Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

3Jun/092

Opening A Cabinet of Curiosities with Jane’s Addiction

Editor's note: We're going to turn things over to my tattoo covered brother from another mother, Brian from Broken Headphones for today's post. In the following installment, Brian takes a look at the new Jane's Addiction box set A Cabinet Full of Curiosities.

Before I even start this review I have one thing to say to the members of Jane’s Addiction about this A Cabinet Of Curiosities box set that stands before me… What the hell took you guys so long??? With that said it’s time to talk about one of the more exciting box set releases I have seen this year thanks to Jane’s Addiction as well as Rhino Records and Warner Brothers Records.

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I could be brazen by saying that nothing’s shocking about the boys of Jane’s Addiction releasing a box set of worthy unreleased demos, rarities, and live footage. The truth is though as a life long fan, I have been waiting for this for years and I knew it would have to happen eventually. Featuring the original line up with Perry Farrell (vocals), Dave Navarro (guitar), Eric Avery (bass instrument), and Stephen Perkins (drums) this box set surely makes up for that terrible Strays release. With two versions of the release out there for purchase, including a deluxe edition version with a wood box modeled after a curiosity cabinet, there is plenty of music here to be heard with three CDs and one DVD.

Back in the day when I was just a young naive kid trying to find my place there was this band that seemed to change the way I would look at music forever. They were different in the sense that they did not care about what the others thought. I really felt I identified with them in that aspect, plus their music was beyond amazing. They were the start of the alternative nation, a staple to the MTV generation before it became a fake plastic cable network. They were my idols for years to come.

Seeing this box set in my hands reminds me of almost 20 years ago when I tried to be like them, memorized all their songs, and started becoming the music fan that I am. I really was excited to see that this box set was coming out as it was almost a reminder of the careless times of my life. Full of songs I adored as well as music videos to bring back countless memories of the band, this was one of those box sets I needed to listen to in its entirety.

The first disc included a selection of tracks from the band’s earliest recordings from a 1986 Radio Tokyo Demo that basically was the start of their success. True fans will appreciate hearing the original young Jane’s Addiction, I know I did. Granted some of the songs appeared on (I believe) Kettle Whistle, but not all of them.

“L.A. Melody” was an impressive live track on the second disc showcasing Jane’s Addiction covering the Doors’ “L.A. Woman”, X’s “Nausea” and the Germs’ “Lexicon Devil” live in just less than four minutes. The song may not be a unreleased track as it previously appeared on the 1991 Live & Rare release, but it is certainly a gem I had long since forgotten about.

Hearing a dated Jane’s take on The Stooge’s “1970” was enjoyable as was the interesting “Bobhaus”, a random track featuring the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” sung over the music of Bauhaus’ “Burning From The Inside”. Trust me; you’ll need to hear this song for yourself.

The third disc was the best disc in my opinion thanks to a well recorded live Jane’s Addiction performance that was originally created in 1990 for MTV Italy (back when MTV was actually considered cool). Having never actually seen the original Jane’s Addiction line-up live, this CD was more evidence to me how insane this band was in their glory days and sounded top notch.

I found myself laughing when midway through the third disc when Farrell declared “That’s the first time I hit my own self in the balls” right before breaking into “Been Caught Stealing.” Maybe it was the illegal substances he ingested or just a pure accident, either way it was something to laugh at. I listened to this disc start to finish and loved the entire set list including “Three Days”, Whores”, and Mountain Song”. If you are questioning whether or not you should buy this box set, disc three is the answer on why you should.

One of the biggest disappointments of this box set is the lack of Perry Farrell’s delirious heroin driven cult smash flick Gift, which is nowhere to be found on the DVD. Previous to the release I had heard hints that the movie would be a part of the DVD making the release even more thrilling for me. Sadly it was omitted but I hope one day to see it pop up on DVD. I still kick myself for selling the VHS version I once had.

Still, the DVD itself had its entertaining moments with the home video-like Soul Kiss making its first appearance on DVD. Filmed in 1988, the footage shows the band flooded with illegal substances getting into mischief from moments like Perry Farrell and then-girlfriend Nicole firing bottle rockets in the bedroom with their pet rooster to Dave Navarro’s illusory smacking of an eel repeatedly on a counter. It was strange to see the original line-up so young again but it also brought back so many memories from the first time my young eyes saw it on VHS.

The music videos that finally made it to DVD were great to see again too. Even if MTV overplayed the hell out of “Been Caught Stealing” to the point I would shut the TV off as a youth I still watched it again this time around. Unedited and in their glory, fans can reminisce their youth by watching “Classic Girl”, “Stop!”, an well as “Ain’t No Right” and newcomers can see why this band was such an important act of the early Nineties.

Three live videos also appear from the 1990 MTV Italy performance, previously heard on disc 3, giving me even a better sense of how awesome that show must have been. I wish they would have just included the entire performance though; it just would have made more sense.

This release is more for the old school Jane’s Addiction fans who fed upon Nothing’s Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual in the 90’s. Newer fans I think will enjoy it but it would be a wiser choice for them to just pick up the band's earlier studio releases before venturing into the unreleased demo realm. The remixed and remastered box set carries pristine audio quality throughout making the contents even that more meaningful to any Gen-X Jane’s Addiction loving fan.

I really hope that Cabinet Of Curiosities is just a release by the original members of Jane’s Addiction to tide fans over until they release new material. I recently read a rumor that NIN’s Trent Reznor might be working with them on a new album; after all he did invite them to play with him on the NIN/JA tour this year. With the NIN/JA tour looking quite successful so far I hope that Jane’s takes a hint and busts out some new material with hopes that it will be as striking as their older material is to me.

Jane's Addiction: A Cabinet of Curiosities (order via Amazon)

Track listing CD/DVD:

Disc 1

"Jane Says (Radio Tokyo Demo)" *

"Pigs in Zen (Radio Tokyo Demo)"

"Mountain Song (Radio Tokyo Demo)"

"Had a Dad (Radio Tokyo Demo)"

"I Would for You (Radio Tokyo Demo)"

"Idiots Rule (Demo)" *

"Classic Girl (Demo)" *

"Up the Beach (Demo)" *

"Suffer Some (Demo)" *

"Thank You Boys (Demo)" *

"Summertime Rolls (Demo)" *

"City (Demo)" *

"Ocean Size (Demo)" *

"Stop! (Demo)" *

"Standing in the Shower...Thinking (Demo)" *

"Ain't No Right (Demo)" *

"Three Days (Demo)" *

Disc 2

"Ted, Just Admit It... (Demo)" *

"Maceo (Demo)" *

"No One's Leaving (Demo)" *

"My Time (Rehearsal)" *

"Been Caught Stealing (12" Remix Version)"

"Ripple"

"Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey" (feat. Ice-T & Ernie-C)

"L.A. Medley: L.A. Woman/Nausea/Lexicon Devil (Live 1989)"

"Kettle Whistle (Live 1987)" *

"Whole Lotta Love (Live 1987)" *

"1970 (Live 1987)" *

"Bobhaus (Live 1989)" *

Disc 3

Live at the Palladium 12/19/90

"Drum Intro (Live)" *

"Up the Beach (Live)"

"Whores (Live)" *

"1% (Live)" *

"No One's Leaving (Live)"

"Ain't No Right (Live)"

"Then She Did... (Live)" *

"Had a Dad (Live)" *

"Been Caught Stealing (Live)" *

"Three Days (Live)"

"Mountain Song (Live)" *

"Stop! (Live)"

"Summertime Rolls (Live)" *

"Ocean Size (Live)" *

DVD

Soul Kiss

"Mountain Song" (Unedited Version)

"City"

Music videos

"Had a Dad"

"Ocean Size"

"Stop!"

"Been Caught Stealing"

"Classic Girl"

"Ain't No Right"

Live at the City Square in Milan (for MTV Italy, October 1990)

"Whores" *

"Then She Did..." *

"Three Days" *

(* indicates previously unreleased tracks)

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