Jane's Addiction - December 31, 1988 - The Embassy Hotel Theatre, Los Angeles, CA

Date: December 31, 1988
Location: The Embassy Hotel Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Recorded: Audio (audience)
Status: Confirmed
Type: Concert
Lineup: Perry Farrell
Dave Navarro
Stephen Perkins
Eric Avery


Pigs In Zen
Idiots Rule
Had A Dad
Ain't No Right
Ted, Just Admit It...
Standing In The Shower... Thinking
L.A. Medley
Summertime Rolls
Thank You Boys
Ocean Size
Mountain Song
Trip Away
Auld Lang Syne
Chip Away
Jane Says

Show Information:

New Year's Eve show welcoming in the year 1989.

Lock Up, The Nymphs, and Glen Meadmore rounded out the bill.

The venue's name is alternately attributed to The Embassy Hotel, The Embassy Theatre, or Embassy Hotel Auditorium.

Recording Information:

"B" quality audience recording. 82:26. Treble heavy; bass is very quiet. Quick tape flip cut around 1:40 into "Summertime". Most circulating versions are first generation.

Notable Moments:

Lock Up, Tom Morello's band at the time, pre Rage Against The Machine, came on stage dressed as Jane's Addiction and played about a minute of "Pigs in Zen" as a joke/intro right before Jane's came on.

(during the breakdown of "Pigs")
"I wanna fuck George Bush. I wanna fuck him in his ass. [...] I want him to lick my asshole."

Before "Had a Dad", Perry sings a little improv that includes a line close to that would coincidentally later be used in the Porno For Pyros song "Good God's Urge":
"1989 [...] Give him back his leg [...] He's got a right to live."

At midnight, Dave plays about 20 seconds of "Auld Lang Syne" and Perry wishes the crowd Happy New Year.

Thanks go out to 'sPiKi' for the article scan, David Michael Brandt for the ad scan and L. A. Times review.

Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)
December 2, 1988
Author: BRUCE BRITT Daily News Music Writer

[ ... ]

Dec. 31 - Jane's Addiction (Embassy Hotel): Led by enigmatic singer Perry Farrell, Jane's Addiction has been lauded as heavy metal's great hope. Concertgoers can judge for themselves at this New Year's Eve performance.

Daily News of Los Angeles (CA)
December 29, 1988
Author: STEVE APPLEFORD Daily News Staff Writer

The confused stares and craned necks were either unnoticed or simply ignored by the young man in the bright red Chef Boy-ar-dee hat. With tight, seaweed-green dreadlocks dripping along his thin, angular face to the shoulders of his green suede coat, he quietly ate from a plate of Japanese- style clams, prying the slippery things open with his red-gloved fingers. Perry Farrell was showing exactly what he wanted.

Not 20 minutes earlier, in a small recording studio less than a mile away, this singer for local psychedelic hard rock quartet Jane's Addiction had just finished taping an interview for college radio in support of the band's new album, "Nothing's Shocking." It was a chore Farrell didn't exactly enjoy, since it pained him to elaborate on the specifics of things the band had always intended to remain unexplained.

Yet here was Farrell again, this time sitting with guitarist David Navarro and a few others over dinner in a Hollywood Japanese restaurant, doing another interview. And again, he avoided discussing the specific meanings of his work with the band.

Shrugging with a grin, he explained, "You've tried to maintain some kind of drama in the music and make it slightly mysterious, and then the next thing you know you're talking about it and blowing the whole thing. It's like turning on the lights at the end in a disco: You fall out of love very quickly."

Band was necessary

The creation a couple of years ago of Jane's Addiction was a necessity for Farrell, then distraught after the dissolution of his first band, PSI-COM. That gloom-laden, psycho-punk combo collapsed after most of its members were slowly absorbed into the Hare Krishna religion.

Farrell believed passionately in that band, as he today believes in Jane's Addiction. Only this time, the mainstream record industry and much of the local club scene are interested as well. During its short history, Jane's Addiction has been one of the most discussed, hailed, criticized and otherwise watched bands in the volatile Los Angeles music scene.

Perhaps it's that attention that placed the group - teaming Farrell and Navarro with bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins - in the unlikely position as object of an intense bidding war among the major record companies.

The band ultimately chose the creative freedom offered by Warner Bros. rather than the big money offered elsewhere. "I have my own ideas; I don't need help with that," Farrell said. "I need help with getting it out there, getting it in record stores, getting it on the radio."

The first sign that Jane's Addiction would use its creative autonomy to its fullest degree was the album cover to "Nothing's Shocking," which displayed a life-like sculpture of female Siamese twins, sitting nude on a rocking chair with their hair ablaze. There was an instant outcry from the major record store chains, and eight of them refused to stock the album. It was a controversy similiar to the one generated by Guns N' Roses' "Appetite for Destruction," the cover of which displayed an apparently raped woman sprawled on a sidewalk, although Navarro suggested that the Guns N' Roses controversy was planned all along.

No alternate album cover

Either way, Farrell told anyone interested that there was no alternate album cover and it would not be changed, regardless of how some record store owners might feel.

Made from a body casting of his girlfriend, Casey Niccoli, the dynamic image was Farrell's first sculpture. "It stemmed from a dream that I had . . . And I just thought it was a pretty wild image. Warner Bros. was going to give me a budget to do a cover, and I thought it would be a better-looking cover than anything else I had thought of."

Most of those retailers ultimately changed their position, due in part to aggressive lobbying by record company representatives, aided by the album's favorable reviews in Rolling Stone and Billboard.

"I think the ideas that I've got are not your normal, regular old (commercial) ideas," Farrell said. "But they're not bad ideas. I think they're good ideas. So there's a problem there: It's either them or me.

"This is all that I have to make myself happy - the art, you know? The act of doing this stuff, playing the music. Without that I'm sunk. So I make sure that it's what I want to do."

The resulting album, powered by the searing shriek of Farrell combined with Navarro's delicate guitar melodies and slashings, and backed by the aggressive Avery-Perkins rhythm section, took the band's sound to a new level of sophistication that was not evident in live shows or an earlier live album. It displays a rare drive and scope that often has been compared to Led Zeppelin, without duplicating that band's blues-based sound.

And the grim passion of cuts like "Had a Dad" add a uniquely hardened emotional edge, as Farrell sings: "Had a dad, big and strong/Turned around, found my daddy gone/He was the one/Made me what I am today."

Not heavy metal

Still, the band does not identify itself with the current heavy-metal scene, where Navarro and Perkins began their careers. "In my mind they've regressed, because now they're all parodies of each other," Navarro said. ''They're all cloning each other, they all dress the same and I really can't tell one from the other anymore.

"I really don't like what's going on now in that scene at all. They're trying to imitate instead of innovate."

Jane's Addiction's own innovations, as evidenced by its debut studio record, has moved the band in musical directions that in some ways may become nearly impossible to recreate in live appearances. Farrell wouldn't rule out the possibility of the band evolving into a primarily studio-based group, with only intermittent live appearances. But the stage is not something he is willing to give up soon.

"There's something really wild about going out on the road, as much as I have a love-hate relationship with it," Farrell said. "As much as it wears me down, and I lose my throat, and I don't see my girlfriend, and I'm sitting in a cramped-up van for 12 hours at a time, there's something wild about being the party master all of the time that I'm drawn to."

Jane's Addiction makes its first local appearance since the release of ''Nothing's Shocking" at the Embassy Hotel Theatre downtown on New Year's Eve. It will be a much-needed return to the band's L.A. roots and creative muse, because despite the demand for creative control, the grind of the big time record business has taken a bit of a toll on Farrell's immediate vision for what his band ought to be doing with its time.

The release of "Nothing's Shocking" has anchored a frustrated Farrell to such duties as promotion and touring, rather than working on new music.

"We haven't even had a chance to rehearse our live show (as the headliner), not once," he said. "We went and did a show in Seattle, and we hadn't rehearsed for two weeks. The last thing that counts is the music, it seems now. It's gotten really pathetic.

"Isn't it weird? What we built our reputation on is the last thing that anybody considers. It's rush, rush, rush about all these other things. But when it comes down to the music, there's no time to rehearse. It's something that's really frustrating me right now, so it's something I'm going through, you know?"

The Facts

Who: Jane's Addiction.

Where: Embassy Hotel Theatre, 851 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles.

When: Saturday (New Year's Eve).

Tickets: Sold out.

Los Angeles Times
January 2, 1989
POP MUSIC REVIEW Jane's Addiction Could Prove Habit-Forming

Perry Farrell, the lead singer of Jane's Addiction, is nothing if not audacious.

Early in the band's New Year's Eve performance at the old Embassy Hotel Auditorium, Farrell expressed his pride in being back home in Los Angeles for the Addiction's first major local appearance since the release last summer of the group's Warner Bros. debut album "Nothing's Shocking."

"This is the best place to be," he told the audience. "We've got the Lakers, the Dodgers . . . and Jane's Addiction."

But then, why not talk big if you can back it up? And for 80 minutes Saturday night, the young quartet did just that.

OK, so maybe the band doesn't yet belong on that roster of champions, but it made a strong case that it has a place in Los Angeles' legacy of brash and arresting rock acts.

That point was made strongly later in the show when the group put its own harsh, dreamy "Summertime Rolls" at the end of a medley of the Doors' "L.A. Woman," the Germs' "Lexicon Devil" and X's "Nausea"-all definitive songs by definitive L.A. bands.

And with that, Farrell and crew didn't just kick off a new year, but perhaps also a new era in L.A. rock, with Jane's Addiction at the forefront. The reasons that may be true were plentiful at the Embassy.

First and foremost is Farrell himself. On stage he's as singular and striking a figure as Stooges-era Iggy Pop and Johnny Rotten, though without the self-destructive bent of the former or the sneering condescension of the latter.

Though hobbled by a cast on one leg (for torn ligaments suffered during a concert a few weeks ago), Farrell leaped and hopped around the stage, his green (yes, green) dreadlocks flying, dramatising the very personal nature of his songs of youthful anguish and confusion. Most remarkably, there's no sense of posturing or calculation in his persona, a point that underscored the be-yourself core of his lyrics, echoing such past characters as David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and Tim Curry's "Rocky Horror" role.

"Bask in the moment," Farrell told the crowd with an innocent sincerity that added a particularly personable dimension to his performance. "You are warm and exciting. Enjoy this. This is the best."

Not to be overlooked after Farrell, however, is the band itself: The wall of sound built by guitarist David Navarro, bassist Eric A. and drummer Stephen Perkins is every bit as integral to Jane's Addiction's precocious status as Farrell's words and presence. This band doesn't just have songs drawn from Angeleno Angst, it sounds like it-an aspect emphasized by the faded glory of the Embassy Auditorium.

Navarro in particular is an amazing musician-a potential guitar hero, though (like Farrell) with none of the posturing and posing that often goes with the territory. At the Embassy he forged a sound closer to the classic, thunderous heavy metal of Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath than the opaque sound of the album, but with no less originality and character. And it certainly wasn't conventional metal-no band led by Farrell could ever do conventional anything.

Unfortunately, it could be the very qualities of Jane's Addiction that could hinder its exposure. Not readily definable like the Aerosmith-influenced hard rock of Guns N' Roses, Jane's music seems an unlikely candidate for the mass success Guns has had, especially on radio. Nor does the group's approach have the broad, aggressive (though thoughtful) appeal of Metallica, a band that made its name without radio.

On the other hand, there's so much in Jane's Addiction that could strike a resonant chord among disaffected youth (i.e. just about every American teen) that it's not unreasonable to hope that this could become not just a great L.A. band, but recognized as a great band, period.