Nothing's Shocking is the second release and first studio album by the American alternative rock band Jane's Addiction, released on August 23, 1988 through Warner Bros. Records. Nothing's Shocking was well received by critics upon release and is often cited as the band's best album. Despite this, it peaked at number 103 on the Billboard 200. The single "Jane Says" reached number six on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks in 1988. The album was ranked #312 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All-Time." Nothing's Shocking is also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Warner Bros. gave Jane's Addiction a list of producers to choose from. The group chose Dave Jerden, whose work as engineer on the David Byrne and Brian Eno album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts frontman Perry Farrell appreciated. Jerden said he "jumped" at the chance to work with the group.
During the recording sessions, Farrell stated he wanted 50 percent of the band's publishing royalties for writing the lyrics, as well as quarter of the remaining half for writing music, adding up to 62.5 percent total. Bassist Eric Avery said he and the other band members, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins, were stunned by Farrell's demands. Farrell refused to compromise. One day Jerden drove up to the studio to find Farrell, Navarro, and Perkins leaving; Farrell told him that the band had broken up and that there would be no record. Warner Bros. called an emergency meeting to resolve the situation. Farrell got the royalty percentage he sought, and the other band members received 12.5 percent each. Avery said the incident had a profound effect on the band, creating an internal fracture.
Not long after the royalties dispute, Farrell and Avery (who had formed the band together) had a falling out. This was the result of Avery's newfound sobriety as well as an incident where Farrell believed that the bassist had drunkenly tried to pick up his girlfriend. Tensions existed in the band between all the members during recording except for Perkins, who got along with Navarro, Avery and Farrell.
The songwriting process for Nothing's Shocking varied from song to song. Navarro noted, "Some came from Eric's bass lines, some from guitar, some came from Perry, some came from drum riffs, and some just came from free-form jams. There was really no formula." Eric Avery wrote several songs, including "Mountain Song", "Had a Dad", "Jane Says", and "Summertime Rolls" (the latter two of which he also created the guitar parts for). With his songs, Avery came up with conceptual ideas for lyrics that Perry Farrell would then create the actual lyrics for; for example, "Had a Dad" dealt with Avery discovering he had a different biological father.
Several of the tracks on the album originally appeared on other releases. "Jane Says" and "Pig's in Zen" were taken from the band's 1987 debut Jane's Addiction. They were re-recorded, however, for Nothing's Shocking and feature some differences from their original versions. The Nothing's Shocking version of "Jane Says" features a steel drum while the spoken word interlude in "Pig's in Zen" is completely different from the original.
"Mountain Song" was another song not originally recorded for Nothing's Shocking, having been previously recorded and released in 1986 on the soundtrack to the film Dudes. Like "Jane Says" and "Pig's in Zen," it was re-recorded for the album. Musically it is similar to the original version, but the lyrics are sung in a higher key as to be consistent with the rest of the record. The 1986 original eventually saw a more widespread release when it was included on the band's 1997 out-take/alternate cut/live & new track compilation album Kettle Whistle.
Packaging, release and reception:
Perry Farrell created the cover image to Nothing's Shocking, which features a sculpture of a pair of nude female conjoined twins sitting on a sideways rocking chair with their heads on fire. Farrell said the image, like much of his artwork, came to him in a dream. Farrell hired Warner Bros. employees to create the cover sculpture; after learning how to create sculptures by watching them closely, he fired the Warner Bros. staff and created the artwork himself. Farrell hired someone to help create a full body casting of his girlfriend for use as the sculptures. Retailers objected to the album's cover. 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.
Nothing's Shocking was released in 1988. "Mountain Song" was released as a single; however, MTV refused to air the song's music video due to a scene containing nudity. Farrell then decided to release the music video commercially; twenty minutes of live footage was added to create the Soul Kiss home video. Due to lack of airplay on MTV and modern rock radio, the album only sold 200,000 to 250,000 copies in its first year of release.Nothing's Shocking went on, however, to sell over 1 million copies and is certified Platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA.
In a retrospective review, AllMusic's Greg Prato called Nothing's Shocking "a must-have for lovers of cutting-edge, influential, and timeless hard rock." In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at #32 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".
A remastered edition of Nothing's Shocking was released on June 19, 2012 on a 24 karat gold disc.
Other than the addition of remastering production credits and a cardboard slipcase over the standard jewel case, the liner notes and artwork are almost identical to the original release. Likewise, the tracklist remained unchanged. The most notable artwork difference between the original and the remaster is in the color of band name typeface on the cover: the original is rendered in a deep teal color with black outline while the remaster features a light grey type with purple outline.
Produced by Audio Fidelity, the remaster had a limited production run of 5,000 units. Each pressing came individually numbered.
All lyrics written by Perry Farrell, all music composed by Jane's Addiction.
"Up the Beach"
"Had a Dad"
"Ted, Just Admit It..."
"Standing in the Shower... Thinking"
"Thank You Boys"
"Pig's in Zen"
^ * Does not appear on the vinyl edition of the album.
Eric Avery - bass & acoustic guitars,
Perry Farrell - vocals, piano,
Dave Navarro - electric & acoustic guitars,
Stephen Perkins - drums, percussion,
Angelo Moore - saxophone,
Flea - trumpet,
Christopher Dowd - trombone,
Dave Jerden - production, mixing, & recording engineer,
Perry Farrell - production, mixing,
Ronnie S. Champagne - recording engineer,
Andy Harper - recording engineer,
Jeff Piergeorge - second recording engineer,
Steve Hall - mastering (original album),
Kevin Gray - mastering (2012 remastered album),
Perry Farrell - album design, sculpture and photography,
Casey Niccoli - art assistant, photography,
Kevin Westenberg - band photography,
Kim Champagne - art hostess,
Paul Fisher - castings,
Roberta Ballard - production coordinator (2012 remastered album),
United Kingdom (BPI)
United States (RIAA)
sales figures based on certification alone, shipments figures based on certification alone
Billboard Top 200
Modern Rock Tracks