Jane's Addiction: Pioneers of alternative rock and Lollapalooza

Jane's Addiction helped define "alternative rock" better than many other alternative rock bands

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Jane's Addiction is an American alternative rock band that was formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1985. The band's original lineup consisted of Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Eric Avery (bass), and Stephen Perkins (drums).

They are often credited as one of the pioneers of alternative rock and played a significant role in the early 1990s alternative music scene.

Jane's Addiction was formed by Perry Farrell and Eric Avery in 1985, and they gained popularity in the local Los Angeles music scene, known for their energetic and theatrical live performances.

The albums of Jane's Addiction

Nothing's Shocking (1988) was their breakthrough album, featuring iconic tracks like "Mountain Song" and "Jane Says." The album's cover art, featuring nude sculptures devised by Farrell, stirred some controversy and led to some stores refusing to carry the album or conceal the artwork. Ritual de lo Habitual (1990) was another critically acclaimed album, which included the hit singles "Stop!" and "Been Caught Stealing."

The band experimented with a diverse range of musical styles, blending elements of hard rock, punk, funk, and psychedelia. They had many influences, including "The Velvet Underground, Led Zeppelin, Bauhaus, Van Halen and Rush," according to guitarist Dave Navarro. A lot of those elements do show up in their sound, yet it's also accurate to say they don't sound quite like anyone else. More than anything else, that is probably attributable to Farrell's unique voice which, despite occasionally being pitchy to some ears, nevertheless perfectly suits the music and lends the band a bold and attitudinous feel.

Hiatus and reunion(s)

After the release of Ritual de lo Habitual, internal tensions within the band led to a breakup in 1991. Perry Farrell went on to form the alternative rock festival Lollapalooza, which played a crucial role in popularizing the alternative music scene. In 2020, Spin rated the first Lollapalooza as the best concert on a list of "The 35 Greatest Concerts of the Last 35 Years."

Jane's Addiction reunited in the late 1990s, with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers briefly replacing Eric Avery on bass. They released the album Strays in 2003, which featured another single, "Just Because," then broke up again the next year, to reunite again in 2011 for their album The Great Escape Artist.

Comments on overall legacy, solo projects, and themes

Jane's Addiction is often cited as a major influence on the alternative rock and alternative metal genres. Their fusion of various musical styles, Farrell's distinctive vocals, and Navarro's guitar work contributed to their unique sound. Members of Jane's Addiction have been involved in various solo and side projects over the years. Dave Navarro, for example, has been known for his collaborations and work with other bands, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a self-titled album in 1994. AllMusic's Greg Prato described Navarro as "one of alternative rock's first true guitar heroes."

Jane's Addiction has achieved widespread critical acclaim and commercial success. They have received numerous award nominations and accolades throughout their career (including winning "Been Caught Stealing" as Best Alternative Video at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. That song and video even make an appearance in the remake of Cape Fear.

Farrell also gained a reputation for his public controversies related to heroin references in their first album, with band members admitting to using drugs in numerous interviews. In fact, the band's name itself obviously references addiction. At the same time, one needn't use drugs to enjoy the band, and their lyrics ultimately deal with a wide variety of themes. This includes referencing the media spectacle related to serial killer Ted Bundy in the song "Ted, Just Admit It," which also contains the title line "nothing's shocking" (a strange mashup of this song with Diamanda Galas's cover of "I Put a Spell On You" can be heard on the soundtrack to Oliver Stone's controversial film Natural Born Killers, produced by Trent Reznor.

Despite their relatively short-lived initial run, Jane's Addiction's impact on the alternative music landscape has been enduring, and they continue to be remembered as one of the pioneering bands of their era. Farrell called his fans part of the "Alternative Nation" in a 1995 interview with Guitar World. In 2016, they launched the Sterling Spoon Anniversary Tour, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Lollapalooza and Ritual De Lo Habitual.

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