5 Essential Jane’s Addiction Songs to Celebrate the Classic Lineup’s First Tour Since 2010

It’s been 14 years since the classic Jane’s Addiction lineup of Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Stephen Perkins, and Eric Avery toured together. They are currently playing gigs throughout Europe and have a slew of U.S. dates scheduled beginning in August following their return from abroad.

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The classic lineup of Jane’s Addiction last recorded together in 1990 for their second album Ritual de lo Habitual. Though they only released two studio albums together, Jane’s Addiction became alternative icons. The first Lollapalooza festival, co-created by Farrell, became Jane’s Addiction’s farewell. With the long-running festival, the music scene they helped popularize flourished as the group disintegrated.

The band returned (without Avery) with Strays in 2003 and The Great Escape Artist in 2011. Chris Chaney recorded bass on both albums along with Dave Sitek (on The Great Escape Artist). Duff McKagan from Guns N’ Roses also worked with the band briefly in 2010, while Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers replaced Avery for the Relapse Tour in 1997. (Flea and Avery appear on the compilation album Kettle Whistle.)

The songs below will set you on your way into the art-goth world of Jane’s Addiction. I mean, it’s serious.

“Ocean Size” from Nothing’s Shocking (1988)

One of the most intriguing aspects of Jane’s Addiction is how innocent Perry Farrell’s voice sounds. His high-pitched yelps sound childlike, like a raspy kid dreaming to be as vast and powerful as the ocean. The boy envies the resilience of water crashing against a rocky shore only to come together again as the tides bring new waves. Farrell’s geographical metaphor is vulnerable and tender, juxtaposed against a pounding and psychedelic alt-rock track. Dave Jerden’s production cascades like a surf, and Navarro’s shredding connects Jane’s Addiction’s post-punk to Led Zeppelin.

I was made with a heart of stone
To be broken with one hard blow
I’ve seen the ocean break on the shore
Come together with no harm done

“Stop” from Ritual de lo Habitual (1990)

Jane’s Addiction came from the same underground L.A. music scene as Fishbone and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Mixing funk and punk rock, guitarist Dave Navarro drives “Stop” with a sped-up funk riff before Perry Farrell announces, Here we go! Though Ritual de lo Habitual and Nothing’s Shocking straddle the line of changing decades and shifting rock trends, they are both steeped in some kind of trip. “Stop” breaks as Farrell hopes for a future where humans stop abusing the planet. However, even when Jane’s Addiction pleads for sustainability, the one thing they won’t sacrifice is the party.

Save the complaints
For a party conversation
The world is loaded
It’s lit to pop, and nobody is gonna stop

“Mountain Song” from Nothing’s Shocking (1988)

Eric Avery has one of the most signature bass styles in rock and roll. His part introduces the song before Navarro joins in metal harmony. Farrell said “Mountain Song” is about coming down from drugs, but he also mentions his mother, Miss Smith. She committed suicide when Farrell was 3 years old, and the lyric Cash in now, honey alludes to his mother “cashing in” her life. Jane’s Addiction became one of the early ’90s alternative rock bands to reach mainstream success. Their music created both an escape from, and an exhibition of, life’s darkest moments.

I was comin’ down the mountain
I met a child, man, she had pin eyes
We had the same opinion
We had the same opinion
She was holding it back; it hurt so bad
Jumping out of my flesh and I said,
“You better cash in!”

“Been Caught Stealing” from Ritual de lo Habitual (1990)

“Been Caught Stealing” was a culture-shifting song. At once weird and psychedelic, with Farrell’s double-tracked high tenor celebrating the art of the steal. The video is equally iconic, with Farrell’s then-girlfriend Casey Niccoli directing a clip of shoplifters at a grocery store. Eric Avery’s relentless bass drives the track, and Farrell’s dog Annie also famously made her way onto the recording. If you found yourself on a game show and needed to name a tune in only two chords, this would be the song.

I’ve been caught stealing, once when I was five
I enjoy stealing; it’s just as simple as that
Oh well, it’s just a simple fact
When I want something, man, I don’t wanna pay for it

“Jane Says” from Nothing’s Shocking (1988)

Jane’s Addiction’s defining song drew inspiration from Farrell and Avery’s former roommate. Jane Bainter, indeed, had a drug addiction and an abusive boyfriend named Sergio. “Jane Says” is alt-rock’s “Stairway to Heaven.” It also gave the band its name. Bainter said that when things went wrong in the group house, the others blamed Jane’s addiction. One day, Bainter reminisced, the band jumped into her room and announced: “We’re going to name it Jane’s Addiction!”

Jane says, “I’m done with Sergio
He treat me like a rag doll.”
She hides the television
Says, “I don’t owe him nothing,
But if he comes back again
Tell him to wait right here for me, or,
Try again tomorrow.”
I’m gonna kick tomorrow
I’m gonna kick tomorrow

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Photo by Mauricio Santana/Getty Images

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