Friday, August 3, 2012

coming down the mountain

A good record, a so-so record, a few odd-and-sods, an awful side project, a non-sucky side project, and two lukewarm comeback records, Jane's Addiction is no candidate for Greatest Band in the World, but damn if much of Nothing's Shocking isn't feeling strangely relevant right now, in part because Farrell isn't being nearly as OMG-So-Edgy as he was on Ritual. With the general culture war absurdity and tribal posturing on both sides, I think I know what I'll be listening to when I get home tonight.
 You know that man you hate? You look more like him every day everyday...

I got into Jane's Addiction slightly later in life, if only because the rock and roll radio in Clevelandia was dominated by nu-metal and I knew that the gratuitous nudity of the cover art would not pass muster with the folks, not to mention some of the lyrical content. Not a whole lot of redeeming social value to be found here.

When we want something and we don't wanna pay for it... 
 My pastor when I lived in Kent was a huge Jane's fan, and we used to jam on these and U2 and Alice in Chains after practicing the music for church, and he dressed up as Perry Farrell for Halloween once when he was in college. The first night I played music with him, I was playing bass at the time and started noodling around with opening lines from this song.
We moved into a new building the last year I was living down there, taking over the space from the local fundie cult that would frequently harass the campus Westboro-lite with tracts strewn in the bibliotheque's queer studies section and signs about Impending Doom. They'd also show up on Sunday nights and tell us all we were going to hell, no doubt due to our college aspirations, piercings, tattoos, and heathen rock and roll music. Murals were painted in the new space, and we listened to Alice's MTV Unplugged, Paul's Boutique, and the Rev comp while making the area look good.
I shouldn't like it as much as I do, because it's bloated and somewhat ridiculous. Perry Farrell's a consummate businessman as it is, with a voice of an exuberant little kid spinning twisted tales of drugs and deviance and general weirdness, and I still ask God why Dave Navarro's still alive and Layne Staley is dead, because dude might be the Vainest Man Alive and is still prettier than me despite doing heroin for awhile.

 hum hum along with me, hum along with the TV...
But those jazzy chords at the beginning and the non-stop energy, that guitar solo so over the top yet perfect in context, the way it ends so fast, grabbed me the first time I heard this. It sounded infinitely more vital than anything else pulsating through the airwaves at the time even though this was almost a decade after when it came out. I put this on the jukebox at a somewhat twee-ish indie rock show at the Grog Shop and watched everyone look really confused like what is this guitar playing what the hell?
Such a classic girl, gives her man a great idea
Hears you tell your friends,
"Hey man, why don't you listen to my great idea!"

Oh yeah, how often has that happened? I lived with a guy that summer in a house that felt like The Real World since none of us really knew each other, and there were the two crazy girls, and the frat guy and his on-and-off-again girlfriend. Dan cooked for me every night, stayed up all night playing video games, we listened to a lot of Elastica, Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction and Kyuss and hung out on the porch. It was an extremely hot summer with no air conditioning and no fans. I remember laying in bed listening to 'Ocean Size' drowning out the Kenny Chesney and Ludacris that my neighbors preferred. 
Wish I was ocean size, they cannot move you, man, no one tries

My roommates the next year weren't into this kind of thing, so I'd listen to Nothing's Shocking when I was home alone painting. Having been raised on grunge and the heavier strains of classic rock, I'm not averse to rock star excess if the tunes are good, and this one is just sublime.

They're playing a few days from now, and I probably won't go unless someone scores fantastically cheap tickets but if Randal's got King Diamond for his camp, I've got this...


  1. First, let's get a couple of things straight: you're much prettier than Dave Navarro and there's nothing campy about helping grandma out of her chair.

    Second, I remember Been Caught Stealing being beyond ubiquitous, thus annoying, especially being much more of a hesher purist than I am now. Avoided them like the Black Death, but spray painting fire hydrants for Parmastan back in '91, I got paired with a former classmate and future art school kid (heh) who insisted on me giving them a chance.

    Ritual was okay I guess, but Nothing's Shocking turned out to be a pretty damn good record. Maybe because it was less seemingly-forced arty and more power chordy?

    1. Randal, whatever makes you feel better. Yeah, that tune's a bit too jaunty for your tastes, but at least your Reflective Powers kicked in. Nothing's Shocking is way better than Ritual, thanks to general rocking out rather than trying way too hard to be weird. I still can't figure out if Perry's that legitimately strange or just a really good actor. Kind of like certain pundits or something.

    2. Maybe because it was less seemingly-forced arty and more power chordy?

      I know where R.G. is coming from. It's got to go to eleven, danggit!



    1. The Fart History museum in D.C. is not to be missed.