Jane’s Addiction: The Pioneers and the Face of the Alternative Rock Sound

Jane’s Addiction is an alternative rock back, hailing from Los Angeles, California. They formed in 1985, but, like most bands, have been off-and-on throughout their entire musical existence. Jane’s Addiction was formed by vocalist Perry Bernstein (otherwise known as Perry Farrell) and bassist Eric Avery. Drummer Stephen Perkins was later added into the mix, who then later brought in Dave Navarro. These four became the foundation of Jane’s Addiction; they would be the cornerstone alternative rock, and one of the faces of the underground music community.
Interestingly, Jane’s Addiction still have most of its’ founding members. Most bands end up interchanging members overtime for several different reasons, but Jane’s Addiction clearly have not fallen into that statistic. The different members of Jane’s Addiction have had some side projects that they had alongside the band. Navarro was a famous television personality, and often played guitar in other bands. Perry and Navarro had a side band called “Porno for Pyros”, and often worked on that band alongside Jane’s Addiction.  Perry organized different music venues, and eventually created Lollapalooza: the ultimate music event that became about more than just music. Lollapalooza became home to many music genres, comedy acts, people who had artwork to sell, and much more. It expanded from just touring in the United States to different countries, such as Brazil, Germany, and Paris. It started with just an idea, and expanded into a worldwide phenomenon.
The band had hardships of their own—Dave Navarro’s mother and aunt were murdered by her then-boyfriend when Navarro was just 15 years old. Navarro had to grow up with this shadow haunting him not only during his teenage-hood, but for the rest of his life. This tragedy struck Navarro during a delicate time in his life, thus making him susceptible to bad influences. Unfortunately, Navarro fell into the wrong crowd and dabbed in drug use, resulting in a rollercoaster lifestyle that ruled by the high the drugs gave. Navarro eventually overcame his addiction is rehab, and the everlasting support that the band gave him.
Jane’s Addiction took a hiatus when Farrell’s girlfriend passed away, the band members always kept in touch and were each other’s support systems, they were family to each other. When one of the members were feeling low, the others kept going for him; the others pushed the car when his gas tank was empty. The band was there for each other no matter what the circumstances; they have a solid friendship that had just gotten stronger over the years.
Jane’s Addiction was not only an inspiration to themselves, but they were an inspiration to Strapping Young Lad’s front man Devin Townsend. He was heavily influenced by them because they reminded him not to be so technical; he recalls how Perry’s voice reminded him of the perfection in imperfection: “when I heard that and Perry Farrell’s voice, it was the same thing that I liked about K.K. Downing, it was this out of tune thing that just didn’t give a s***”. The appreciation only grew as he got older: “Nothing’s Shocking was really such a huge deal to me man; I remember my first car; I painted the logo on the side of the car and all this s***”.  Townsend is just one of many, many people whose lives were changed by Jane’s Addiction’s music and underlying message. Their music got Townsend all riled up and passionate about making his own; they showed him that he too, could make music that would make listeners enthralled with the music that they were listening to.
Jane’s Addiction were the foundation, the “break out band” that offered a platform for the underground music scene. They rattled the cages of pop and generic rock with their haunting bass lines, grungy vocals and blasting drum lines. Jane’s Addiction broke the 90’s scene, and helped inspire and erupt bands like Strapping Young Lad, Tool, and Korn. Without Jane’s Addiction paving the way for these bands, they likely would have never gotten together, let alone even surfaced. They are heavily credited for expanding the alternative music scene; oftentimes being the face of underground music scene.

Author Bio: Leann Jeethan

Leann Jeethan is a recent English Literature graduate from Southern Ontario. She is a lover of all literature, and adores authors like Anthony Burguess, Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker. She spends most of her free time reading, writing and catching up on The Walking Dead.

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