In some ways, it's not fair to compare the first Jane's Addiction records, Nothing's Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual, with the band's new album, Strays.
When Ritual came out in 1990, there was a reason the band's music oozed with danger and raw sexuality. Frontman Perry Farrell and guitarist Dave Navarro were both indulging in hard drugs and sleeping around nightly, if not hourly.
"When we were on tour, we had nights where we didn't know where we were," guitarist Dave Navarro admitted. "We woke up in places where we didn't know who we were with. How many times can you experience the drugs and the girls and the touring and the tantrums and the egos?"
After years of relapses and shattered reunions, Jane's Addiction are mentally clean and physically reconnected. Musically, they still swim through oceans of sensuality and open-minded exploration on Strays, due July 22. But freed from the wild lives they were leading and the mountains of dope they were consuming, the new Jane's are healthier, friendlier and more determined to change the world.
"Our scope is a lot wider now," frontman Perry Farrell said. "We're still on the road, but it's no longer about 'What can I do tonight?' It's more like, 'What can I do with the entire world tomorrow?' "
"I think the celebrations are bigger now," drummer Stephen Perkins added. "We're married and have kids. You can take those kinds of great victories into the music, and you don't have to party all night to get there anymore."
The band's new philosophy echoes prominently through songs like "Hypersonic," which is about the advantages of alternative fuels, and the first single, "Just Because," which promotes unmotivated generosity (see "Jane's Addiction Vow To Be Nice To Fans, Make Them Bagels 'Just Because' "). Farrell said becoming a parent has inspired his lyrical direction.
"Being alone and learning is learning for sure," he said. "But when you get to be a father, then you come to realize that the earth is yours for the moment. You've rented it from your kid. And you've gotta prepare it, kind of like you're making a birthday party. You're setting things up, making sure that the trees are right, making sure that there's real great grass. The scope is real wide. You can still party, man. But you just gotta make sure to keep the ocean blue."
"We're more interested these days in asking how we can be of service to others in our lives," clarified Navarro. "And that's really exciting. I've never experienced a family of my own or a home life, but now I have that and it's a brand new experience and still a celebration. It's just much deeper."