Friday, August 23, 2013

nothing's shocking

Jane's Addiction sent shock waves through the music industry and defined alternative with the unique blend of glam, goth, punk, metal, reggae, funk, and swing on this controversial underground classic.  Perry Farrell started the band with Eric Avery after goth outfit Psi Com fell apart.  Avery brought in his sister's boyfriend Stephen Perkins and then their friend Dave Navarro to complete the lineup.  They called themselves Jane's Addiction after Farrell's housemate Jane Bainter and proceeded to shake up the music scene in Los Angeles.  A bidding war between several record labels led to a deal with Warner Brothers Records and a huge quarter of a million dollar signing bonus; but the band insisted on releasing their live eponymous debut on independent Triple X Records before going into the studio to make their major label debut.  

Farrell remembers:     “It was the easiest thing.  It just happened.  I don’t know what it was and I couldn’t tell anybody what it was if I wanted to.  People just dug it and the record companies saw it and wanted to make money with it, and we just got our choice of record companies.  We got enough money to make a record that we wanted to make without having to run out of dough and call it quits.  We used all the money that they gave us to record they album.  It is important not only for us, but for a lot of people behind us.  We started with the idea that we wanted to be an indie band; and we could have remained an indie band.  It wasn’t so much the money, it was the organization that Warner Brothers has.  They are just as cool as some of the indies – even cooler in a lot of ways.  It’s just that they’re more organized and we’re not getting ripped off.  I mean, who suffers but the band for a label’s mistakes?  Time and time again, they don’t have enough money and the band immediately suffers because of it.  It’s either make up your own label and live on a small budget or move to one that’s organized, honest, and most importantly, artist oriented...The whole thing is I don’t really want people to know that much about me.  It’s hard to do interviews because… well, they’re important to me, but I think it’s almost like repeating yourself – to be a musician and then do an interview.  We’re saying what we want to have said in our music.  That’s the kind of band we are.  If one doesn’t enjoy being obvious, one becomes a musician to not be so obvious.  I can still relate to the questions, but people want me to be obvious in interviews.  That is why I don’t enjoy it.  It’s like repeating what has already been said in a subtle way.  The interviewer says, ‘well… tell me that again, but in a real obvious way,’ and so I say, ‘man, I’ve tried hard my whole live not to be obvious.”

'Nothing's Shocking' was produced by Dave Jerden and Perry Farrell at Eldorado Studios in Los Angeles.  The sessions featured Eric Avery on bass and acoustic guitars; Perry Farrell on vocals and piano; Dave Navarro on electric and acoustic guitars; and Stephen Perkins on drums and percussion;  with Angelo Moore on saxophone; Flea on trumpet; and Christopher Dowd on trombone.  

Navarro reveals the collaborative process that produced the songs:    "Some came from Eric's bass lines, some from guitar, some came from Perry, some came from drum riffs, and some just came from free-form jams. There was really no formula ... I was born in L.A. and so was Stephen. And Perry is a transplant but he brought the New York edge to our collective group here...but I don't really have any other frame of reference, so when people say that about us I agree but I have no sense of what it's like to be from another city. When I hear 'L.A. bands' I think of the Doors, and you know I definitely see some parallels between us and the Doors. I mean, you've got a great collection of musicians and an enigmatic poet that's a captivating showman up front...I would say that we are certainly one of the "go-to" L.A. bands."

'Nothing's Shocking'  only made it to number one hundred and three on the Billboard 200 album chart; due in no small part to the fact that most retail outlets refused to carry the album because of its provocative artwork:  Farrell had designed for the album cover a sculpture of nude female conjoined twins with their heads on fire.  'Nothing's Shocking' only sold two hundred thousand copies in its first year; but went on to sell more than a million.  The album was a huge influence on the next wave of alternative bands.

Mountain Song

Jane Says

'Nothing's Shocking' 

full album:

1. Up the Beach 0:00
2. Ocean Size 3:01
3. Had a Dad 7:21
4. Ted, Just Admit It... 11:06
5. Standing in the Shower... Thinking 18:28
6. Summertime Rolls 21:33
7. Mountain Song 27:53
8. Idiots Rule 31:56
9. Jane Says 34:57
10. Thank You Boys 39:48
11. Pigs in Zen 40:54

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