JANE’S ADDICTION – NOTHING’S SHOCKING
Released August 1988 – 27 years ago
Jane’s Addiction’s sophomore release, combining alternative with prog rock, metal, and punk, is widely considered the band’s best release as well as one of the defining albums of late 80s/early 90s modern rock scene. Their epic, cinematic soundscapes are haunting, tense, and unrelenting, sounding cutting-edge to this day.
The Classic Pick is a weekly feature at 4pm M-F on The Home Stretch, sponsored by the Good Oak Bar. Each week Kris Kerry comes in to KXCI to give us insight on this classic album.
Jane’s Addiction were one of the most talked about indie rock buzz-bands of the late 1980s. They, along with R.E.M. and Sonic Youth, were some of the first indie/college rock bands to be signed to a major label.
Jane’s Addiction was fronted by the flamboyant Perry Ferrell, who wrote all the album’s lyrics. Ferrell had achieved minor success prior to Jane’s with indie-rock act, Psi-Com. Following the demise of the Jane’s he later formed the bands Porno for Pyros and Satellite Party.
The rest of the band on Nothing’s Shocking: Eric Avery (bass), Stephen Perkins (drums), and Dave Navarro on guitar, who later joined Red Hot Chili Peppers, made various TV appearances, specifically on MTV. His marriage to Carmen Electra added to his celebrity.
Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers plays trumpet on “Idiots Rule.”
Critically, Nothing’s Shocking was well received from the on-set. It continues to be a favorite of critics, named #312 on the 500 best albums of all time by Rolling Stone. Q Magazine placed Nothing’s Shocking at #32 of the “40 Best Albums of the ‘80s” in 2006. Pitchfork includes it in the top 100 albums from the 1980s as well.
Despite critical success, it only peaked at 103 on the Billboard 200. However, they were the darling of MTV, in particular the alternative show, 120 Minutes.
Nothing’s Shocking was hugely influential on alternative music of the 1990s and beyond; it’s aesthetic can be seen in numerous bands (Smashing Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson, Dandy Warhols, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, to name a few). Even though they were an LA band, it has been argued that they were a big influence on grunge and Seattle bands as well.
Production credit is shared between Ferrel and Dave Jerden. Jerden had engineered several renowned artists in the 1970s, including: Talking Heads, Frank Zappa, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Rolling Stones, among others.
Nothing’s Shocking was one of the first albums he had producer credit. Later he went on to produce several other artists, including: Alice In Chains, Social Distortion, Anthrax, The Offspring and Fishbone.
Recorded at Eldorado Studios in Los Angeles. Eldorado is a well-known studio that has also recorded a number of big names, including: Talking Heads, Herbie Hancock, Social Diestortion, Slayer, Brian Eno, and many others.
Farrell created the touring festival Lollapalooza as a farewell tour for Jane’s Addiction in 1991; it has since evolved into an annual destination festival. Farrell continues to produce Lollapalooza with music promoter giants William Morris Agency and C3.
Farrell is the only person who has performed at all twelve Coachella Festivals to date, having appeared under five different names (Perry Farrell, Jane’s Addiction, DJ Peretz, Satellite Party, and with Hybrid).
Farrell created the cover image to Nothing’s Shocking, which features a sculpture of a pair of nude female conjoined twins (based on body cast of his then girlfriend) sitting on a rocking chair with their heads on fire.
This was a pretty controversial album cover in the 1980s. Nine out of the eleven leading record store chains refused to carry Nothing’s Shocking, and the record had to be issued covered with brown paper.
Jane’s Addiction is not in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. They have been eligible since 2012.