The spark that ignited the reformation of the original four members of Jane's Addiction started in 2008 at the NME Awards. "We had a good time together and the music sounded good," drummer Stephen Perkins says.
Not only is the band gearing up for a hefty summer tour, the rarities box set "A Cabinet of Curiosities" is due April 21 via Rhino. The set includes three CDs and a DVD, featuring "Soul Kiss," a documentary on the group and Farrell's movie "The Gift. "I supplied a lot of music to Warner Bros," Perkins says. "A lot of the stuff has never been heard before."
"It's a really nice, fetishy object," Farrell adds. Perkins has also taken some bootleg material and remastered it. "There's some rough sounding stuff, sonically," guitarist Dave Navarro adds. "But it's worth a listen. I have old versions of Zeppelin recordings at home that I don't necessarily throw into rotation all the time, but I like it."
Jane's Addiction gave SXSW attendees as taste of their reformation in the wee hours of Friday morning, ripping through a 55-minute set that drew entirely from the first phase of its career – appropriate since orginal bassist Eric Avery has returned to the fold after a 17-year break.
Playing at a capacity-plus private party sponsored by Playboy and C3 Presents (with Playmates strolling around sporting ears and cottontails), the quartet served up a 10-song sampling, despite problems with one of the sound board cables that briefly threatened to derail the show. Once it was fixed, however, Jane's started with an epic rendition of "Three Days," with frontman Perry Farrell dancing like a dervish while Mohawked drummer Stephen Perkins pounded out the rhythm and Dave Navarro, shirtless and fedoraed, laced solos into the dynamic arrangement. Farrell peeled his jacket and scarf off during "Ain't No Right," ending the song with his arms raised in a triumphant V, then led into "Whores" by telling the crowd it was "lovely to see all you whores out there. How was your day?"
The set drew entirely from 1988's "Nothing's Shocking" and 1990's 1990's "Ritual de lo Habitual," mixing "hit" fare such as "Been Caught Stealing" (for which Farrell donned a pair of shades), "Mountain Song" and "Ocean Size" (but no "Jane Says") with deeper but still well-received songs such as "Standing in the Shower Thinking," the reggae-flavored "Ted, Just Admit It…" and the leaden final encore "Stop."
Visual evidence suggested that any of Jane's well-chronicled rancor has been allayed again; the group members were interactive and clearly enjoying themselves, and Farrell – who's slated to perform a SXSW club show on Saturday night -- finished the night with an arm slung around Navarro's shoulders.
Full SXSW coverage is in the Billboard festival blog at Billboard.com/SXSW