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Music

Jane's Addiction: still f***ing with you after 27 years

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Perkins, Farrell, and Navarro in 2012 — anything but "normal."


Jane's Addiction is credited as being the granddaddies of the Alternative Nation, and for good reason. Nothing's Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual are classic albums that still sound better than most of the stuff that's out there today. With the recent release of The Great Escape Artist, the band has embarked on the Theatre of the Escapists tour. Original drummer Stephen Perkins gave us a little insight on how Jane's Addiction has kept going for 27 years.

The band has been around since '85. Do you still feel like the same guys that started playing clubs in L.A.?

In 1985 I was just out of high school, 17 years old, and my life experiences and all the music that I was inspired by … well, there was a small pool, a very shallow pool of what I could pull from to put into my music, you know? And I think the real expression of art and music is to take what's really happening in your life, and let it come out and let it flow. So, the philosophy is still there, you know, the theory that we're still a punk-rock art project. We play "Mountain Song" over, and over, and over, and it was written in '85. So how do you make it feel fresh? When we get together it is Jane's Addiction, the chemicals and the chemistry happen, you can't stop it. If I make a record without Dave and Perry, it doesn't sound like Jane's, and the same goes for them if they make records without me. It's a true, original, urgent sound. It's a sound that, you know … we don't have to be dangerous-sounding to be a dangerous band.

Tell me about The Great Escape Artist.

When I listen to the new record, I can hear "Irresistible Force" and I can hear a flavor of the old days, but that's nothing we could have written back in the old days. We had to go through everything we have been through to get to that point, but it still sounds like us. There's a punch, there's a lot of testosterone, but it's not violent — it's sexual. Like I say: it's like fucking, it really is a sexual-sounding band. And if we can really put our fingers on how we do it, it would be a great formula. But we have changed, of course, in how we approach our music and our instruments and the technology today in the studio. Yeah, we're the same guys, we want to explore and we want to throw a wrench in it. As soon as it sounds normal, let's fuck it up.

How does the band decide what goes on the album?

Those decisions are tough. If I want the sky gray, and Navarro wants it blue, what do we do? Thank God we can talk it out. That's really the charm of being together for 25 years.

The new tour is being billed as an underground orgy. What can we expect?

Well, my inspiration is Stanley Kubrick movies. You know, Eyes Wide Shut, there's a sexuality, and there's a mystery to it all. And you're not even sure what the fuck you're feeling or watching when you see that movie. That's kind of how I feel the show should be. You're not even sure what's going on, if it's reality, if it's supposed to happen, if it's planned that way. But there is a sense that if we kind of repeat ourselves every night, it's a bore. So we want to get out there and involve the audience. We really want that feeling that you're there and you're seeing something that's never been seen before. Because we're not even sure what's going to happen. We really do like to feel our way through the show and not being repetitive.

Was "Three Days" [from Ritual de lo Habitual] really one take? I've always wanted to know.

That is actually one take in the studio. Most of that record is all about one take. We were so tight on stage. All we had to do was put microphones up and record. "Three Days" and most of Ritual was one take with a little postproduction magic. That's what I love about Jane's Addiction, and it's tough to find in new music. The bands don't take the time to fucking work it out, but we worked everything out before we got to the studio that day. And you can hear that in the performance. You can hear the danger and the urgent sound. •

Jane's Addiction's Theatre of the Escapists Tour feat. The Duke Spirit

$54-$70
8:30pm Mon, May 7
Lila Cockrell Theater.
200 E Market
(210) 207-8500
ticketmaster.com

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