Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 259
Friday, Sept 28, 2012

“Jane Says”
Jane’s Addiction


“♫ She don’t
mean no harm/
she just don’t
know… (don’t know,
don’t know)/ what
else to do
about it

Perry Farrell, front-man and lyricist for Jane’s Addiction once described the living inspiration for “Jane Says” as “Jane is like the sweetest girl in the world if you ever met her. There is a real softness in my heart for that song.” “Jane Says” is the song that first got me hooked on Jane’s Addiction. How I loved L.A. bands! My mental portrait of California was formed by song. The Doors and Beck brought to life images of Los Angeles that were beautiful and strange. But no band was stranger or more seductive, musically speaking, than Jane’s Addiction. Oh how I loved myself some Jane’s Addiction. They were our generation’s Led Zeppelin. Jane’s were the forefathers of the Alternative movement, and lead singer Perry Farrell created the Lollapalooza music festival that introduced underground music like Nine Inch Nails and Siouxsie and The Banshees that I adored so much.

Everyone gives props to Nirvana for changing music. Jane’s lit the spark of the revolution that was started with 1988’s Nothing’s Shocking. What a year, I was still a naïve, clichéd outcast in high school. My best friend, literally, was my copy of Rolling Stone magazine that I carried around with me like it was my holy scripture. One day, I read about this new band from Los Angeles. This was before the Internet when I would discover all of my new music endeavors on MTV’s “120 Minutes” and inside of Rolling Stone Magazine. There’s one such article that I read in Rolling Stone about a band that was recording their album when they rushed out of their studio to the streets of Hollywood to watch someone bizarre accident. Immediately after reading about this outlandish L.A. band I went out and picked up Nothing’s Shocking.

My favorite song on Nothing’s Shocking was “Jane Says.” The same song Addiction producer Dave Jerden dubbed, “modern rock’s “Stairway to Heaven.” “Jane Says wasn’t released as a single, but it became its own anthem.” Jane’s Addiction’s front man s said talking about “Jane Says.” He describe the real Jane, who influenced one of the most popular modern rock songs ever, Perry Farrell said this of her, “She could also be called ‘Plain Jane.’– thick glasses, very outcast, very insecure, a lot like us here. I look at her like a tragic figure. She’s a Smith graduate; she’s extremely intelligent, which is very unappealing to most men. She still hasn’t found love, which is pretty much like us.”

Did you know the original Jane Bainter was a former housemate of Farrell? Perry recounted seeing his former roommate as, “Every time I see Jane she’s just not quite right, but she’s always hopeful that something great is about to happen.’I’m gonna kick tomorrow.’ Every time I see her, I just feel like I wanna cry. She’s a very warm person; she’d give you her last apple if it was in her sack of lunch. At the same time, no one really appreciates her and she can’t quite get herself together. She’s one of these people that lives slightly out of linear time. There’s us and then there’s Jane. She can talk to you and she can see you, but she’s always slightly somewhere else. I don’t know, maybe everybody feels like that and that’s probably why people can relate to that song.”

More than just a song about a love junkie searching for her soulmate; “Jane Says” is a modern day anthem because of the longing and the imperfectness in Perry’s vocal reflecting our own decadent voices in the guise of Farrell’s true to life character of Jane. I imagined “Jane Says” as how a Los Angeles based Velvet Underground would have sounded like in 1988. A tribute to Lou Reed and VU, “Jane” remains one of my most beloved songs from my outcast days in high school. The thing I loved most about “Jane” is that listening and singing along to Perry’s lyrics made me feel less alone. Like Iggy Pop, before him Farrell’s wide and poignant personas helped me embrace my own outcast eccentricities.

The thing about Jane’s, and why their music is so timeless, is that they blend various musical styles—funk, metal, vintage rock, acoustic and Caribbean flavors all mixed perfectly with the surrealistic lyrics written by lead singer Perry Farrell. To this day, spinning Nothing’s Shocking is like setting off tremors of elation inside of me. It’s electric, eccentric and defines the chaotic splendor of modern day Los Angeles. Jane’s Addiction were my band. They gave me power, strength with some tenderness in between. Jane’s were my idea of post modern L.A. come to life. Thanks to Jane’s Addiction, The City of Angels never sounded this beautifully chaos. Long live the Addiction; I am still hooked on Jane’s for life.

Which version do you prefer the original from Nothing’s Shocking?

Or this extended live acoustic version?