By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
It’s not worth worrying about whether Strays is one of your Major Rock Statements of All Time. What it has in tankerloads is a palpable energy — a desire, a passion, a forward motion — that begins with our nostalgic good wishes, slaps us with a genuinely startling ferocity and only takes us higher. The band’s ability to sustain something like that concerned me a bit when I saw them a few weeks ago at this KROQ-sponsored “secret” performance at the group’s Culver City rehearsal space (so secret that approximately half of Los Angeles was present). There was real excitement in the air, and I latched onto it easily. Wow, I said to myself, look at that neato stage gear; look at Stephen Perkins’ awesomely huge drum set. And wow, we haven’t seen Jane’s in a while, I know they’ve been working on this new record, and Perry Farrell has decided to relaunch Lollapalooza . . .
Then Jane’s hit the stage, and something resembling love generated from the crowd, picked the band up and carried them through an hour and a half of new material plus goodies from the vaults. And there was Perry Farrell, this incredibly weird figure, when I thought about it, to be front man for a heavy rock band — weird the way Serj Tankian is weird fronting a heavy group like System of a Down. It seems there’s been a mistake, he’s not sexy or macho or, I don’t know, not hubristic enough, and so awkward, too much in the head and not the body. Anyway, the band was flailing away on hit after potential hit, and the crowd was whoooing and Bic-flicking and puffing jays and I mean really getting off. And for two or so songs, me too – ’cause there’s just no beating that kind of rush when real live rock stars hit the stage and rip.
So then Jane’s Addiction was joined by a trio of scantily attired dancers, flashing a lot of crotch and titty, humping these big poles, and they were prancing and jiggling, bouncy bouncy bouncy, and the band was hashing away, seemingly indifferent to the sleaze — except for Farrell, who leered knowingly and at one point fake ate-out one of the dancers. What a cop-out, I thought — a real rock wildman would’ve really, y’know, done it. Then Farrell started throwing out these pseudo-patter things like “Summertime, and a young man’s cock gets hard!” and something else about how sex is good for you, it makes your cock hard, or whatever. And the dancers humped on.
Hmmm. That night, the shtick made me wonder what the hell Perry Farrell is all about, really. Is he just a huckster, and aren’t we all? Okay, then what can I learn from this guy? Is it just me, or does this particular master of ceremonies hint at something godawful sinister? Why is he preying on his flock’s weakness? Why is he laughing at me? Why do I feel like he’s looking right through me?
Lollapalooza comes to Verizon Amphitheater on Saturday, August 16.
JANE’S ADDICTION | Strays | (Capitol)
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