Jane's Addiction-Up From
the Catacombs: The Best of...
Addiction never quite lived up to the hype when in 1987 Rolling Stone
did a feature on them as one of two upcoming bands to watch become the next
big thing on the record charts and the direction of future music.
fact: the other, long-forgotten band was Philadelphia bar band Tommy Conwell
and the Young Rumblers, who could never be considered a huge success, but
actually did do better from a purely chart perspective, having two near-hit
singles, "If We Never Meet Again" and "I'm Not Your Man."
course, it is silly to ever consider Jane's Addiction a singles band, so
that is an unfair comparison. Only two songs here could even be
considered close to hits; "Been Caught Stealing" and "Jane Says" (the second
of which is here in a live version, not the original studio recording.)
Which is why this new compilation is subtitled The Best of... rather
than Greatest Hits -- you need hits to have greatest hits.
Addiction was an old-fashioned album act, though. Strewn through their
classics Ritual De Lo Habitual and Nothing Shocking there were
some great tunes, like the stomping "Ocean Size," the angry "Pigs In Zen,"
and the surprisingly delicate "Classic Girl."
However, the real reason that Jane's Addiction will be remembered in music
history is for the Lollapalooza festival. It was Farrell's brainstorm,
a day-long music festival mixing bands of all sorts of genres and styles.
The first year it was Jane's Addiction's show, with groups like Jesus and
Mary Chain, the Rollins Band, Living Colour and Ice-T's band Body Count
opening for the host band.
Lollapalooza pretty much jump started the festival tours, but it was also
the end of the band. The band imploded soon afterward, with lead
singer Perry Farrell forming a new group called Porno for Pyros (which
actually had a bigger hit with "Pets" than his original band ever had)
before recording some solo albums no one ever heard. Guitarist Dave
Navarro segued over to the Red Hot Chili Peppers before selling out, doing
reality TV with wife Carmen Electra and Rock Star: Supernova.
Lollapalooza continued as a valid social force for a few years before
fizzling out. The members of Jane's Addiction have occasionally
reformed trying to recapture the old magic, but it never quite ignites.
Jane's Addiction was always a sometimes fascinating, sometimes frustrating mess.
However, if you want to know what the hype was all about, this is as good a
place to start as any. (10/06)