US rock band Jane’s Addiction will return to Australia this week for the first time in over a decade, with the founding members on stage together for the first time in years – sans Dave Navarro, who is still suffering from Long COVID.
Fans reacted with disappointment when Navarro announced he would not be touring with the band for their US shows with Smashing Pumpkins late last year. Troy Van Leeuwen, guitarist for Queens of the Stone Age, has been filling in, but with previous QOTSA commitments, Navarro’s replacement for the Australian leg of the tour is former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer.
“I spoke to Dave about two days ago, he is doing fine,” Jane’s Addiction vocalist Perry Farrell says. “He’s feeling better, and we are going to be seeing each other in a month’s time, when we get back from Australia.”
The band is currently working on new music, hoping to complete their new album by the end of this year.
“So far it’s the core band, and my vote is to have Josh and Troy, and if we can fit in Daniel (Ash) as well, that would be wonderful too,” Farrell says. “But I know for sure that we’re all down for starting this recording, and we’re hoping to get the recording wrapped up by the end of the year.”
Bassist Eric Avery has returned to the band after a 12-year absence. It’s a reconciliation that was facilitated by late Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins, before his passing last March.
“The seed was really planted by Taylor as an intermediary between Perry and I,” Avery says. “He facilitated a conversation that Perry and I had, which was one of the best conversations that (we) had in decades.”
Up until that point, ever, Farrell interjects. “Except for maybe when we first were hanging, and first just dreaming,” he adds.
“That sort of planted the seed of the rapprochement and building bridges, and then when Perry reached out some months later to talk to me about touring, I actually thought that he was reaching out because he wanted to do a song about Taylor or something,” Avery continues. “I didn’t know why Perry was reaching out, and I just assumed that it was about our shared love of Taylor, so I feel like his spirit is just all over this, and the fact that he so desperately wanted us all to play again… and he really wanted Perry and I to connect again; it’s all just his wish for Jane’s Addiction has come to fruition.”
Their reunion may have been a long time coming, but Avery, Farrell and drummer Stephen Perkins all agree their dynamic now is better than it has ever been following their most recent tours.
“We really got to be friends and really got to know each other as men – we really never had done that before, believe it or not,” Farrell says. “And that really bled into the music, and into the performance. We’re tight, man.”
The US tour with the Pumpkins wasn’t without its challenges for the band: Navarro was unable to return, then Farrell received a back injury and was forced to cancel five shows. But, with the band’s new relationship, any setbacks have only strengthened their bond.
“You can’t predict when things like that happen, and so you just have to hope that you have a great support system around you to allow you to heal,” Farrell says. “Everybody was there; Eric was texting me all the time, ‘I’ve got your back, man, and we’re gonna fuckin’ do this,’ and it helped me to get stronger and stronger and stronger.”
It’s an approach the band is also applying to Navarro’s Long COVID recovery, allowing him to return to full health so he can return to the fold “fired up.”
“We used to face things alone, and what happened on the last tour, we finally faced things together,” Perkins says. “And if it’s a back injury, or somebody needs a minute before they get back on the tour bus or on a plane, we can all look at the problem or the solution together, and really be a band united. I think that’s what you’re doing to hear and see in the future of Jane’s Addiction, is a unit I don’t even think existed in 1986.”
Perkins has previously stated the band’s reunion shows made him feel 20 years old again.
“I feel just as I did when we wrote the songs; I feel that it’s timeless, the music… So when we’re playing I really don’t feel like I’m ageing at all – it feels like I’m getting younger,” he explains. “I don’t know what I look like to other people, but I’m happy when I’m playing. If you can find something you love and do it every day with the friends… Yeah, it keeps me young.”
At this point, Avery – who is currently nursing a knee injury, which he says is testament to the 110% the band gives on stage – interjects. “I would just say when I’m on stage I too feel like I’m 20,” he says. “And when I’m done, I feel like I’m 70.”
Perkins likens being a performing musician to a competitive athlete, whose body may hurt after a match, but they always return because they love it.
“You think about Angus Young, and what he’s done to his body and his knees and his back – but it wasn’t a sacrifice for him – he did it for us, but the music made him do it,” he says. “But I bet the two years of the pandemic and not doing it made him grow old more than touring and banging himself up, because that’s what keeps you young, man – it’s the music.”
Farrell says that, with the type of show Jane’s Addiction performs, anybody who went through what they do for 60 or 90 minutes on stage would be hurting for a week or so.
“You’re talking about a guy who has sticks in his hand; he’s wailing away on all these things, hitting them as hard as he can trying to stay in a rhythm and listing to the rest of the band, and kind of mesh sound,” he says. “Eric is driving the original lick, or line, and we all jump on that line and ride it, like we’re riding a wild steer – that’s what it feels like.”
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It’s this level of energy, connection, and renewed enthusiasm the band will bring to the Australian leg of The World Is A Vampire tour. Although it has been a while since the band played a festival Down Under, they have fond memories of their past shows here.
“You know what I miss? I miss the good old Big Day Out, man,” Farrell says. “That was a heyday, as far as I’m concerned, for Australia and live music. Big Day Out was awesome.”
There is another element to these shows that both Farrell and Perkins are particularly keen to see: touring support Amyl and the Sniffers – particularly lead vocalist, Amy Taylor.
“I’m excited, and I sure hope that she’s going to show up,” Farrell says. “I’ve seen ‘em live – I went with my son – they’re awesome. I think she’s going to be something… She already is something great. She’s something special.”
Perkins adds that his wife had a crush on Taylor about a year ago. “And then all of a sudden we’re playing with them, so there you go,” he laughs. “You get what you wish for.”
The band is also looking forward to catching up with The Smashing Pumpkins in Australia – particularly Jack Bates and Jimmy Chamberlin – but Perkins says he can’t wait to reignite the fire the band has been performing with.
“We just did 10 shows actually – five in America and five in South America – but all the shows in the last two or three weeks have been really great, including the Los Angeles Palladium homecoming show we did,” he says. “It’s just so fun to play these songs, and it feels like it is a new band – it’s a really fresh young band again.”
It’s a vibrancy they hope to take into the studio for their next record.
“To take all this energy and funnel it into song writing – that’s all I want, is new music,” Perkins adds. “I love playing the old stuff, because it’s like a rollercoaster ride – it’s fun – but the new stuff, that’s really the achievement we’re looking for.”
More information about The World Is A Vampire Tour is available here.