By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
"I didn't want it to become what it was becoming," says Perry. "You're here to live a life. You're on a journey, and your journey is always for truth. And you can get put into a situation where you are no longer even giving the truth. You can be a musician in a band, making records purely to make a buck, at everybody's insistence. You don't even want to play with the people anymore, you don't want to play that style anymore, and yet you're doing it. So that's not truth. And to me, the only time you're gonna be healthy is when you're at least looking to find the truth.
"I felt that it wasn't a good position. We weren't friends. I was working very hard, and not being appreciated. I said, Why would I want to continue to write songs and the people that I'm writing with don't even want to play 'em? Okay, that's fair. But I like 'em. I want to be able to express myself, and I want to be able to say 'goodbye.' I want to have a door that opens and closes."
By 1991, Farrell had also tired of fielding the record label's demands that Jane's stick to a familiar, commercially viable sound.
"Being pigeonholed squashes your creativity. Even being pigeonholed as a massive giant rock star, everyone becomes very, very afraid lest you should do anything in your enthusiasm to piss people off and lose your fan base or whatever. That's not real life! That's fantasy. Your life is testing, going out and saying, I want to be able to create this kind of music, regardless of what this big corporation wants from me. If they want that, there's plenty of people who'll give it to them. I'm not in this world to make somebody else money. I'm in this world to express myself, seek out the truth and leave the place better than when I found it."
FOR YEARS, FARRELL'S DRUG USE WAS ALmost a point of pride for him; with a cackle, he'd hint at his intake, at shows, on records, in interviews and on the Jane's short-form video, Soul Kiss. It was assumed that Farrell, Avery and Navarro all had more than a passing interest in heroin, and that drug use must have played some role in the band's bust-up. The demise of the band and Farrell's split with longtime girlfriend/collaborator Casey Niccoli -- whom he had "married" in Mexico in a Santería wedding ceremony of dubious legal standing -- didn't exactly say "stability." Farrell's arrest at a Santa Monica Holiday Inn on drug charges just three weeks after the band's final show was hardly surprising. (No charges were ever brought.) The continuing non-appearance of the Farrell-Niccoli feature film Gift, originally planned to accompany the release of Ritual, also fit the pattern of a downward spiral. (Gift eventually surfaced in August '93, exactly three years after Ritual's release.) And when Farrell's eagerly anticipated new band, Porno for Pyros (featuring ex-Jane's drummer Perkins), made a headlining debut at Castaic Lake in July '92 with an embarrassingly anemic sound and an artless stage show populated by cheap circus attractions (exotic dancers, jugglers, etc.), it seemed just another bit of evidence that Farrell was losing a public-private war with drugs.
Porno for Pyros released their self-titled debut album the next spring -- and they still sounded like an untogether band doing their best to cover half-finished Jane's songs. (The other Jane's leftovers would show up in '94 on Avery and Navarro's undeservedly neglected Deconstruction album.) Perhaps guitarist Peter DiStefano and bassist Martyn Le Noble were intimidated by their singer's lofty pedigree and audience expectations; they certainly weren't helped much by Farrell's newer songs, especially stuff like "Black Girlfriend," with its shockingly banal, patronizing lyrics ("Ever since the riots/All I really wanted was a black girlfriend"). Perry had initially promised a whole new sound for Porno for Pyros, but only the slightly daffy, far-too-simple-for-Jane's hit single "Pets" sounded like something other than an underwhelming version of Perry's former band.
Farrell still believes Porno for Pyroswas never heard in a proper context.
"It took us two weeks to record that album. It was during the riots, and I was flying around town. I was in the mood to make music. All I wanted to do was punk-rock it. I went into a studio and recorded some songs, and that's what it sounds like. And it's cool by me. I wasn't looking to be bigger than Jane's Addiction. I think people wanted to slam me personally, so they weren't going to let the band grow. And also, I was out of my mind, so . . ."
But it's the second Porno for Pyros album -- released to little critical or commercial interest in May '96 -- that didn't get a fair hearing. Much of Good God's Urge showed a genuinely new Perry vision emerging: brighter, more positive lyrics, gently lilting ancient melodies, layers of sound, a psychedelic-folk-funk band playing on a tropical beach with the island's native musicians.
"There are beautiful songs on there," says Perry. ä "That period had probably the greatest effect of my life. The most bizarre things were happening at that time, and I felt that it was reflected in the music. Everybody at Warner Bros. was leaving, and I became nothing other than splatter on a wall there. But I was a very difficult person to deal with in those days. You probably couldn't get me in a room, unless" -- chuckling -- "you were alone with me in a room for a couple of days. So I would be the first to put the blame on me."
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