Here it is.
Paper: San Diego Union-Tribune, The (CA)
Title: Jane's Addiction stocks shock
Date: November 2, 1990
"Nothing's Shocking," Jane's Addiction insisted in the title of its 1988 album.
Then, the self-defined "alternative rock band" from Los Angeles discovered
Musically mixing thrash and passion with lyrics that touch on the joys of sex
and drugs and rock 'n' roll, Jane's Addiction has created a minor sensation. But
it's the art work on the group's album covers -- and especially that of the
"Shocking" follow-up, the current "Ritual de lo Habitual" -- that has caused
something approaching a major scandal.
With their full-frontal assault of nudity, the covers have caused consternation
among record distributors. And many music outlets have refused to display
"Ritual de lo Habitual," which features a work of fetish art created by (and
depicting) Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell and his girlfriend, Casey
Niccoli, that was inspired by the Santaria religion.
The albums appear designed to provoke, yet Farrell contends they were conceived
with the best intentions.
"It wasn't a matter of intentionally trying to create controversy, but it was
definitely intentional to try to make something that people would be excited to
see or like to see, or it would move them somehow. I don't think there's a point
in putting out something that wouldn't move a person," said Farrell, Jane's
Addiction's composer and unquestioned leader. (On the new album, he is credited
as "Of Course.")
"To me the whole purpose of a cover is to catch a person's eye and draw them in.
I think that was all I was trying to do.
"As far as the people that don't like it, that just comes with the territory. I
wasn't making the record for people that didn't like it; I was making the cover
for people that would like it."
Still, enough people were made uncomfortable by the "Ritual" graphics that
Farrell was persuaded by his generally hands-off record label, Warner Bros., to
come up with an alternate cover -- an artless design that reprints the First
Farrell didn't much mind the second cover, he said, except "that it took me
extra time to come up with the concept of doing it, after I had spent four
months working on the original. It's kind of ironic, though, because the cover
they thought would be censored and would not sell is selling four-to-one over
the First Amendment. And I could have predicted that."
Probably neither Farrell nor Warner Bros. could have predicted the runaway
success of "Ritual de lo Habitual," although the record company clearly has had
expectations for Jane's Addiction -- singer Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro,
bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins -- since it won an intense
bidding war for the group and the rights to put out "Shocking" and "Ritual."
(The new record, the band's third, owes its Spanish language to Farrell's
interest in Hispanic culture -- and notably the cultish, art-conscious Santaria
religion -- and his belief that "it didn't sound that good in English.")
In its first five weeks of release, the new album had already sold, to use
Farrell's ratio, 400,000 copies with the original cover and 100,000 with the
substitute. And as the band opens a two-month North American tour here, it can
rest assured knowing that its first concert at UCSD sold out in 15 minutes, and
tickets to a hastily added second date disappeared just as quickly.
Jane's Addiction's local experience attests not only to its popularity, but also
to the fact that the band's audience is not easy to quantify.
"Well, I don't know who my audience is. There is a big mixture," agreed Farrell,
whose family name is Bernstein and who pronounces his current surname Fuh-rell.
Thanks to the heightened level of media exposure, "You're going to get a wider
base of fans for popular music. It's just the way it is," said Farrell. And, he
added, there's "also the fact that I think that we're not playing music for one
particular division. In other words, we're not a metal band. If anything, we're
an 'alternative rock band,' and that by definition is just so broad that there
really is no definition. ...
"So I think what happens with us is that we get people that like the hard
elements -- maybe refugees from the metal side of things -- and then people that
just like eclectic music are there as well. Also, I think we've got a reputation
as a good live band, from what I hear."
Certainly, Jane's Addiction has definitely gained notoriety as a wild band in
concerts. While the musicians sometimes seem to be thrashing about in search of
an idea, Farrell -- who sometimes goes on stage in a girdle or bloomers or even
a clown suit -- hogs center stage with his predictably unpredictable presence.
"I think that we look for things that are interesting to do," he said. The band
is noted for offbeat shows such as the one last weekend in the Benedict Canyon
area, where Jane's Addiction played at someone's house and "a couple thousand
people" showed up. "If you're going to put out boring things," Farrell noted,
"you're going to get a boring reputation."
Jane's Addiction's anything-but-boring reputation is not lost on its fans, who
go to the band's concerts for a bout of uninhibited fun.
"If anything," Farrell said of the group's shows, "it should be like going out
and being really lit up, that feeling that you're really lit, you're really up
for something. And much more than that I can't say, because not every show is
the same. If I was that premeditated -- you know, I don't have my dance moves
all set up and waiting to go -- then I could tell you more about what I want
them to get out of it.
"But every night is different. On some nights people are flying all over the
place, and it's just beautiful. You know that no one's going to hurt each other
"And then there's other nights where I just want to get off the stage," Farrell
said, because "even though they seemingly love you, they're not listening, and
they're beating up on each other."
The variety of the band's performances, as well as a bit of the chaos, is
reflected in the radically different moods created by the two halves of
"Ritual." The album opens with a sustained rush of energy, then closes, much
more leisurely, with an extended selection of meditative, even pretty music.
"When I was working with the song order, I didn't like the fact that I started
just getting going and then all of a sudden I got stopped by something that was
more heavy," Farrell said.
"Then it became apparent to me that the songs should be set in the order where
if you wanted to be really inspired and get your day going, you wouldn't have to
break the train of thought. That's side one. And when you came home and you
wanted to be, let's say with the one you love, that would be the other side.
"And it's funny, too, because that's the way like when my friends and I are in
the car: At the beginning of the night, when we're taking off to go out, side
one. When we're coming home, we put on side two."
Toombs is a free-lance writer.
Date book What: Jane's Addiction, with 24-7 Spyz When: 8 p.m. today and tomorrow
Where: Price Center Ballroom, UCSD Tickets: Sold out Information: 534-4559 (10
a.m. to 5 p.m.)