At Home With Jane’s Addiction, 1988, In The Loder Files

A classic alt-rock band on the rise.

Where do old interviews go to die? Since 1988 they’ve gone into the MTV News vault, but we’ve been exhuming them to bring you these classic natterings. Here’s the latest in the series, which runs every Tuesday.

Jane’s Addiction had already created substantial buzz with their 1987 indie debut, a raw live album recorded at the Roxy, in the group’s native Los Angeles. Warner Bros. snatched them up, and the following year released the band’s first studio record, a major sonic step forward called Nothing’s Shocking. We happened to be in L.A. prior to the album’s release, heard an advance tape, and set up an interview with the group in the grotty storefront space where they were living with a large chicken.

It was a very late-’80s sort of experience. Perry Farrell, the singer, and Dave Navarro, the shred-master guitarist, were partial to big swashbuckler hats and (I’m just guessing here) mood-improving substances. The other two members — Eric Avery, the bassist, and Stephen Perkins, the fearsome drummer — seemed notably happy, too. And no wonder: Nothing’s Shocking, crowned with the resounding “Mountain Song,” went on to become an alt-rock classic, and still sounds good today.

Farrell had the two mannequins on hand that were featured on the album cover, so we stuck his noggin between theirs and did a true talking-head interview. Then we assembled the whole band in and around the old-fashioned bathtub that was an odd feature of the pad they were inhabiting. Farrell made a pitch for the 13-year-old-girl audience, told a few lies (“We’re not loud”) and advised fans to “leave home as quick as you can.” The chicken was never explained.

Enjoy digging through The Loder Files? You’ll find more here, and there’s much more to come from the vaults — check back every Tuesday!