Jane says you should read this. She said Sergio loved it.
When Jane’s Addiction were inducted into Guitar Center’s Rock Walk of Fame in 2011, Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello explained the band’s legacy succinctly. “Nirvana often gets credit for being the first ‘alternative’ band to break through – the band that changed music and led rock out of the hair metal wilderness of the ’80’s. That’s just not true,” he said. “It was Jane’s Addiction.”
Created in 1985 by flamboyantly charismatic frontman Perry Farrell (born Perry Bernstein), Jane’s Addiction infused his art-rock tendencies along with ethereal psychedelia into searing metal purveyed by guitarist Dave Navarro, bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins. The band became notorious in the L.A. avant-rock scene on the strength of a pummeling sound akin to Led Zeppelin but with a sort of indefinable X-factor that turned each of the band’s performances into near-spiritual and transcendent events.
After signing to Warner Bros. during the late ’80s, the band released two studio albums that would help define not only their own singular sound but the wave of alternative to follow. Farrell brought the word “Lollapalooza” into the mainstream lexicon in 1991 by founding the seminal music festival – providing a platform for bands like Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails and Red Hot Chili Peppers. But the festival also brought attention to Jane’s Addiction, who headlined the first installment of Lollapalooza then broke up shortly after.
During the next two decades, Jane’s Addiction would return several times for reunion tours and a pair of new studio albums, but the effect their earliest music had on the alternative landscape is incalculable. All told, they’ve only released four studio albums (which is why we’re including a handful of compilations and live albums in this installment of Worst to First), but each have caused at least mild reverberations throughout the rock world. Check out our rankings in the gallery.