Perry Farrell and the return of Jane’s Addiction: “It is a beautiful time, because there is chaos, there is anarchy, but there is also love”

One way or another, chaos seems doomed to rule the universe of Jane’s Addiction. With an exotic and hedonistic proposal, the band born in Los Angeles in 1985 did not take long to become one of the strongest pillars of the alternative culture of the nineties thanks to its own style where funk metal, psychedelia, post punk and glam theatricality come together sustained by guitarist Dave Navarro and vocalist Perry Farrell. Their combination was so explosive that over time it was the group itself that was blown up: shortly after the release of their second album, the seminal Ritual of the Usual, the band decided to say goodbye to their audience with an itinerant celebration where several friendly bands also played. It was his last great gift to generation X: the festival was called Lollapalooza, and it didn’t take long for it to become an event in itself that spread throughout the world, Argentina included.

Between 1991 and the present, Jane’s Addiction had several sporadic comebacks, taking them to Buenos Aires three consecutive times between 2011 and 2013. The fourth visit was to occur in 2022 and was to have the band play San Isidro as part of their own festival, until the Covid forced the group to get off the bill a few days before. Your local public will have revenge this Saturday: Jane’s Addiction will be one of the headliners in San Isidro. And although Navarro will not be able to be part of the game because he still carries the consequences of his infection last year (which forced the band to have to resort to several important replacements in recent months), this will be the first time that the group performs in the country with bassist and founder Eric Avery, back in the group after almost three decadesnot counting a fleeting reincorporation in 2009. “We became adult men and we can deal with all the situations that can arise when you are in a group from that perspective,” Farrell explains by video call before getting on the plane with his new-old partner approve from the other side of the screen.

-How do you prepare to play again, this time with Eric back in the band?

Perry Farrel:-So far we have been reconnected for six months, something like that. The meeting happened the winter before when we toured with The Smashing Pumpkins, and it was a huge surprise. Last year I had a picture of physical exhaustion, and the first person who called me and said: “I hope you are well and I want you to know that I am here for whatever you need”, was Eric. I will never forget how he offered me his support and made me feel that he had me well content. Working with him again is amazing because we’re stronger than ever, and that affects the sound, so wait until you hear Jane’s Addiction now.

Eric Avery:-It has been the best musical experience of my life, much more even than in version 1.0 of the band. I think we’re in a place where we can appreciate what’s going on and I can’t believe we have that opportunity. Many times one does things in a certain way in his youth and does not have the opportunity to reverse it with what he learned in his adulthood. That this is happening to us and that we have that chance gives you another perspective as a band and it has been incredible.

-Last week in California they premiered “True Love”, their first new song in thirteen years. What is it like to sit down and compose together again after such a long time?

Farrell:-We got into this game just to play our music, we didn’t expect to get out of the music ghetto. We took ourselves for granted with being part of an indie label and doing the bowling circuit, because for us it was all about composing and playing for people. If you fast forward to 2023, we’re in a unique position where we’re riding the storm and we’re in the place where that instinct that we had so many years ago to want to make new music is still there, and we have the chance to do it on a level that the world never saw. We are playing stadiums and festivals, but no one can stop us from playing these new songs that are coming out, it’s a beautiful position. We are not doing what a label believes, but we are going with our hearts. And our hearts say, “Wouldn’t it be nice if people could see what we’re working on?” Nobody is going to stop us.

-Lollapalooza was created to say goodbye to their audience, and this weekend they’re going to play as part of the festival, but for an audience that perhaps wasn’t even born when you were active in the nineties.

Farrell:-I have teenagers in my house who drive the neighborhood crazy because they play very loud and make a lot of noise. One of the sweetest moments of my life is when I have to argue with the neighbors not only for us, but also for my children (laughs). I see these kids become real musicians, they are a new generation. I understand that many of these kids weren’t born when we released our first three albums, but the fact that they want to be there to see us fills my heart. It’s not something we planned or anything like that, but I love that they’re there to see, listen and try to rock the same way I did when I went to see David Bowie, Lou Reed or Iggy Pop. I was there to learn from the masters, and it’s a beautiful feeling to know that the generation that follows us is there to do the same with us.

Perry Farrell at the San Isidro Hippodrome, in Lollapalooza Argentina

-You also have to share the stage with a new generation of musicians. How different do they see the scene?

Avery:-I see innovation, the wheel keeps turning. I love listening to a lot of new artists because I’m interested in seeing how the culture is pushed forward. I see that they have a similar energy to us: we were looking to maintain a legacy of the punk-rock ethic. You didn’t have to go to music school, you could just pick up a bass or a guitar and do it. In a way, musicians who are now in their early twenties have a similar context to do it, and they also have the distribution of their music in their hands. They don’t have to go ask the owners of the record companies or the “guardians” of the music for permission. They can do it on their own, and there I see a huge parallel with us.

Farrell:-The issue of Covid is also important. Imagine if during your adolescence, at that moment when you finish high school and go to university, they tell you that you cannot leave your house for three years. That created serious distress issues with teens who didn’t know how to socialize with each other. You took elementary years out of their lives and sent them to their room, so now that they’re finally out they see a very different world than before. They are left wondering what to do: the doors are thrown open, and the “scene” is very different than it was, let alone when we started. After a while, punk-rock is one thing that translates to going to Forever 21 and buying yourself a studded wristband and dyeing your hair. It ended up becoming an industry, and these kids don’t know what to do. It’s interesting, because they grew up pretty wild and everyone does their own thing. It’s a beautiful time, because there’s chaos, there’s anarchy, but there’s also love and the passion that comes with any generation, so I think the next two years are going to start to shape something special.

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Perry Farrell and the return of Jane’s Addiction: “It is a beautiful time, because there is chaos, there is anarchy, but there is also love”