JANE'S ADDICTION — Jane's Addiction (review)

JANE'S ADDICTION — Jane's Addiction album cover Live album · 1987 · Heavy Alternative Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
JANE’S ADDICTION is considered one of the key instrumental bands that brought the heavy alternative rock music out of the underground and into the limelight during the 1990s when it ruled with a vengeance. Although the 1980s Los Angeles scene was primarily associated with the glam metal scene, this band that consisted of Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Eric Avery (bass) and Stephen Perskins (drums) was the result of rising from the ashes of Farrell’s previous band Psi Com.

Farrell met Avery and kindled a musical relationship based on a an appreciation of Joy Division and The Velvet Underground and wanted to create a heavier band that implemented the energy of the 80s metal scene with the darker themes of post-punk and the grittier sounds of the underground scenes. The result was JANE’S ADDICTION which was a tribute to Farrell’s old housemate Jane Bainter who had suffered a heroin addiction. Unlike the glam metal bands that sang about good times, JANE’S ADDICTION lamented the less appealing aspects of reality.

This band’s initial run only lasted seven years and disbanded just as the band was perched to become the hottest ticket in the alternative 90s. It’s rather strange that JANE’S ADDICTION released its self-titled debut album in the form of a live EP. At 40 minutes long this eponymous release was as long as their two official studio albums but was completely recorded live at the Roxy Theatre in LA on January 26, 1987 with a few addition overdubs added the next day. While not the band’s crowning achievement, this self-titled debut is very much of interest as it features four songs, "Trip Away," "1%," "I Would For You," and "My Time" which were never rerecorded and included on the two studio albums.

Two of the tracks, “Pigs In Zen” and “Jane Says” were rerecorded and included on the first studio album “Nothing’s Shocking” and although they are far better in their second coming, these alternative versions are actually pretty good too. This live EP also includes two cover tunes including “Rock & Roll” from The Velvet Underground and “Sympathy,” originally titled “Sympathy For The Devil” from The Rolling Stones. The track “Slow Divers” was also recorded for this album but left off for time space purposes. It would later be included on the compilation “Kettle Whistle.”

While this album showcases the core elements that made JANE’S ADDICTION so unique such as Farrell’s distinct vocal style that was always slightly off key and the catchy sing-along song style that made them so popular a few short years later, this EP doesn’t display the band firing on all pistons yet. While the two studio albums showcase the band in extreme heavy rock mode with sizzling guitar solos, bantering bass and psychedelic production tricks, this live EP simply shows the band stripped down bare for all to see with songs that are often a bit on the mellower side. Yeah the rather ridiculous album cover art may be a turn off and this is certainly not the place to start if checking out the band for the very first time but for fans who wanted more JANE’S ADDICTION than the two studio albums had to offer, this is a not a bad release at all especially for the tracks that appear nowhere else.
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