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Music / Jane's Addiction

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Left to right: Navarro, Avery, Perkins, Farrell

Señores y señoras,
nosotros tenemos más influencia con sus hijos que tú tiene,
pero los queremos.
Creado y regado de Los Angeles,
Juana's Addicción!
— Spoken-word intro of "Stop!" Translation 

Jane's Addiction are an extremely influential Alternative Rock band, one of the first from that genre to gain a degree of commercial success and mainstream attention before Nirvana and grunge broke through, and the creators of the Lollapalooza festival in the early 1990s.

The band was formed in 1985 by vocalist Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins. They named themselves after Farrell's roommate Jane Bainter, who was addicted to drugs. They spent some time building up a following by playing various clubs in Los Angeles, attracting record company attention. They signed with Warner (Bros.) Records, but released their first record, the live album Jane's Addiction on an independent label in 1987.

The band went into the studio some time afterwards to record their first album, with Dave Jerden behind the mixing boards. The recording process was difficult, with Farrell quarreling with everybody else over wanting more royalties, and the album's cover depicting two naked female statues on fire got them attention from Moral Guardians. Still, Nothing's Shocking was released in 1988 to critical acclaim and commercial success, showcasing the band's fusion of numerous genres into a specific style (Alternative Metal with Funk and Psychedelic Rock influences), energetic performances and Farrell's unorthodox vocals. Heavy touring followed, solidifying their "rising star" status.

After the conclusion of tours, Jane's Addiction returned to the studio with Dave Jerden as producer once again. By this point, relations between band members had deteriorated so much that they recorded all their parts separately. Ritual de lo Habitual was released in 1990 to even more critical acclaim and commercial success, showing a progress from Shocking: more Epic Rocking was included and more experimentation with genres showed up besides the ever-present psych-funk-metal. The band even scored a hit single thanks to the catchy song about kleptomania "Been Caught Stealing".

The ensuing tour was marred by intra-band conflict (including one on-stage fight between Farrell and Navarro during a show), and after it concluded the band broke up in 1991. Farrell took the time to start the alternative rock festival Lollapalooza in the same year, and JA played at the first festival shortly before breaking up.

The band members went on to various side projects - Farrell and Perkins to Porno for Pyros, Navarro joined the Red Hot Chili Peppers for their derided album One Hot Minute, and Avery formed Banyan - and periodic reunions, one of which resulted in an album of all-new material, Strays. However, none of these reunions included Eric Avery and were generally short-lived. The band finally reunited for good with Avery in 2008, embarking on a tour with Nine Inch Nails. Then Avery left and was replaced on tour with Duff McKagan, of Guns 'N Roses and Velvet Revolver fame. Then McKagan left before they could enter the studio. Dave Sitek of TV On The Radio plays bass on their upcoming album.


Tropes which apply to Jane's Addiction:

  • Album Title Drop: "Ted, Just Admit It..." for Nothing's Shocking.
  • Alternate Album Cover: The original release of Ritual de lo Habitual depicts a painting by frontman Perry Farrell depicting three nude figures — one male and two female — embracing in front of a makeshift shrine. Because some retailers refused to stock items depicting nudity, the band put together a second cover for them consisting solely of the band name, the album title, and the first amendment of the United States constitution against a white backdrop. Likewise, the back cover was changed from a red curtain (referencing the one draped around the nudes on the explicit version of the front cover) to the following blurb:
    Hitler's syphilis-ridden dreams almost came true. How could it happen? By taking control of the media. An entire country was led by a lunatic... We must protect our First Amendment, before sick dreams become law. Nobody made fun of Hitler??!
  • Alternative Metal: One of the key early bands of the genre.
  • The Anti-Nihilist/For Happiness: "Ain't No Right" arguably qualifies as this. With the repeated line "Ain't no wrong, now, ain't no right", one might expect a Straw Nihilist view, but another possible interpretation of the song is that the only useful basis of ethics is centred around doing what makes people happy. (One of the things that makes the singer happy could possibly be masochism, but that's another story... though another possible interpretation is that the song is simply saying that pain is temporary.)
  • Careful with That Axe
  • Cluster F-Bomb/Precision F-Strike: Farrell alternates between the two in their songs. "Ain't No Right" is a rather pertinent example.
  • Concept Album: Side two of Ritual de lo Habitual. (Or sides three and four on more recent vinyl pressings, since the original configuration had thirty-one minutes of music on a single LP side.)
  • Day in the Life: "Jane Says"
  • Disappeared Dad: "Had a Dad".
  • Distinct Double Album: Ritual de lo habitual, though it's not always a double album.note  However, the last four songs are a lot more subdued and downbeat than the first five, plus much more prone to Epic Rocking.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Dave Navarro in the band's early days.
  • Epic Rocking: "Ted, Just Admit It...", "Three Days", "Then She Did...", "Of Course". Ritual de lo habitual has so much of this it practically qualifies as a Progressive Rock album (and if it consisted of just the last four songs, it probably would be considered one).
  • Funk Metal: Among other things...
  • Fun with Acronyms: When they co-headlined a tour with Nine Inch Nails in 2009, it was of course called NINJA.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: The title of Ritual de lo habitual, plus the opening narration of the album. The pronunciation is pretty good, but the grammar has some mistakes (in particular, the conjugation of "tener" for "tú" should be "tienes", and the correct translation of the band name is "La adicción de Juana", or simply "Adicción de Juana". A more correct form of the album title itself would probably be Ritual del habitual; "lo" is mostly used as an object and wouldn't generally be used preceding a noun. The translation of the opening narration, minus grammar mistakes, is something along the lines of "Gentlemen and ladies, we have more influence over your children than you do, but we love them. Created and nurtured in Los Angeles, Jane's Addiction!" The album title, of course, means "Ritual of the habitual".)
  • Green Aesop/Gaia's Lament: "Stop!" seems to describe a flood in its third verse, and it instructs listeners to "turn off that smokestack", amongst other things.
  • Grief Song: Side two of Ritual de lo habitual is dedicated to Farrell's deceased friend whom he referred to as Xiola Blue. "Then She Did..." is the only one that directly addresses her death (apart from the intro to "Three Days"); "Three Days" was actually written before she died (again, apart from the intro), while "Of Course" is simply about his grief itself. "Classic Girl" is placed at the end as a sort of Earn Your Happy Ending in music form. "Then She Did..." also addresses the death of Farrell's mother at age four; he explicitly compares her to Blue and appears to encourage the two of them to meet in the afterlife.
  • Intercourse with You: "Irresistible Force" is about how the big bang was a sexual act, or, in other words, a big bang.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence/Sex Is Violence: Hinted at in "Ted, Just Admit It..." (the title of the latter trope is even the chorus!), though that's not entirely what the song's about...
  • In the Style of - "Jane Says" is a chilled-out faux-Caribbean song, "Of Course" imitates Led Zeppelin's Mideastern phase, "Three Days" and "Then She Did..." are the band's take on Progressive Rock, and so on.
  • Lead Bassist: Eric Avery's bass is probably just as important as Dave Navarro's guitar on most of the songs, to the point where many people just flat-out feel it's not Jane's Addiction without Eric Avery.
  • The Lost Lenore: Xiola Blue.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The catchy funk-rock song about kleptomania, "Been Caught Stealing".
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: "No One's Leaving" protests racism in general and bigotry against interracial relationships in particular. It also explicitly calls the singer's sister's mixed-race son "gorgeous".
  • Missing Mom: "Then She Did..." is mostly about the death of Farrell's friend Xiola Blue at age nineteen, but it also addresses the suicide of his mother when he was four years old.
  • Moral Guardians: Not the band themselves but they did regularly get in trouble with them, especially as a result of their album art.
  • Punny Name: Perry Farrell = "Peripheral".
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Several songs contain autobiographical elements, most famously "Three Days" and "Then She Did..."
  • Sampling / Spoken Word in Music - the Ted Bundy quote of "Ted, Just Admit It..."
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: "My sex and my drugs and my rock'n'roll are my fuckin' own business..."
    • "Three Days" is about a real-life experience involving these, but it has a serious Downer Ending with the next song.
  • The Something Song: "Mountain Song"
  • Stop and Go: Happens twice in "Stop!", appropriately.
  • Subdued Section: "Then She Did...", any of their long songs actually, "Stop!"
  • Take That!: Because it was inevitable that Moral Guardians would object to the nudity on the cover of Ritual de lo Habitual, the band replaced it with the First Amendment of the United States (which forbids government censorship) for the censored version. The back cover noted that part of the reason Hitler was able to consolidate so much power was due to government censorship and encouraged the protection of the First Amendment.
  • Three-Way Sex: "Three Days" is about an experience Farrell and his girlfriend at the time had with a friend of theirs who died young (which is addressed in "Then She Did...").
  • Word Salad Lyrics