Jane's Addiction Is Back; Dave Navarro Talks Their New Album and Why He Fucking Hates The Media
Jane's Addiction play the Ford tonight and tomorrow. The venue is an important part of their history. Back in 1989, the band performed seven straight nights there, launching Nothing's Shocking. They also offered a glimpse into the colorful visual influences and rhythmic experimentation of their release the following year, Ritual de Lo Habitual.
As a young music fan and budding critic, we found these shows seminal. We remember hearing them announced as "Juana's Addicion," the wild, folkloric stage décor, flying dreadlocks, and thunderous music. And so we caught up with guitarist Dave Navarro to talk about the shows, the group's new album -- The Great Escape Artist, out October 18 -- and why the media generally annoys the crap out of him.
I was at two of the seven Ford shows back in '89, and remember them well. What did they mean to you?
Jane's Addiction has come a long way, baby
Glad you remember them, because I don't. The John Anson Ford shows were at the height of my experimentation, let's say. As I recall I did have to be revived one of the nights, like maybe a half an hour before we went on.
So it's a blur?
I don't know if it's a blur because I was altered, or it was a long time ago, or both. While you're doing it, you don't really know that the shows are going to go down as ones to remember.
Those dates are legendary as far L.A. live shows go, for sure.
Well, the beautiful thing about that space is, it's intended for theatre. It's not necessarily a rock venue. Bringing a rock show into a space like that is a neat thing.
All of the venues on Jane's upcoming tour have special significance don't they?
Yeah, Irving Plaza in New York and The Metro in Chicago were where we launched Nothing's Shocking. We haven't announced them all yet.
The band has such a long and sometimes tumultuous history. In making a new record were there differences that had to be worked out or was it all smooth sailing?
I get asked this so many times and I always fail to come up with a good answer. I've been with this band almost 25 years and I've worked with all these guys in one way or another over the years on different projects. Also keep in mind we'd done extensive touring with Nine Inch Nails in Europe in 2009. We'd essentially been a working band for 2 years prior to even thinking about this. Relationships were well established and we just went in and did it. It was pretty natural and a lot of that comes from intuition. You gain that by spending a lot of time together.
What about the writing and recording process?
There was a number of ways we went about it but that's the way Janes Addiction's always worked, in terms of not having a formula. Some came from jamming, some from working on multi-track... It's difficult for me to describe a process which is primarily felt.
I get it. Even just imaging you guys jamming and something coming out of that is interesting.
Well, "Underground," the first song, actually came about from an electronic jam that Perry [Farrell] was working on. We re-worked it as a band. "Irresistible Force" started literally with me playing an acoustic guitar against a click track because I found a tempo I liked. I pretty much wrote the music to that in a kind of stream of consciousness style and everybody jumped on it and added parts. We gave it completed to Perry who worked on it in his own studio at home and wrote the melody and lyrics. "Splash A Little Water" came about through a live jam session. So there are three extreme examples of songs on this album that were written in entirely different ways.
What made you decide it was time for some new music?
At that point, after doing the Nails tour and the European dates, we were really enjoying the band and being on the road and playing shows. It was about keeping our fans satiated and we wanted to keep going. It's like any relationship. If you're in a relationship and you and your partner don't create new experiences and have new things to bring into it, it's gonna die. I think that another tour just playing "Mountain Song" and "Jane Says," wouldn't be of interest to us, and wouldn't be of interest to anybody else. It's evolve or die. We love playing the old songs, don't get me wrong, but we've added the new stuff, and already it's ignited a sense of urgency and made the flow of the sets feel fresh and new.