With founding member Perry Farrell (vocals) setting up the latest edition of Lollapalooza, and lead guitarist Dave Navarro’s work with prime-time reality show, Rock Star (basically a dating game for aging rockers hooking up with some young blood), you’d forget that these guys were once part of America’s most revered rock acts of the late eighties.
Their latest release, Up from the Catacombs: The Best Of, is a powerful reminder of how far ahead Jane’s Addiction’s work was during their time of reign. Jane’s musical prowl-ness borrowed from early punk acts like Black Flag, and Bad Brains, while mixing it all together with Zeppelin-esque fantasy. They were a vicious, raw voice of the pre-grunge era, pissed at what ’80s hair metal turned rock ‘n’ roll into: accessible mediocrity.
Catacombs wisely sticks to Jane’s early work which best showcases Ferrell’s unconventional primal screech, Navarro’s raunchy, fluttering guitar work, and the pounding, tribal beat makers of Stephen Perkins (Drums), and Eric Avery (Bass). Featured tracks include the rampage anthem “Stop!,” their break-out single “Been Caught Stealing,” their final single 2003’s “Superhero,” two tracks that equal their epic song titles “Ocean Size,” “Mountain Song,” and the straight up rock hustle “Whore.” Fittingly, their final album ends with a live calypso version of their theme song “Jane Says” from the first Lollapalooza tour which best exemplifies of how experimental Jane’s had got near the end of their career.
Sadly, Catacombs doesn’t contain any rare or previously unreleased material (not even a DVD) to entice hardcore fans. It’s merely meant to introduce a generation into a band that paved the way for the likes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam. (Warner Bros./Rhino)