Happy 30th: Jane’s Addiction, RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL
30 years ago this month, Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Stephen Perkins, and Eric Avery released their second studio album, an effort which turned out to be not only the most successful album of their career but also the last album they’d release for almost 13 years.
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Here we go…
Looking back at the history of Jane’s Addiction, their path to platinum-selling albums was a relatively traditional one for a band that’s spent so much time outside the box: they released a self-titled live album as their debut in 1987, built on its success with their first studio album – 1988’s NOTHING’S SHOCKING, which earned the band their first top-10 alt-rock hit with “Jane Says” – and then built on that album’s success with the follow-up, 1990’s RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL, which gave them their first and second alt-rock chart-toppers: “Stop!” and “Been Caught Stealing.”
You likely already know this, but just in case you’ve somehow only ever owned copies of RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL with the “Three Days”-inspired artwork, i.e. the one with all the nudity, there are actual two covers to the album. The other version features only the band’s name, the album title, and the text of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, written in black on a white background. Oh, right, and there’s also a “Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics” thing on there, too, but they kind of take the sting off that inclusion by adding the following text to the back cover:
“Hitler's syphilis-ridden dreams almost came true. How could it happen? By taking control of the media. An entire country was led by a lunatic... We must protect our First Amendment, before sick dreams become law. Nobody made fun of Hitler??!"
Perry Farrell, ladies and gentlemen!
(Okay, so maybe Dave Navarro, Eric Avery, and Stephen Perkins had a hand in the statement, too, since they were members of the band as well. But it sure sounds like one of Perry’s diatribes to us.)
Although RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL proved to be Jane’s Addiction’s most successful album up to that point – and, as their only effort to have gone double platinum, has remained their most successful album – the process of touring behind the record ultimately contributed to the band’s demise. As Farrell said in Brendan Mullen’s Whores: An Oral Biography of Perry Farrell and Jane's Addiction, “That thirteen-month tour behind RITUAL was half the reason we wound up unable to stand one another. The other half is that I am an intolerable narcissist who can't get along with anyone."
However you want to paint the situation, one thing’s for certain: Farrell and Navarro were having problems from the start of the first Lollapalooza tour – which, if you’ll recall, Jane’s Addiction headlined – and when Avery decided that he wanted to leave the band, Navarro had no problem making the decision to join him. Perkins, on the other hand, stuck with Farrell, joining him in his next musical endeavor, Porno for Pyros.
Although Jane’s Addiction reunited in 2003 to release a new studio album, STRAYS, and then did so again in 2011 for THE GREAT ESCAPE ARTIST, neither of those efforts have featured Eric Avery, making RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL the last proper album by the classic line-up of the band. How fortunate, then, that it’s also the Jane’s Addiction album that’s most often described as a classic. Give it another spin and see if you think it holds up. (We certainly do.)
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