This is part 4 in a 4 part article series about our trip out to L.A. to see Jane’s Addiction.
Mike and I now have an hour to get from the fourth floor basement of the Los Angeles Public Library in Downtown L.A. back to Hollywood and find the Guitar Center on Sunset. We return our research sources with a bit of a heavy heart, knowing that there was some golden info about classic Jane’s shows to be found, yet without hesitation as we were about to see Jane’s Addiction perform again for the second time in less than 24 hours. We had no idea what they were doing at Guitar Center, but it didn’t matter. They wanted us there, and we wanted to be there.
We haul ass back to the subway station and catch the first train back to Hollywood. Mike preps his recorder on the chance that we get to interview any of the guys or tape this recording. Our map is of little help, as while we have the address, the map doesn’t show block numbers. My phone was also no help as there was no service in the tunnels. So we ask a few of our fellow subway riders who are nice enough to try and help us, although none of them knew exactly where Guitar Center was. They were helpful enough to suggest a stop where we were most likely able to catch a cab, the spot right near our hotel.
The train pulls in, and we haul our asses up the stairs as fast as possible. It didn’t matter that we’d already walked a good five miles that day. We’ve got twenty minutes to get to guitar center. I plug the address into my phone to get directions; we’re about six blocks away. “Fuck it”, we grab a cab. We’d already walked at least five miles that day, and another two or three the night before.
The cab gets us to the Guitar Center on Sunset with about ten minutes to spare. We walk in and the guy at the front wants Mike to check his bag. He explains we’re there to see Jane’s Addiction and he lets Mike hold onto the bag after searching it. We head toward the vintage guitar room, and two big, stoic looking security dudes in suits stop us at the stairs. “We’re here to see Jane’s, the band invited us.” I’m guessing these guys hear this line all the time. They go to check the list; neither of us is on it. Fuck. I explain we just got the call to head there and a nice girl heads downstairs to double check, meanwhile we get to sign a release in case we end up on camera. The nice girl comes back confirming we’re supposed to be there and we head on down.
No sooner do we walk in the room do we see Etty Lau Farrell. She’s watching her sons play around with Perry in the other room on a pair of 3D TVs. This is when we’re given the details about the taping and find out Jane’s is being filmed in 3D. Not the janky post-production 3D add-on, but everything will actually be filmed in “Avatar” style high-def 3D. We briefly get to talk with Dave, Steve and Duff, and then Perry invites us upstairs. We’re heading out of the vintage guitar room and now the previously uber-serious looking security guards have nothing but friendly smiles for us.
We head upstairs above the main area of Guitar Center and grab a spot on a couch. Here we got to spend a good twenty minutes or so hanging out and bullshitting with Perry, Dave, Steve, Duff, Etty, Dan Cleary, the band’s manager, the Farrell’s sons and a handful of other people. Mike and I even find out that the Farrell’s stayed in the same hotel as us the night before. Etty mentions that their room wasn’t all that great as they heard noise from the elevator the whole night. Mike jokes that they should have come and seen us, and that we’d have gladly swapped rooms with them, or taken care of the noisemakers. On our way back downstairs before the taping we get to talk to Duff a little more. We share our kind words for the previous night’s performance. Duff is such a cool and nice guy, total class.
Mike and I head back down to the vintage guitar room with the band for the taping. There were already about two dozen people inside, but we were still able to grab seats right in the middle of the room. Score! The room has very limited space for an audience, and there couldn’t have been more than thirty-five people there including us when the band got started.
As they prepare for taping, it is explained that this is for a new series on DirecTV called Guitar Center Sessions, and that it is being filmed in high-def 3D. Bands will come in and be interviewed by the show’s host and play a handful of songs. In this instance, Jane’s Addiction is playing semi-acoustically, with Duff playing some songs on electric bass, and others on an acoustic guitar. We had previously asked if it would be cool to record this show, but were told no.
Here is a rough play-by-play of the recording:
Note: We’re not going to get into the between song Q & A too much in this review, you’ll just have to wait for the show to premier for that. Suffice to say there were some interesting and amusing moments in it, and it wasn’t your typical fluff piece.
Ain’t No Right – What a great way to open this session! Duff is playing an electric bass and Dave has his acoustic in hand. Duff hammers out the song’s bass line with authority. Perry is singing it in a sort of lounge style, kind of like he did in the BCS outtake on Kettle Whistle. Dave playing it acoustically is a sight to see, and more importantly hear. It changes the whole vibe of the song almost to the point of making it a new song. The whole band is playing in a very relaxed and fun style, and I feel so lucky to be one of the few in the room to witness it.
Broken People – Another new song! The band was originally going to play this at The Bardot instead of Soul Mate, but decided to change things up at the last minute. Duff switches out to an acoustic guitar and the band starts playing, but Duff quickly stops them. He’s got the wrong guitar and it isn’t in the right tuning. Dan Cleary rushes into action to try and find the right guitar for Duff, but it is missing. It turns out someone else moved it behind the video cameras. The band makes a few jokes about it being Dan’s fault, but it wasn’t. After that is all sorted out, the band restarts the song. This will get taken out in the editing room.
With the right instruments in hand, the song sounds infinitely better. Of the two new songs, this one feels a lot more solid and has the artier old-school Jane’s feel to it. This is probably because the band says it is further along in the song creation process than Soul Mate. It harkens back to a favorite of mine Suffer Some. Not because the music is similar, but because of the dark subject matter. It’s also similar because it sort of tells a story like Suffer Some does. I think the old school Jane’s heads are going to eat this one up when they hear it. I know I did!
Been Caught Stealing – Once again Duff really shined here back on the electric bass. I honestly can’t remember loving hearing this song played as much as I did in years. Perry really gets into this one, and I’m instantly reminded of the way the band used to it back in ’90-’91. You’ll have to wait for the show to air to see / hear what I’m talking about because honestly the words escape me. But make no mistake it was badass!
City – The instant the band finishes BCS, Dave asks, “Hey Perry, do you remember this one?” and breaks into an impromptu performance of City. Perry joins in, and a few seconds later Stephen joins the fray brining this classic to life. Duff looked like he really wanted to play along, but I don’t think this is one the band have worked on during rehearsal. It looked like he was having a good time watching this amazing moment in Jane’s Addiction history, and to me its proof positive that he’s a fan of this band. Mike and I are just awestruck and probably enjoying this more than anyone else in the audience. After the band finish the song Dave tells Mike “You’re going to have to change your shorts after that one.” Dave was of course right, and Mike left that pair of shorts in the wastebasket for housekeeping to deal with. Dave confirmed after the show that this was the first time the band had performed this song live since Perry and he did it in a studio together back in ‘88. That recording wound up on Soul Kiss and years later the Kettle Whistle release. Mike says, and I agree, if this gets lost in the editing room, it will be criminal.
Afterward, to our complete amazement, Perry starts talking about JanesAddiction.org and specifically mentions the work Mike has been doing on detailing the band’s live performance history. He calls Mike a historian, and if you are at all familiar with the work he’s been doing with our live section and the Chip Away section in our forums, you’ll know exactly why. Perry also mentions that the band flew us out for the Bardot show. Neither of us was expecting any sort of shout out, and as Mike describes it: we were “shocked, blown away and very proud” of that moment.
The band breaks for a bit to switch out instruments, and setup the Perkins’ steel drum. That can only mean one thing.
Jane Says – Another classic Jane’s Addiction song. Many would argue it’s the band’s “signature song”, and I suppose it is. Duff is back on the acoustic guitar for this one. His playing is really nice here and while he puts his stamp on it it’s not in any way a bad thing. Watching these guys play this in a room with so few others is really a treat, and for once most likely due to the taping you don’t have to hear the audience singing along. It’s such a beautifully written song about sad time in someone’s life, but every time I hear it I can’t help but feel happy because we all know the story has a happy, if you will, ending.
To wrap up the taping, the band is asked to pretend replay a little bit of Been Caught Stealing for coverage shots to be played during the credits. Dave points out that they’ll actually have to play something, or the music won’t match up with his guitar playing, something that Guitar Center customers would likely notice not to mention the hardcore Jane’s fans. There is also a second problem; earlier they had swapped out Perk’s drum kit for the steel drum for Jane Says. So they break back into a really relaxed and fun replay of Jane Says. This is another fun little extra that will likely be hardly noticeable in the final product. Mike tells me later that this second version of Jane Says was “fucking amazing!” He asks me did I see Dave do this or do that, and describes Dave’s fingers on the neck as “a spider on crack.”
After the taping, we get to chat with some of the other people in the crowd and the band. Everyone is heading home for the night, so Mike and I say our goodbyes, and thanked everyone once again for brining us out to L.A. as we were heading home the next morning. This was simply an amazing trip.
Bonus Part Five:
Mike and I walked back to our hotel still in awe of what we’d just witnessed. The only thing that could have topped what we saw was if they had thrown in My Time, but then Mike might have needed to be restrained as he’d have just exploded. We stop by our room to drop off my laptop and his recorder, have a few beers and get ready to head out to dinner.
It may have been a bit more of a walk, but we headed back to Dillon’s Irish Pub. Again, they have an incredible beer selection and awesome food, and along the way we also remembered how attractive their waitresses are. Yeah, the food and beer is that good.
I was able to talk Mike out of it on the way to dinner, but on the way back, likely thanks to some liquid courage, he decided to again look into getting a tattoo. We stopped by Lucky-7 Tattoo on Hollywood Blvd and met a nice girl named Marie who drew up a sketch for Mike’s ink. She liked “day of the dead” themed tattoo, and the skull from The Bardot poster was right up her alley. His tattoo came out great, and now Mike has a permanent reminder of this amazing trip of ours.
By the time we got back to our hotel, it was past 2am. We finished off the last couple of bottles of beer we had, wrapped up some online work and called it a night. We had a long flight ahead.
The next morning we were still exhausted. It had been an eventful trip, beyond anything we’d really expected. After a quick breakfast, we texted Vikkivale to say our goodbyes and so Mike could show her his new ink.
I’ve gone through some major international airports before, including Detroit Metro which has to deal with being right by the border and also has the incident this past Christmas, but LAX tops them all with their security checks. Maybe I was just over tired, but it really seemed like they spent three times as long examining each bag than anyone else. They even made me toss a small bottle that I had been able to carry on my flight out west. Mike ran into an even heavier security scan with his tape recorder.
Mike says there was a security guard explaining some of their procedures at LAX, but that he was unable to hear her. He thinks he wouldn’t have had any problem with security if he had, because he found out after the fact that she was telling everyone to remove all electronics from their bags. Not having heard her, he put his backpack on the conveyor and went through the security checkpoint. As soon as he walked through, he was escorted to a counter where his backpack was emptied and thoroughly searched. He told me when he caught up to me that they went as far as to swab the recorder for explosive residue. Mike said he thanked security for stopping him and told them he was very sorry for causing and trouble.
After that, the rest of the flight was pretty uneventful. We headed back to Charlotte, NC before catching our individual flights home.
This was simply an amazing trip, and Mike and I had the time of our lives. Never did we expect to get to see the guys perform twice. Each and everyone in the band, Etty and the band’s management were all awesome to deal with. I don’t think we can thank them enough, but we are both very excited about getting to continue working with them. Moreover, for any fan of the band, the new Jane’s Addiction is absolutely something to be excited about.