i've usually kept this blog just to comics and tried to keep it well focused, but tonight i realized that i had to post this.
I've known plenty of artists who were total video heads, who could keep the tv going in the background next to their drawing board and just look over occasionally. Ron Lim and Howard Simpson were two like that. I couldn't do that at all. I was the music freak, listening to music as a way to psych myself up or down as necessary, to keep me going on the late night deadlines, to add the soundtrack to the panels and images that i was creating. Each note somehow made the ink lines make a little more sense.
Jane's Addiction was at the forefront of literally decades of artwork on my part. Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Perk and Eric Avery were so much more than the sum of their parts with that band that they created their own little music reality. For those of us who loved them, they took the stature of The Who, or Zeppelin or the Stones for our generation.
I saw them twice back in the day and, sadly, was underwhelmed by the sound system, by that particular night's performance. I've sat through various incarnations of the band, with Flea or Martyn sitting in on bass for Avery during his 20 year feud with Perry and wished that i had had the chance to see them the way i had discovered some other bands: in a small club with all that energy, all that fucking over the top bottled up youth and noise and sex energy ready to burst and bust and explode all over the stage energy bouncing off of the ceiling and back into the crowd.
So it seem that they're playing again. At the el cid tonight down in LA, pretty much only to family and friends, maybe with a few fans coming in, but basically at a club that holds 150 people and you're standing in line for 9 hours on the hope and wing and prayer that you get in.
Except that you can't do that now. You're not a slacker working at Kinko's so taht you can knock out a cheap zine at 3am when no one is counting the paper stock. You're not closing down the bar and then going to sit in line on the pavement for 24 hours so that you can get in to see your favorite band. You're married and you have kids and a mortgage and a job and the time when that music seemed so vital seems like a long time away.
I loved these guys, and it did sit on the pavement back in 1997, drawing backgrounds on the JG Jones' Shi:The Series so that i could make my deadlines, for 8 hours back then to see the best of all the shows that i personally witnessed, and to see the crowd pull the MTV camera in to the pit just to fuck with the corporate tools who were sucking off of Jane's reunion with Flea. I love them, but its not 1988 again and Nothings Shocking is shocking, shocking that it is putting Poison and Def Leppard and all the other hair metal bands into wheelchairs and pushing them gleefully down the stairs to split their skulls open. "If you've got some big fucking secret, then why don't you sing ME something?"
I love these guys, but its not 1988. If they want to play again, I'll absolutely go see them, but it won't be transcendent, it won't change my life (again), and it had better not be the same 20 year old material. For their sakes, i hope that they write some new material and move on. We're not the same, they're not the same.
It was said so well in all the longing post mortems that surfaced in the wake of the band's breakup, "No one listens to Jane's anymore, because Jane's was the fuck soundtrack for a generation that has broken up."