Jane's Addiction Flipside Interview

JANE'S ADDICTION were interviewed at U.S.C. in January 1987 by Al and Lawrence Livermore shortly after a rowdy gig at USC with Bulimia Banquet and Janes Addiction. This article was taken from the spring 1987 edition of Flipside zine #52. All typos are exactly as they appear in the original article. It was digitized by Kevin T. Kruzich - thanx Kevin.

Janes Addiction are:

Steven Perkins; drums
Eric Avery; bass
David Navaro; guitar
Perry Farrell; vocals

Perry: I like when things kind of go to hell....

Al: Did you think that tonight "went to hell"?

Steve: I would say so... when the light went out I thought people
were taking my drum set into the audience.

Eric: It didn't go enough for my liking.

Perry: I myself like to see violence sometimes, and then other
times I just want things to turn into a great show.  To be
truthfull, I think every man wants to see some violence.  

Steve: But not when people start trashing...

Perry: ...But at the same time I want to see people into it.  I
want a reaction of appreciation and letting us do our music.  When
it gets like that (trashing), the music goes to hell, and that's my
first concern.  I can't speak for everyone, he likes riots (Steve).
I like the tribal, ritualistic thing where people don't hurt each
other, but they are moving up and down with each other.  I'd rather
see that than people turing on each other.  A spiritual thing,
where people are out of themselves, not inhibited physically -but
arn't violating each other... cause that's not productive, the
worlds already fucked...

Steve: I like to see people let go this much, especially at the
University of Spoiled Children. (Ha ha).  When people go ape shit
that's the biggest complement we could get...

Lawrence: Have you ever been attacked on stage?

Perry: I have, at Fenders some girls were pulling my pants off!

Eric: You must have hated that!!

Al: Judging from when Psicom were around (Perrys previous band),
this band isn't all that old.

Perry: About a year, in this incarnation about 9 months.  Could we
talk about the state of music and the state of the youth movement?
I just thought because Flipside seems to attract a lot of younger
people who are searching for identities and is or was predominently

Al: Well we go for the action, same with you guys. You guys could
be playing "hardcore" shows at Fenders and nobody would notice, but
instead you seem to have chosen to avoid that and go a more
alternative route. And you've become popular.  

Perry: We could play those shows if we did all of our fast stuff,
but that's not all that we do. We'd be cutting ourselves short.  

Al: But you know those people out there were just dying for you to
play that fast stuff. 

Perry: Yeah...

Steve: Punk rock isn't fast or slow, its...

David: Just bad!

Steve: No, it's an attitude, it's not a speed.  

Perry: Well it wasn't, but I think it now. "Hardcore"...

Steve: But "hardcore" isn't anything like punk rock, hardcore
is...what's the word...

Perry: Predictable... regimented...

Steve: There's a certain code that you have to dress by, and listen
to, and that is the opposite of what punk rock is - a state of mind
where you can do your own thing, and it doesn't matter what society
or any athority figure thinks about it.  

Perry: I myself am ready for something else. Not different than
what I'm doing, but I'm ready for a change in the attitude of the
youth.  I would like to attempt to start a new attitude slightly. 
More of getting together, and easing up on each other. It's all
got to be torn down again and started over. Everybody is looking
at each other with such scrutiny - it's gotten so regimented.  I
think there is something happening now.  

Steve: The 60's were a real good learning period for us. We all
thought life was beautiful, we had JFK, and things were looking up
- we looked at the future optimistically. We are at a time now
where we can see that didn't work - it wasn't reality that we all
love each other... Now it's a good time for something new to come
out because there is a good balence between optimism and whats
happening now...

Perry: I'm looking for more of a forceful optimism in the decade to
come. Like the reaction I want from a crowd is as a community,
it's aggressive, but not upon each other. Now they hit each other,
what are you going to accomplish when you go to a show and people
are hitting you?

Lawrence: Do you think there is something you can do to control

Perry: Yeah. The sound of the music itself. To tell you the truth,
I myself have failed a little bit. The reaction I wanted was not
to have people turning on each other - but it seems to be a hard
habit to break. Especially if they go to a show and hear fast
music, they immediatly think "I know what to do here".

Eric: Plus when they're slamming they are not paying attention at
all anyway...

Perry: Yeah, and neither are anybody else because people are
concentrating more on the crowd, than the music.  The first thing
I want to maintain is artistic integrity with the music - but
sometimes it falls short in situations like that. We never played
standard punk rock beats or standard speed metal beats, we try to
go past it.

Steve: The bands you play with have a lot to do with the crowd.

Perry: I've seen so many bands that just arn't that good, but
people are just smashing all over the place.  If you've ever seen
Fela or gone to a reggae festival, the feeling that they leave with
is so much better than that reaction, because people are in such a
good mood and they just want to groove. Women are there, guys are
there, the feeling is much higher.

Lawrence: I get the feeling with the tribal drum beats and the
chanting that have some kind of a spiritual value...

Perry: Yeah, but I won't get into those... I don't mean like
believing in god in that sense but I definitely have ideas grounded
in a lot of thought.  

Lawrence: Like old Pagen religions...

Perry: Yeah, more like that, it's closer, it's my own. So I
couldn't classify it. I have thought out my life - and I have
thought about the stars and the moon...

Al: I'm sure you heard people compare you to bands like Led
Zeppelin. Is that a conscious influence?

David: I've never liked Led Zeppelin ever! (Laughter). Of course
there is an influence there, you can't help an influence that
you've grown up listening to. It's second nature when you pick up
an instrument to play like a particular person but I'm not going to
way I'm duplicating it. I think I have my own style. Then again
our bass player really does hate Led Zeppelin.  

Perry: I not going to say that's a bunch of garbage, because we
probably do sound something like Led Zeppelin. But I don't sing or
look like Robert Plant, they compare me more to Iggy Pop but I
don't move like Iggy Pop. BUT, I don't deny the feel. I really do
love funk, more than rock. These guys like metal (Eric, David), so
that's where that blend comes from, funk and metal, and that's also
what Zeppelin was doing.  

Eric: I wouldn't say I like metal, I'd say rock. 4 years ago I was
in a metal band.  

Perry: I'm more into black music and African music, so the contrast
and variety is there. One thing we never play is blues, and that's
something that Zeppelin did. Our music has a very hard vein, it's
very raw rockin'. So how do you get an intelligent audience out of
that? I'm really into the poetry, and the slower stuff, and I'm
really into that and I don't want that end of it to drop off.
That's what I think keeps this band from falling into the catagory
of bands that can only do one thing good. It's easy to make people
slam, but it's harder to make them literally enjoy slow, beautiful
music. That is a higher art. And to be able to both is very rare. 
It's kind of like life - you don't always walk around wanting to
fight. You fall in love. What are you goig to do, deny your
feelings? So if a band can touch every single feeling that you
have, then they are for me anyways. I'm in love, you know? Then I
feel like I want to kill somebody. Sometimes I want to be serious,
sometimes an idiot. All the great bands have touched on all of
these and done them well.

Al: Have you always sung with the echo or reverb on?

Perry: Yeah, I enjoy it...

Al: Why do you think it is that you've become so popular so fast?
Not only in terms of your audience but with all the attention of
record labels?

Perry: This is why we wanted to do this interview with Flipside,
this is on the record, if you EVER see me do anything different,
you can come and fuck me up the ass, man! My artistic integrity and
the whole bands artistic integrity comes first. And as far as
popularity it can become contrary because... I get nervous
sometimes because of the popularity, but it is popular and I'm not
going to slow down. I've never gone to be a comercial guy, and
never have gone out to try to get the record companies to fall in
love with us. I was in Psicom for a long time (that basically fell
apart because of religious beliefs), and I was underground, I put
my own record out. But this band is way more popular, and I don't
want people to think we are not street credible because something
might happen in a big way with money. I've basically been a street
kid all my life. But wait till you see what we do with our money,
it's gonna be really creative as far as helping people. The rock
star shit is fucked. I hate that shit. People come up and think
"rock star" because we're getting popular, fuck that shit.  

Al: Well popularity means having to deal with people like the girl
at Fenders tearing your pants off, how will you deal with that?

Perry: You just go, fuck it's a pretty good gift, and you suck up
everything you can like a fountain, AND you give it back as much as
you can. I feel if I get lucky and get a bunch of money then I can
start to push my money around in the right spots.  Maybe we can
become friends with some political leaders... Kids hate people with
money, because the people with money are the ones that are fucking
them up - so why don't we get a bunch of money and push them

Lawrence: Well the theory being that money changes you so that when
you get it you will no longer be radical.  

Perry: I don't believe that though it doesn't have to be that way. 

Lawrence: Do you think with millions of dollars you'd still be that

Perry: Fuck yeah. Because I've waited it out. I've thought it out.
I know what makes great art, it's definitely not money. Money can
change a lot politically, but it is not congruent to making great
art. This has taken a long time to come, and I've thought it all
out. I have my ideas. We can use the money right. I want to be a
Robin Hood. I'd love to drop a bundle of money off of a building
down town to let a bunch of bums eat. What do you do when you have
more money than you know what to do with? I've never felt
comfortable in rich neighborhoods. I'm not wanted. Even when people
watch me like I'm going to steal something. I can't go into a store
without people looking at me. I don't feel comfortable around the
rich anyway...

Al: To change the subject slightly, your record will be coming out
on Triple X records, not exactly a major...

Perry: Yeah, we did have all these record labels coming at us... I
had this idea a long time ago but the guys in Psicom weren't quite
so daring as this band, my favorite recordings are really simple
ones, like Little Richard, recording that get that feel. And being
that we are getting popular, I wanted to record the band live. It's
risky, and we still don't even know how it sounds (recorded at so
it might not work, it's a gamble. But if you don't do things
differently you will look like everyone else. Right now we can
take the chance because I know there will be a big budget in the
future. There were all these A&R people there that night (at the
Roxy in January), but we were already recording for ourselves. It
was a little of a slap in the face.   

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