Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
The return of Jane's Addiction has been greeted with open arms. "Strays," the band's first new studio album in 13 years, is due July 22 via Capitol. The set already has a huge pre-release buzz thanks to the single "Just Because."
The song is No. 4 on Modern Rock Tracks after four weeks, returning Jane's Addiction to the top of the format at which it scored five top-15 hits between 1988 and 1991.
The tremendous response bodes well for the fortunes of "Strays," as well as the revived Lollapalooza tour, which the band will headline for the first time since the event's inaugural 1991 run. The trek kicked off July 5 in Indianapolis.
As an added incentive for buyers, a limited-edition pressing of "Strays" will include a bonus 30-minute DVD, featuring live versions of three new tracks, interviews and studio footage.
The first incarnation of Jane's Addiction-frontman Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins-splintered in 1991, just as alternative rock was exploding into the mainstream.
Its members pursued various side projects before reuniting for a 1997 tour minus Avery, who was replaced first by Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and then by Porno for Pyros' Martyn LeNoble.
According to Navarro, the band did not get serious about returning to the studio until its 2001 Jubilee tour.
"We saw how it was going, and we were really digging it," he says. "It was then that Perry said, 'What do you think about making another record, because we can't continue touring without new songs. We're going to go crazy.' I said, 'I agree.' I mean, I love our catalog, but come on. Let's play something else."
Remarkably, the music on "Strays" in no way betrays the decade-plus layoff since Jane's Addiction's 1990 swan song, "Ritual de lo Habitual," which has sold 1.1 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Produced by Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Kiss), the new set is awash with the group's signature heavy, psychedelic sound.
Highlights include the groove-rooted "Wrong Girl" and "The Riches" and the intense rock of "Price I Pay," "Just Because" and "To Match the Sun," which Farrell describes as "a deep love song about a fellow who has to travel an awful lot and leave his loved ones behind."
Aside from "Suffer Some" and the acoustic-tinged "Everybody's Friend," all songs were written in the studio. Navarro says sessions "kicked up to another hyperspeed notch" once bassist Chris Chaney joined the band (tracks recorded with LeNoble were scrapped). The guitarist also credits Ezrin with helping the band "turn songs around that we didn't really believe in.
"I think it is possible that 13 years ago, we wouldn't have approached the level of musicianship that we did here," Navarro admits. "Something comes from just playing our instruments for this long. We have limitations on what we want to present, but when it comes to trying stuff, we're completely open guys."
Farrell says that the new material will have a major presence on the band's Lollapalooza setlist. "We want to give the people who have never seen Jane's some old songs," he says, "but at the same time, we're extremely excited to play them new material 13 years in the making."
At each Lollapalooza show, audience members will have the chance to meet the band or have their tickets upgraded by participating in the interactive "Mindfield" game.
In a further element of interactivity, fans will be able to remix tracks from Jane's and other Lollapalooza bands using raw materials found on the soon-to-relaunch janesaddiction.com.
In the fall the band will tour Europe and then return for a North American headlining jaunt, and both Farrell and Navarro insist "Strays" is not a one-off venture. They say they are reveling in the fact that Jane's is once again a full-time, functioning band.
"I went and I thought I made some good records, but I came to find after that journey that there's no place like home," Farrell says. "It has just been a matter of time for us to get to this point. By all means, this is not another reunion. This is where the band is right now."
Excerpted from the July 12, 2003, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com Premium Services section.
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