Kettle Whistle is the first post-Ritual release by Jane’s Addiction. Released by Warner Brothers Records on November 4, 1997 in North America and on December 1, 1997 in the UK, this album features a collection both new and classic Jane’s Addiction material.
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea appears on the new material found on this album, taking over bass duties for Eric Avery who was not interested in being part of the 1997 Relapse, however he still appears on the majority of this album. All of the new material was based on previously unreleased archived material that the band either re-recorded, or touched up and recorded new parts mixed into existing recordings for this collection.
The liner notes include numerous classic Jane’s Addiction pictures, lyrics to the songs that appear this this album, as well as an essay about Jane’s Addiction penned by Rollins Band front man, and Lollapalooza ’91 alumnus, Henry Rollins:
Jane’s Addiction was one of the truly great bands. From a decade that will be remembered musically as the one that gave us new wave and all those hair bands, Jane’s was a stand-out whose records still deliver and whose shows are still talked about years later.
The band’s Warner Bros. efforts, “Nothing’s Shocking” and “Ritual De Lo Habitual”, are brilliant but in my opinion never captured the soul-expanding gift that the band delivered live. That being said, I think it would be hard for any band to capture such a brilliant thing in the studio. Jane’s was a band that needed to be seen to be heard to feel the full impact. The studio versions of the songs are great, but they’re nothing compared to what they became at a Jane’s Addiction concert when the songs mixed with the moment. A song like “Three Days” on record is a great piece of work, but when you were standing in front of the PA and those big chords pounded you after the drum jam, it was incredibly moving. It was a chapter of your life. Or, when the band stepped down on “Mountain Song”, it was a body shot. It was about as good as live music gets. There were moments like this all through Jane’s concerts. That’s why putting out this record is a damn good idea. It’s not a ticket to the show, but it’s a necessary document of one of the finest live bands there ever was. They came at you on several levels at the speed of sound. Hardcore, working-the-blvd. Ferocity, too hip surfer zen aloofness, drugged out stratospheric abandon, served up with an almost childlike naivete. Terrifying. Unifying. Riot-inciting. Easily more thought-provoking than any corny “message band” ever hoped to be. Jane’s Addiction pointed it out without pointing to it. In the blink of an eye, they made other bands seem outrageously unhip and outdated, like when the Wizard of Oz got his shit put in check. A threat to parents everywhere. Speaking of parents, the JA song “Ain’t No Right” has more stick-to-your-ribs insight than anything my father ever laid on me.
They used cliche in an almost traditional sense. But when Perry told the band to bring it down so he could say something to the audience boiling at his feet, he really did have something to tell them. It wasn’t some rap that he used every night. And the raps he laid on audiences were not sugar-coated. He already expected you to be smart, so he didn’t play down to you. He said some cool shit up there. At the same time, he had you in the palm of his hand. Sometimes he liked to push it. One night that comes to memory is Atlanta 1991 when the band had members of Ice-T’s Body Count come up onstage and play Sly Stone’s “Don’t Call Me Whitey, Nigger”. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t cool. It wasn’t meant to be.
The gigs, on the outside, had all the trappings of a big rock show. And it was, from the front row to the back. The lighting onstage was epic yet intimate. The stage was adorned with statues, candles and other artifacts pulled from who knows where. It was not thrown together. It was carefully sculpted and arranged. Whoever put it together had something in mind. They cared about you and they wanted to get you off. You felt that you were in on something really cool. If it was in a club or an open field, you never felt like you were being treated like a dummy.
The band was a great one to watch, Perry was the cool spaz stick man who looked like large shots of electricity were constantly passing through him. His voice, often distorted by effects, was part croon, part roar and always pure animal. The drummer, Stephen Perkins, was a pummeling blur of sticks and hair, his fluid power was truly astounding. The guitarist, Dave Navarro, is one of rock’s most exciting and gifted players – period. From sheer sonic apocalypse to pure heaven, he made it look effortless. And holding the whole thing down was Eric Avery on bass, solid yet not simplistic, Eric’s playing gave the band a crunch and wallop that never plodded, but ebbed and flowed.
As a cog in the major label machine, Jane’s Addiction had enough street credibility to be below it, talent enough to have the majors knocking at their door and enough smarts to remain above it, keeping their vision intact. Point is, they never got caught up in it, never became victims of it and never let their music suffer. You never felt stupid for wearing the shirt even after they scored a hit on MTV and the airwaves with “Been Caught Stealing”. A song about shoplifting with an accompanying video that had a man cross-dressing into a pregnant woman in order to be able to hide more stolen goods was definitely not the work of a band that planned on wading quietly into the mainstream.
By the fall of 1991, after headlining the very first season of Perry’s brainchild, Lollapalooza, the band called it quits in Hawaii. Band members went their separate ways, some into other bands and some into other things. All was cool but there was never any band that came along with that great chemistry and power to fill in a very needed link in the music food chain. Several bootleg cds of varying quality hit the market in the following years.
By now you can tell that I am a big fan of this band. You can kind of tell that they can’t do a whole great deal of wrong in my eyes. Maybe it’s a good thing that they didn’t stay together. Maybe it’s best that the band is a time and a place in your life that you can get to any time you hear the records. Maybe it’s not about longevity. Maybe it’s about giving it all you have and when you can’t do that anymore, just getting out and watching the damn thing fly off the cuff and explode instead of going down with it. Jane’s Addiction was one of the great ones of our time. You can disagree with me. You can say whatever you want. But you would still be wrong of course.
– Henry Rollins
There are two different CD versions of this album, each with different artwork on the disc itself. Everything else about the two versions is the same. The first version of the CD features a design with flames, where the second features a design using flowers. The Japanese version uses the flame disc, although the coloring is slightly different. The German version has the Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics stamp on it.
A German promo CD exists that uses standard promotional packaging and lacks any of the release’s artwork. A US promo cassette version exists that uses standard promotional packaging as well.
There is also a “Preparty” promo sampler for this album. It includes three edited samples of the tracks found on Kettle Whistle, and their previously released album counterparts.
Album Charting & Awards:
Kettle Whistle was certified with gold record status on March 13, 2000 by the RIAA.
- Kettle Whistle
- Ocean Size (demo)
- My Cat’s Name is Maceo (edited demo)
- Had A Dad (outtake)
- So What!
- Jane Says (live)
- Mountain Song (demo)
- Slow Divers (live edit)
- Three Days (live)
- Ain’t No Right (live)
- Up The Beach (live)
- Stop! (live)
- Been Caught Stealing (outtake)
- Whores (live)
Track 6 was recorded on July 24, 1991 at the Lollapalooza concert at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, Irvine, CA. Track 8 was recorded on January 26, 1987 at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles, CA with overdubs recorded in 1997. Tracks 9-12 were recorded on December 19, 1990 at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA. Track 14 was recorded on November 13, 1986 at The Pyramid in Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA.
Cassette versions of this album include tracks 1-8 on side A and tracks 9-15 on side B.
- Jane Says (live – sample)
- Jane Says (Nothing’s Shocking version)
- Had A Dad (outtake- sample)
- Had A Dad (Nothing’s Shocking version)
- Stop! (live- sample)
- Stop! (Ritual de lo Habitual version)
Eric Avery performs bass on tracks 2, 4, 6-7, 9-14. Flea performs bass on tracks 1, 3, 5, 8. Eric Avery performed on the source material used for the track Slow Divers, which is based on a live recording the band used for their self-titled debut, but Flea’s bass work was mixed into the released material. Despite Flea appearing in the video for Jane Says (Live), that was taken from this album, it is actually Eric Avery performing in the music. Maceo Parker appears on track 3, performing horns. Track 15 features only Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro.
Release Date: 11/04/1997 (North America), 12/01/1997 (UK)
Released By: Warner Brothers Records
ID Number(s): 46752, PROP342 (German Promo), PRO-CD-9009 (Preparty Promo), WPCR-149 (Japan)
Medium(s): Cassette, CD, iTunes, Amazon MP3
Time: 74:21, 13:14 (Preparty Promo)
The following is the press release announcing this album and the relapse tour, note the album release date was changed from what is stated below:
Jane’s Addiction: The Relapse:
The highly-anticipated JANE’S ADDICTION CD release (as yet untitled), which consists of rare, previously unreleased tracks, live recordings, demos, and one brand new track, “Kettle Whistle,” recorded by the “relapse” line up (Perry Farrell/vocals, Dave Navarro/guitar, Stephen Perkins/drummer, and Flea/bass), has been scheduled to be in stores October 14, 1997.
Six years after the group’s demise at the height of their career the JANE’S “relapse” has come about following a year-long evolution of the individual band members playing together on various projects, culminating in their joint decision to have ago at JANE’S ADDICTION again. (Original bassist Eric A was asked to be pan of the project, but declined. According to Farrell, “You can’t call it a ‘reunion’ without all original members,” hence the project term “relapse”). The project consists of the CD, as well as a North American tour which will take place between late October and late November.
The CD is being mixed by Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine, Jeff Buckley), who is primarily cleaning some of the tracks up and doing some tweaking here and there. JANE’S drummer, Stephen Perkins, talks about some of the songs that are expected to be included. “Over the years, I held on to all of the board tapes that were recorded at every one of our shows. For the past several months, I’ve been listening to more than 500 of these tapes that I’ve had in my closet at home. I’ve heard probably fifty versions of each song that we’ve considered for the new record, and then eventually narrowed each version down to the best two. “Some tapes are not the greatest from a technical point of view, but they have the right attitude,” Perkins explained. “Some are board tapes, or house tapes, but if I remember a show having a fantastic vibe, or if the right energy was there, even if it’s not the best recording, it’s what we’re looking for. We want the songs to represent the energy that was going on around us.” In addition to “Kettle Whistle,” the track that the JANE’S “relapse” line- up is in the process of currently recording, Perkins said that the album will contain three other never-before-officially-available songs from JANE’S, some of which were performed a few times in concert, but never officially released. One of these tracks is “Slow Divers,” which, according to Perkins, “is a very psychadelic song. Dave is on keyboard, Eric’s on acoustic guitar, I’m on bongos and Perry’s singing. This was the song we opened up with when we did the show at the Roxy in ’87 to record our first live record for Triple X. The track didn’t make it onto the record, but we said we’d save it for another record, and I guess this new record is the record we were saving it for.” “City Song” is another previously unreleased track which had been available only on the band’s 1989 home video “SOUL KISS”. Perkins explains about a little behind-the-scenes goof that happened at the time of the recording of the track. “The version of ‘City Song’ is just Dave and Perry recording in a studio –neither Eric or I were on it. Someone gave me directions to a Sherman Oaks recording studio and then they changed the studio at the last minute and didn’t let me know. I got all dressed up, had my bongos, but spent hours driving around looking for this studio while Dave and Perry were recording the song. Eric didn’t find the right studio either. It’s a great song, though, about living in the city using what’s around you as your life support. The lyrics are ‘There’s a trash can, you can eat. There’s a park bench, you can sleep, in the city.'”
“Macio” is the third new track. “‘Macio’ is a really cool track that was named after Perry’s cat, but also after (one-time James Brown horn player) Maceo Parker,” who Perkins said is on the band’s wish list to play a little horn over the already-existing recording. “It’s a silly song,” said Perkins, “and was recorded at Lillian Way studios as a demo. WB paid for a session for us to record all of the songs Jane’s Addiction had ever written so they could decide which ones they liked. ‘Macio’ was never really entertained as a record, and we didn’t do it live that much, so eventually we forgot about it until now.” Perkins continues, “One of my favorites is a board tape of ‘Whores’ from a show at the Pyramid in 1986 — it’s now called the Crush Bar on Yucca Street in Hollywood. At the time, Dave and I weren’t twenty-one, so we weren’t allowed into the club until the band was announced. Perry went and got us a six-pack of beer, and we went and drank it in a car outside the club, waiting to get on stage. Then the guy said ‘Jane’s Addiction!’, and the backdoor opened and we came running onstage. We had to vacate the premises right after the show.”
“Three Days,” “Stop,” “Up the Beach,” and “Ain’t No Right” are all from the Hollywood Paladium show in December, 1990. “It was cool,” says Perkins, “because it was just before the Ritual record really broke. This show was at the beginning of everything, it was a romantic birth of the explosion. I remember this show standing out as a good performance. It was good to play in L.A., we all sounded good, we were all hitting the mark. These versions, to me, are great because doing them live, you get the attitude and the energy from the audience. Nothing’s perfect on stage, of course, and I like the fact that those imperfections are there. The attitude is just A+ and the level of happiness, well, you can really hear us having fun.”
The version of “Ocean Size” scheduled for inclusion is a one-song demo the band recorded for Warner Bros. in 1988 to prove they could co-produce their own songs. Perkins explains, “Warners was trying to find a producer for us on the first record, but we said, ‘No, we want produce it ourselves, at least co- produce it.’ So they agreed to put us into a studio and let us produce a track ourselves. We did this cool sounding version of ‘Ocean Size’ and when Warners heard it, they gave us the thumbs up to co-produce the next record. Unfortunately no one remembers the studio where we recorded it, and no one can find the multi-track, so we’re using the cassette version of it for the new record.”
Perkins continues, “The version of ‘Had A Dad’ is killer. It was an outtake from the Nothing’s Shocking sessions that Warner’s declined because they said it was too produced! We had tried some new ideas, and we thought we’d really achieved something. This version has lots off cool textures, as opposed to the more rock thing that Warner’s was looking for. Now, the people at Warners love the track!” Similarly, he described the outtake of the hit song “Been Caught Stealing” from “Ritual De Lo Habitual” as a quirky version that was pulled from one of the tapes he collected and listened to at the end of every day in the studio. “This version is cool, kind of loungey, way more casual.” Another demo on the album is an early 1986 version of one of the band’s signature songs, “Mountain Song,” which Perkins revealed is the version JANE’S used to get signed to Triple X Records, their first label. “It just captures the most basic seed of Jane’s Addiction because it’s just a few months after Dave and I joined. Perry sings in a lower register and it’s a lot slower, with some piano on it.”
- Jane Says (1997 Promo)
- So What!
- Sterling Spoon Box Set
The Three Days version from the Hollywood Palladium is mind blowing! Love the album.