and Perkins formed Porno for Pyros. And Farrell also has the band Satellite Party as well as a DJ project and has released solo discs. He's also working with an immersive theater company called Sleep No More.
Perry says the most important things he's learned haven't had to do with art and music.
"When you talk about evolving as a man, not as a musician, what has become really important to me in my life is to become a great father, a great husband, a great family man. Those are ambitions I never had as a younger fella. But I think that they're healthy for a guy. You will come to find that if you take on those ambitions and look to become a great father and family man and husband that your life becomes enriched. Children are a pain in the (butt), let's be honest. I question why I had them from time to time. But it's because I am now able to love something above and beyond myself. The act of giving love and reciprocating love is something that you get with children and a wife and family. Those things you don't know. You only get to experience them once you were in that realm of fatherhood. You wake up and you think, 'Oh, man. They are kicking the (expletive) out of me. They are taking up my time! Why did I have them?' The reason is you love them so much and you get to shed love on somebody else other than yourself. That's what I told myself this morning."
Perry pauses when asked what his legacy will be.
"I know that people will say that I had some really good songs, but I also know that people will say I threw some really great parties. That is a legacy in the making, I suppose, my friend."
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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