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Original Jane’s Addiction Lineup Reunite, Rock L.A.


Wide grins all around for this four-piece that crawled its way out of Los Angeles and into the world nearly 25 years ago. Hatchets buried, drugs stashed, the original lineup of guitarist Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins, singer Perry Farrell, and the firmly elusive bassist Eric Avery (who had categorically declined all previous reunions) convened in Los Angeles last night at the fabled El Rey Theatre for a brief four-song set.

Red curtains parted to the sounds of a Spanish-speaking female voice, the now-famous prerecorded prelude to “Stop,” and 17 years after the band’s final performance on the last Lollapalooza stop in Hawaii back in 1991, stage left was once again occupied by the circling presence of bass player Eric Avery. Dressed simply in a black T-shirt and jeans, his bleached-blonde dreadlocks of yore, long ago shorn, Avery bent over the very same low-slung Fender bass with the “Brahms” sticker he toted around during the band’s rise and demise.

“Let’s show ’em what L.A. is all about, motherfuckers!” proclaimed Perry Farrell, outfitted in a skintight black get-up a professional cyclist might wear, although maybe without the horse tail and Cuban boots. With a point of his drumstick and a wide smile, Perkins aimed attention back at Avery who led the band into “Mountain Song” with its signature, opening melodic rumble. Bass players can come and go in most bands, but considering how many Jane’s Addiction staples wrap themselves around Avery creations (“Three Days,” “Summertime Rolls,” “Up the Beach”), it’s no wonder his introduction elicited the most applause.

Coming together for one night only, accepting the Godlike Genius Award from influential Brit mag NME, who held its annual awards ceremony for the first time in Los Angeles, it’s not likely Avery will be gearing up for any more elaborate long-term plans with his former mates.

During an almost transcendent rendition of “Ocean Size,” Farrell flung his wiry body over monitors and wriggled down to the floor. Holding a wine bottle aloft, he took sips and filled cups held up like open bird beaks in the front row, looking in his element and reluctant to leave. By the time the steel drums and acoustic guitars came out for the closing “Jane Says,” in less than 30 minutes and four songs, the band was able to extend its long shadow in history an inch or two longer — a shadow even its own four members seem unable to outrace.

The foursome came to the front of the stage for a full bow, arms over shoulders, Farrell patting Avery affectionately on the back. As the curtains closed, Perkins and Avery were the last to disappear into the depths, both smiling and embracing in a bear hug. The crowd hovered and mingled and made its way to the exits. In the men’s room, members of the Killers occupied three out of five urinals. Singer Brandon Flowers looking over the right shoulder of his shiny black jacket, saying, “That sounded pretty good, huh?”

“I liked it. It was a moment,” responded the tipsy and pissing guitarist Dave Keuning.

Set List:
“Mountain Song”
“Ocean Size”
“Jane Says”

We asked: It took the rest of the members of Jane’s Addiction 17 years to convince their bassist Eric Avery to rejoin the band. Bass players never get the respect they deserve. Without lazily defaulting to Flea, who is your favorite living bass player?

Jane’s Addiction / Photo by Amy Wallenberg

Jane’s Addiction / Photo by Amy Wallenberg

Jane’s Addiction / Photo by Amy Wallenberg