This is part 1 in a 4 part article series about our trip out to L.A. to see Jane’s Addiction. We’re posting one part per day over the next four days.
How do two guys who live near the Great Lakes get out to Los Angeles to see Jane’s Addiction? By going to North Carolina of course! Well, that’s at least what Mike and I did. We met up at the airport in Charlotte, NC for our flight to LAX. Thanks to a little bit of seat switching, Mike and I were able to sit together. We were both groggy from lack of sleep, but we were excited at what the day would bring. We had five and a half hours to talk Jane’s and make our plans for our two-day adventure in L.A. Of course not all our plans would work out, but neither of us is complaining. This was the start of an amazing journey.
I’ll avoid making a bad Miley Cyrus reference here, once we landed at LAX, I made a few calls to confirm our hotel arrangements and we grabbed a cab. While I’m not well versed in cabs, I don’t recall the last cab that I was in having no foot room, but I do remember how insane cab rides are. Twenty minutes, fifty dollars and countless grey hairs later, we were in Hollywood.
After checking into the Roosevelt, we headed out to grab some lunch, but first swung by The Bardot to chat with other Jane’s fans and check out to see how many were already in line. It was close to 2pm PDT at this time, and there was only around eight people waiting out in the sun. We talked with two cool guys named Sean and Pete who were the first two there. Sean, who had slept in his van overnight to ensure his spot in line, recommended an Irish pub at the corner named Dillon’s for Mike and I to eat lunch at. This was spot on, as the scenery, food and beer selection was superb.
Mike and I headed back to The Bardot around 4pm to thank Sean for his excellent recommendation. By now the line appeared to have grown significantly. We ran into the Jane’s guitar tech Dan Cleary, a guy who turns out to be even more awesome in person than he already does via Dark Matter and Twitter. We chat with him for a while, discussing all sorts of things, including Dan and Mike’s impending nuptials. We also learn that one of the new tunes the guys did with Eric on bass and Trent Reznor producing, I’ll Protect You, was never completed, as the band was unhappy with its progression. Dan tells us to stop back by The Bardot a little later and he’d see about getting us in for sound check.
We headed back to the Roosevelt to get a little rest. Mike had been up since 11pm EDT the previous night, and I was going on about two hours of sleep myself, so a little bit of rest was exactly what we needed. That and beer, and while it may be $20 for a 12pk on Hollywood Blvd, that was still better than $6/bottle in our hotel room. So we got a little bit of rest and a little more beer inside us.
I got a text from Dan around 5:30 telling us to head back down to The Bardot, and if it was cool with the guys, he’d grab us for the sound check. We got there just before 6, and Dan came out and Mike and I were brought inside.
This was our first glimpse of how small and intimate a venue The Bardot is. Right in front of the stage is a pair of large u-shaped couches, with a few other couches to the left of the stage where we were at, and then another one toward the right. The whole place was decked out for Cinco de Mayo. Of course we didn’t notice that right away as Dave, Steve and Duff were on stage! Perry made his way down shortly thereafter.
The guys sounded just incredible, very tight and comfortable. This was our first taste of what the night was going to bring. I didn’t write down exactly what they played in sound check, and we missed the first song or two, but I know they jammed out Pigs In Zen, Had A Dad, Ain’t No Right and two new tunes, Soul Mate and Broken People. Mike and I were beside ourselves, as we’d just become part of a small set of people to hear the new songs that Jane’s had been working on, and these new songs did not disappoint. I was tempted to tweet that my gut feeling was we’d definitely hear something new at the show, but held off. Mike had asked about taping the sound check and the show itself. We got the go ahead on the show, but were asked not to record the sound check since the guys were still working on the songs.
How did the new songs sound? I think they sounded great, and cannot wait to hear the finished product. Obviously by now you’ve probably heard Soul Mate, and I think that we’re finding Perry’s lyrics are getting much deeper than some of his more recent work. That goes double for Broken People, which during the reminded me a lot more of pre-Relapse era Jane’s Addiction. From what we’re told, and what we could see, the band is still putting on the final touches for these two new tunes, and I have a feeling they are only going to get better.
During sound check, my cell phone starts going off. It was a Cali number not in my phone, so I didn’t answer it, but two minutes later it rang again. I sent it to voicemail once again, but decided to text them. Not knowing who it was, if it was a JA fan hoping Mike and I could hook them up with VIP passes or someone actually trying to get a hold of me. “I’m in the Bardot, can’t hear my phone.” Turns out it was a very nice woman named Melissa with our VIP wristbands.
After the sound check, we were able to talk with the guys briefly, and got to meet Duff McKagan for the first time. Duff is a damn cool guy, and brought a powerful genuine vibe to the band. Not to knock Flea, Martyn or Cheney, but I really think Duff fits into the mix very well and I can’t think of anyone else who could step up to the plate and fill in Eric Avery’s shoes so convincingly, so perfectly. Duff was also incredibly nice, a total class act. We had nothing but praise for him.
Mike had previously met the guys, but this was my first time in person. To be honest, after running a Jane’s Addiction fansite for 15 years, and of course being a fan for over twenty years, I was a little nervous at first, but it was such a relaxed environment that my nervousness didn’t last. We all know and love the music, we’ve seen them in pictures, on TV and on stage, and sometimes communicated with them through the use of technology, but nothing compares to meeting someone in person. Again, all the guys were nicer and cooler than you could imagine. I knew they had a show to do that night, so I didn’t hold them up. I also got to meet Etty, who is even more beautiful in person than I expected. She too is a total class act. I didn’t think it was even possible, but I was instantly a bigger fan of this band than ever before.
Mike and I headed outside for some fresh air and to chat with some of the people we’d met before. We also met up with Vikkivale, LizardWiz and got to meet Barton. We shared what we’d heard in the sound check, and indicated that we felt there was a good chance we’d hear new stuff that night. By this point, the line was quite strong, and ran well down the block.
After a bit, we headed back inside so Mike could setup for taping the show. Unfortunately his analog recorder couldn’t be connected into the soundboard, so we picked a good spot close to the stage and camped out. We’d flown over 2600 miles to see Jane’s Addiction, and that’s what we were there to do.
Continued in Part 2