For Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, being on the road with nine inch nails -- for one of the spring's most talked-about tours -- feels nothing less than natural.
It's a relationship that dates back to the late '80s, when Jane's Addiction was a kingpin of the underground/alternative rock world and took a fledgling nin on the road. Farrell also included nin on the bill for his inaugural Lollapalooza traveling festival in 1991.
"So the idea of working with a group that worked with Jane's back in the day and has a similar audience...it works perfectly for us," Farrell explains. "That was why we decided to work with them."
Both bands together on one bill is certainly a rock 'n' roll event -- but so is having Jane's Addiction back on the road at all.
The quartet, founded in 1985 in Los Angeles and responsible for provocative and edgy albums such as "Nothing's Shoking" and "Ritual de lo Habitual" -- as well as radio hits such as "Jane Says" and "Been Caught Stealing -- has had a rough go since that first Lollapalooza tour. Jane's broke up shortly thereafter, and bassist Eric Avery opted out of subsequent reunions in 1997 and a 2001-2004 stint that produced the album "Strays."
This year, however, the group -- including Avery along with Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins -- is back. It reunited first at the NME Awards USA in April of 2008 and played select shows in Los Angeles and at this year's South By Southwest Music + Media Conference before hitting the road with nin. The band also commemorated its resurrection with a box-set compilation, "A Cabinet of Curiosities."
The New York-born Farrell (real name Peretz Bernstein), 50, says he's thrilled to have the band's original lineup finally back together again.
"It was always my first choice to work with Eric, but Eric wasn't ready. I guess he's ready now," explains Farrell who, like the other members of Jane's, has engaged in a variety of projects outside the band (see sidebar XX). "I have many lead singer friends, and they would tell me that even though they've tried to work with other people, it was never better than their original group.
"First of all, the audience doesn't want you broken up or separated. The people that record those songs, whoever they are, that's the chemistry, the eintonation, the resonation...the fingerprint that is that music. You can have a virutoso come in and try to re-pla it, and it's not going to be any better. Those are the people who are best-suited for those songs, period. Those are the people who make the music live again."
Farrell says he's "never discussed" with Avery exactly why he chose to rejoin Jane's Addiction at this point in time. And he acknowledges that despitet he joy of reuniting, the friction that has always existed between the four musicians is still part of the mix. "There's still animosity," Farrell notes, "because, with Eric, it's 18 years built-up. I can't expect things to be perfect overnight.
"It's like a family that argues. We get back together again and we haven't been together for 17 years and it all comes out. If we didn't have issues, it would...be a bore. But that's just how we roll. That's life, how it has to be. The fact we're all getting back together again is a super-positive sign."
The Jane's reunion has already yielded some new music. The group hit the studio earlier this year with nin's Trent Reznor and Alan Moulder producing; it re-recorded a pair of songs, "Chip Away" and "Whores," from Jane's 1987 live album and posted them on the tour web site, www.ninja2009.com.
Jane's also recorded a pair of brand new songs -- a "festival anthem" called "Embrace the Darkness" and another tune called "I'll Protect You" -- that Farrell "can't wait for people to hear," although the band hasn't reached consensus on putting them out.
"I'll be honest with you -- we started to record and things got kind of ugly," Farrell says with a laugh. "(Recording) is, like, the last hurdle for us. It's one of those things where the head-butting really came out when we tried to write.
"It might be fear; maybe people (in the band) are fearful people are gonna hear it and think it's not as great as the old Jane's Addiction. I don't worry about that, but...I'm very patient."
Jane's has more shows booked for Europe and Australia before returning home again to play Lollapalooza 2009 during the first weekend of August in Chicago's Grant Park. Farrell isn't hazarding any guesses about what the future holds, but he's cautiously optimistic we'll hear more from it down the road.
"I'm always there for Jane's," he says. "But we all have other projects and other musical adventures we love to pursue. For me the key is to be diversified, musically...and I'd like to have Jane's always there to go to. We have a lot of musical currency with Jane's and, I think, a lot more great work we can do with the band -- if we let ourselves.
"We'll just have to wait and see."
BEEN CAUGHT STEALING...
What the members of Jane's Addiction have been doing between the group's periodic reunions:
Perry Farrell (vocals): Porno For Pyros, Lollapalooza, Satellite Party, solo albums
Dave Navarro (guitar): Red Hot Chili Peppers, Deconstruction, the Panic Channel, Camp Freddy, Carmen Electra (married 2003-2006), "Broken" (adult movie), solo albums, "Spread Entertainment" (TV show), "Rock Star: INXS" and "Rock Star: Supernova" (reality TV shows)
Eric Avery (bass): Deconstruction, Alanis Morissette, Polar Bear, Garbage, solo album
Stephen Perkins (drums): Porno For Pyros, Banyan, the Panic Channel, Infectious Grooves, Methods of Mayhem, Mike Watt, nine inch nails
Jane's Addiction, nine inch nails and Street Sweeper Social Club perform at 6:30 p.m. Sunday (May 31) at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Ticktes are $65 adn $45 pavilion, $25 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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