Where do we even begin with Jane’s Addiction? Thanking them for their decades of contributions to defining the sound of alternative rock music is probably the best place to start. Selling over seven million records in the U.S. alone, garnering Grammy nominations and launching and headlining the music festival, Lollapalooza, Jane’s Addiction are legends in the music world.

Forming in Los Angeles, California in 1985, Jane’s Addiction consisted of vocalist, Perry Farrell, guitarist, Dave Navarro, bassist, Eric Avery and drummer, Stephen Perkins. Since the 80s, the group released three studio albums, Nothing’s Shocking in 1988, Ritual de lo Habitual in 1990 and Strays in 2003. Despite now and then “break ups”, the members of Jane’s Addiction found a way back to each other to create music. Well, for the most part. In 2010, before Jane’s Addiction went into the studio to work on their long awaited fourth studio album, The Great Escape Artist, Avery left the group.

Down one of its original members, Jane’s Addiction shows no signs of weakness with their single tracks, “End To The Lies” and “Irresistible Force”, which are off of their upcoming album due out on September 27th via Capitol Records. The gravity of our Jane’s Addiction addiction is making the release date feel even further away. Our recent chat with the group’s drummer, Stephen Perkins, helped ease our urge and now we hope it can do the same for you, Shockya readers.

So, check out our interview below with the iconic, Mr. Perkins, as we discuss the dynamic energy between the trio, the impact of technology on the group and the meaning of The Great Escape Artist and the track, “End To The Lies”.

You guys have taken two breaks and several between making albums. What constantly draws you guys back towards each other to make new music?

Well, when it’s not working and we aren’t friends that’s when we break up. We want to feel authentic and that we aren’t just looking for the money or just because we signed a contract. So when we are friends and it feels right, there really isn’t anything better. It just feels like we are meant to be. You know? It’s like girlfriend and boyfriend in a hot relationship and we are smart enough when it’s not working, not to try to and make it work and hate each other. When it is working, it’s undeniable on stage how it feels.

In a room working on new music, you have to get inside a very comfortable spot and inside each other’s brains. It was really easy back in the day and now that we can get to that spot again, pick each other’s brains and lean on each other musically or for conversation about music, that creates an environment for us to do it again. Who knows how long it will last? Let’s be honest. You know what I mean? Let’s just make good music and do the best shows. We know it’s authentic again and we can do it with pride. There’s a feeling to me that on stage, it is undeniable and easy. It’s really when it comes to making a record and working in a quiet environment without a crowd there cheering you on, that’s what is really going to test the waters, if this is going to happen. So that’s where I can see if people aren’t up for the commitment or they think it is too much to chew to do right. Or you got to chew until you can f**king digest it and really make it good, which can take awhile and that’s what we did. We took our time to make sure it was right.

You guys are releasing your fourth studio album in September. How different is it releasing an album now with modern technology, especially the Internet, than it was in the 80s with Nothing’s Shocking?

The recording process is way different obviously. You don’t all have to be in the room and you don’t only get one live performance. Now, you can be in New York, the drummer can be in Jamaica and the singer can be in Beverly Hills and you can actually record. So all that goes into the making of the music. People’s ears, since the late 70s, are really kind of pushing towards the electric drum world, so growing up, I was listening to a lot of live drummers and now there’s a lot of drums I listen to that are made by machines. So all of that really goes into the sound of the music and how I play my instrument.

From that point, of course, you are talking about how to promote the record and sell the record. You don’t even have to worry about selling records anymore. There are no stores. It’s a song by song situation and it’s changing every hour in a way. People are coming up with new ways to count the songs and making sure artists get paid and the other people are making sure they don’t have to pay for it and they are pirating it. It is all going parallel. So, I appreciate the movement. I love how people are moving and thinking about the business and it’s ever-changing. But you can never let it f**k with artistic feeling and being creative.

I am an organic musician and I like to sit with musicians who play. If you have a great engineer available, you don’t have to think about it, you can play your music and it’s recorded in the perfect quality. There are people who do a bunch of different things and sometimes the quality level drops and the engineering and musician levels. So, it’s good to have a top guy around, but then again, you hand off the record to Capitol Records and EMI and it comes to them to be on top of the latest and most advanced technology of getting music out there and getting people to hear about it. Then it is up to us to go on tour and put on a show that is consistent with or music and let the technology also go parallel to what we’re doing. We are organic human beings up on stage, sweating and that I think to me is sexier than having five million friends on Facebook, but it goes both ways. You can get both.

No matter what decade you release a track, I can tell it’s a Jane’s Addiction tune. How do you keep your Jane’s Addiction sound and evolve with modern technology at the same time?

The truth is when we are together, it is undeniably us. It sounds like an emotional outburst of the instruments. We are all very different and diverse. We all make different records and hang out with different people. We always had different record collections, even back in the late 80s; we liked different things. So, that’s going to come to the surface when we act natural. We never want to compromise our personalities as players and that’s also going to come to the surface. My drumming, whatever the adjective might be, is my drumming. I consider it kind of a tribal thing that is more of an emotional approach. Dave, to me, is a very colorful guitar player that’s trying to do more textures. Perry, to me, is always going to have an emotional story to tell and his performance goes along with the lyrics. So do I. I listen to the lyrics and I think of my performance, where I can get dynamic and emotional. So, you’re going to hear that all come to the surface whether we had a bongo, acoustic guitar and Perry without a mic, just sitting in the room, it comes up. It’s just us.

Your fourth studio, The Great Escape Artist, comes out on September 27th. What does the album title mean to you?

To me, it’s essentially, let’s just be blunt, reality. You could go bowling, you could climb rocks, you can have passionate love affairs, but it is all escaping from reality, which unfortunately is put upon us on a daily basis, to look at bills and to look at life. Instead of a more natural rhythm, like living on Fiji, waking up, fishing, feeding your family and taking a nap. That rhythm is gone in our life. So how do you escape it? I think Jane’s Addiction is about escape and it fits into our sound and career, since we actually started the band. It’s all a personal interpretation. If you think, one day you figured out how to get away from everything and be happy and then the next day you’re not happy anymore. Maybe you don’t know.

I really find actual drumming to be a combination of yoga and meditation or sketching or dancing. So it’s physical, but you have to be relaxed and you really do escape. Then you start bringing yourself down to earth. When you’re playing drums, you start thinking of responsibilities in your life. I think you could hear it in the drumming. You’re faking and acting because you’re thinking about something else. You’re acting like a drummer.

So “The Great Escape”, to me, is when I am sitting with my kids. That’s when I get away from it all. I think everyone in the band has a different way of doing it. I think for the listener, the music itself is the key that opens the door to the “The Great Escape”. I think it is a great headphone record. I love listening to music in headphones. Some of my favorite music growing up, Floyd, Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, you put the headphones in and it takes on another world. So, music to me is a “Great Escape”. Even if I am in traffic in LA and a killer song comes on, I am getting away from it all.

You recently released the single, “Irresistible Force”, off the album. Are you planning on doing a video for the track?

We are working on one now. Just like our music, we want to make sure it’s a nice interpretation of where we are at musically. Hopefully, it will be done in the next 14 to 21 days actually. Maybe in two to three weeks, we’ll have it done.

The video for “End To The Lies” is out now. It’s so artistic and abstract. Can you tell me how the video relates to the meaning of the track?

To me, it’s kind of like a salute with the middle finger, to all the haters and to all the f**king people who don’t believe in each other. People bringing each other down. There are a lot of haters out there, in so many different ways. So how do you put an end to it? To me, I can actually watch out. Other people actually dig into that world and it affects them. It absorbs into them really. So to me, “End To The Lies”, is really about putting up a brick wall against the hate that’s happening in the world. I mean it’s obvious that things are crumbling, but then there are also people planting trees and having babies at the same time. So, it’s the way you look at things. As far as the actual piece of video, it’s amazing, there are so many different ideas and they can all be put in a blender and make one cool video, but we kind of got to pick one storyline and worked with it. It’s not a political song in any means, but I do like the way it kind of fits into that. To me, it’s not a f**k you song, but what the hell, f**k you.

by Lonnie Nemiroff

Janes Addiction

By lonnie

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