After an eight-year wait between albums, drummer Stephen Perkins says Jane's Addiction is at least talking about a quicker turnaround for a follow-up to last year's "The Great Escape Artist."
"We had a discussion on the flight home from the Super Bowl about, 'OK, new music -- do we visit it while we're touring? Do some stuff on the bus and in sound check and go that route, or do we wait 'til the tour's over and take a break and then go head-first?' " Perkins tells Billboard.com. "But we are talking about music, so that's important. When we commit to a record, we know it's going to take a long time to make it right, so if we're going to do it, we want to make sure everyone's got the time to put into it, so we'll see. It's not easy getting to that point."
"The Great Escape Artist" was Jane's Addiction's first set of all-new material since "Strays" in 2003 and the product of sessions not only with eventual producer Rich Costey and aid-de-camp Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio but also of aborted sessions with Trent Reznor and a songwriting tenure with Duff McKagen. Perkins says there are ideas left over from nearly four years of work, but he doesn't consider that a head start for a next album.
"I think it's always a wrong idea to do that," Perkins explains, " 'cause hopefully you're different musicians and the world has changed. It's always good to do something new to see what you've been through the last year and reflect that. But a great melody and a great guitar riff stand forever. They're timeless. It's like Van Halen; if you can't find anything, go to the old days."
Not that Perkins is dissing his fellow Californians for raiding old demo tapes to make their latest album, mind you.
"I haven't given it a good listen, but I f***in' love Van Halen," Perkins says. "Just to hear the two brothers play is exciting, just to hear what they come up with. It's great to hear guys that have been doing it... however long they've been doing it, still making music. I think they're still f***ing great players, so that's exciting for me."
Jane's Addiction, meanwhile, is doing its playing on the road right now. The group kicks off the first of three planned North American tour legs on Feb. 22 in St. Louis, and Perkins, says the quartet expects to play European festivals during the summer with a trip to Australia in early 2013. The group is also booked to play Lollapalooza Brazil in April, but Perkins isn't sure if Jane's will be on the bill in Chicago this summer.
"I'm not sure that's going to be the right fit," he says. "I know they're probably working on the show now. It's massive in Chicago, though. If we're part of it, I'll be honored, and if not I'll be there partying."
Perkins, frontman Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist Chris Chaney are also having a good time integrating "The Great Escape Artist" material into the live set, and watching what are direct and urgent songs on the album build and grow in front of an audience. "I think you pull from the environment and play them the way that feels right for the night," the drummer explains. "We've got seven, maybe eight songs to pull the trigger on from the new record. That, to me, is so exciting because we've been playing the same beautiful stuff for the last 10 years, with a little bit of the 'Strays' stuff. But to actually have all this new music...and committing to each other to go on tour for a year and make it work and take those songs to another level is really why we exist as a band, you know?"