There are a lot of casualties of the nineties. Unable to get beyond the decade of grunge and post-grunge, we see Dave Navarro, a reality TV whore who rivals only Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers for awry lady mask face plastic surgery.
Parry Farrell meanwhile is fairing much better, sure he's shilling for shoes but, he looks pretty good and has actually done some good in the world (according to wikipedia “In December 2001, Farrell risked his life by flying into politically troubled Sudan with other members of Christian Solidarity International to negotiate the release of Sudanese slaves. Jane's Addiction donated their earning from one concert for the redemption of over 2,300 people. Once the redemption agreement was signed, Farrell started up freedom parties at various redemption sites.”). With all this do-good-ing on one side and lameness on the other, it's easy to forget how influential, inventive, cool and seemingly dangerous they once were.
The band was a literal symbol of rebellion for me in junior high and high school. When learning pointillism in art class, I painted the cover of Nothing's Shocking in tiny dots. When my mom wouldn't allow me to buy and wear the same shirt, Bill, who had a crush on me at the time, daringly got it for me for my birthday. Ritual de lo Habitual's cover was also controversial, sparking Walmart to demand a “clean” version on which they printed the first amendment.
It's been awhile since I've held teen angst inside and almost as long since I've spent anytime with a Jane's Addiction album and I am happy to report that the music stands up. Short and sweet and cohesive, Ritual de lo Habitual, which was written in honor of a friend, Xiola Bleu who died of a heroin overdose and it's appropriately haunting and pretty spacey… and still sound like something that could terrify parents (“so get your f-ing piss cup out of my f-ing face”).
Some songs here are genuine masterpieces like the epic Three Days that still makes me want to become a drummer when I listen to it. Of Course is still stirring in it's Eastern influence. The album is also home to the band's biggest hit Been Caught Stealing. Was a number one hit for a few weeks, with it's popularity surely helped along by it's trippy video which was directed with hyper color splash by Farrell's then girlfriend and muse Casey Niccoli.