Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 97
Mon. May 6, 2013
Although it may have been the Jane’s Addiction metal rock rhythms of “Mountain Song” and “Pigs in Zen” that may have won over critics and fans but just ask Led Zeppelin, you can’t have volatile riffs, like Jimmy Page realized, you need some versatile guitar licks in your arsenal,; Jane’s axe-man Dave Navarro, came from the same Zep school, he knew how to wield an acoustic guitar, that’s why “Jane Says” remains one of the band’s most beloved songs. Dave Navarro talked about how the atmosphere of the times reflected the songs Jane’s played as he said, “What’s weird about Jane’s especially in the early days is that we would go through phases of gravitating towards stylistic choices that were definitely not in at the times when we were gravitating towards them. I can say there was about a six-month window where Perry and I had this house, like out in, god, I don’t even know where it was but it was in some like really foresty suburb of LA. And we just kind of sat around and like cooked fish and smoked weed and made acoustic music and got really into some kind of bizarre hippie sub-culture. This sounds weird but the whole environment was kind of like if there was such a thing as a positive Manson family [laughs.] Instead of killing people we were writing songs.”
Before “Jane Says” and “Been Caught Stealing,” won the hearts of alternative and mainstream rock fans, Jane’s Addiction were trying to find their sound. Navarro explained how “Slow Divers” came to life when he said, “There’s a song called “Slow Divers” [from Kettle Whistle] which is arguably one of our more hippie-dippie numbers you can find and that song came out of there. And that was just him and me sittin’ around the pool like I said, eatin’ healthy clean food. I think we both kind of, that was the time we were like, “OK, we’re gonna get clean off of the heroin and only smoke weed and let’s play acoustic music.” It was a good time and even though we moved through that phase and didn’t stay with that way of life, the experience stayed with us and it became an inherent part of the band. The use of acoustics for us is pretty important in terms of songwriting. I mean we spent a lot of time sitting around writing acoustically before we’d even pick up the electric stuff.”
“Slow Divers” is one of those Jane’s Addiction gems that you rediscover and wonder why wasn’t this acoustic beauty ever released on the first live album or saved for Nothing’s Shocking? I have to admit the best time to hear “Slow Divers” is while your bluntly unwinding, inhaling the nature’s view while exhaling in front of a campfire. There’s something so naturally mystical about this rare track finally unearthed on Kettle Whistle. Drummer Stephen Perkins described ‘Slow Divers” as “A very psychedelic 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 [Kettle Whistle] is the record we were saving it for.”
Jane’s Addiction don’t have very many quality outtakes, for the most part, what Dave Navarro, Eric Avery, Stephen Perkins and Perry Farrell recorded in the studio was tracked and released on wax. “Slow Divers” is the one exception and you can rediscover this acoustic gem on 1997’s collection Kettle Whistle. More than just Jane’s Addiction unplugged, “Slow Divers” will lift you into an acoustic mind trip for your body and rock and roll soul.