Remembering Jane's Addiction and Their "Shocking" Debut

Jane's Addiction in 1988
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Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Jane’s Addiction may not have achieved their mainstream breakthrough with their debut studio album, but it certainly put them on the path to success as a band to watch.

Recorded at Eldorado Studios in Los Angeles, Nothing’s Shocking was co-produced by Dave Jerden along with Jane’s frontman Perry Farrell. When Warner Brothers provided the band with a list of potential producers for the album, Jerden’s past work as engineer on David Byrne and Brian Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts helped seal the deal, but as it turned out, Jerden was already a fan, as he revealed in a 2013 interview with Music Radar:

They were the big buzz band in Los Angeles, getting a lot of press. I’d seen them a few times – sometimes they were OK, other times they were great, and sometimes they were just crappy. They were all over the place. I went to see them on this one particular night at a club called Scream – it was actually in a hotel ballroom. There was a line of people around the block at 3:30 in the morning. I went in, sat in the back by the soundboard, and let me tell you, Jane’s Addiction took the stage, and they were awesome. I’d seen Jimi Hendrix at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968 – I’ve seen a lot of great concerts – and Jane’s Addiction were as good as Jimi or anybody on that night. They blew my hair back. I told my manager I wanted to work with them.

Mind you, Nothing’s Shocking almost never came to fruition, owing an issue with Farrell telling his band mates that he wanted 50% of the band’s publishing royalties for writing the lyrics, plus a quarter of the remaining half for writing music. The other three members of the band balked, and it looked like Jane’s Addiction was done, but Warner Brothers stepped in and – somehow or other – things went the way Farrell wanted: he got 62.5%, leaving 12.5% each for bassist Eric Avery, guitarist Dave Navarro, and drummer Stephen Perkins.

As awkward as things no doubt were between the band members after that, the resulting album remains an all-time alt-rock classic, thanks to such tracks as “Jane Says” and the incomparable “Mountain Song.”

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