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Jane's Addiction Reunion Turns Into Jubilee

April 15, 2001|STEVE HOCHMAN

Holy Lollapalooza!

Jane's Addiction's plan to play the Coachella Festival on April 28 has blossomed into a full reunion for the band, which now will also headline an ambitious summer tour-and maybe make a new album.

After the Coachella date and an April 25 warmup at the Santa Barbara Bowl, the group will put together a tour-expected to hit the road in July-that leader Perry Farrell believes will herald a developing new era in music and culture much as Lollapalooza, which he created and headlined with Jane's a decade ago, did for its era. Dubbed Jubilee, the tour will feature a variety of bands and DJs crossing lines between rock and electronic styles.

But what about Perry Farrell's long-awaited solo project? It's still on. Farrell's solo debut, "Songs Yet to Be Sung," is due from Virgin Records on June 19, with a tone reflecting the singer's passion for cutting-edge electronic dance music, but also retaining a grounding in rock song structures. On top of that, Jane's guitarist Dave Navarro will also release his first solo album the same month.

So while the group's last reunion, for a 1997 tour, was about old music, this one is built on new material.

Farrell says that the tour plans came from his desire to shift his new music in a direction that was more performance-oriented than it had been developing.

"I had a couple of reservations initially," he says of reconvening Jane's. "But what I concluded was that I ended up really liking real playing a lot."

Inspired by such acts as Roni Size/Reprazent that have succeeded in making electronic music a live presentation, he approached Navarro and Jane's drummer Stephen Perkins about giving it a shot. Martyn Le Noble from Farrell's post-Jane's band Porno for Pyros will play bass, replacing the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea, who played on the earlier tour. Original bassist Eric Avery declined to join in the reunions.

Gary Bongiovanni, editor in chief of concert-business monthly Pollstar, says that while the '97 Jane's tour did solid business (averaging about 7,000 tickets per concert), it's hard to predict what impact this venture could have and what weight Farrell's reputation carries in today's market.

"You go off the scene for a few years and people forget," he says. "He certainly had a good idea the first time with Lollapalooza. But it's a very crowded summer market and you have to do something special to stand out. We'll see what he comes up with."

For Farrell, the endeavor became an opportunity to try to link the rock and electronica audiences, as well as celebrate the Jubilee-a year of renewal in accordance with ancient Jewish traditions, and the primary theme of his solo album. Earlier, Farrell had hoped to take the endeavor in a different direction-a Jubilee concert in Israel. That plan was shelved because of unrest in the Middle East.

"It's his Lollapalooza of new music," says Trudy Green, who manages both Farrell and Jane's Addiction. "With Jubilee, it's not just about the music, but depth, philosophy, spirituality and a message to have fun, but make change through music and celebration."

Farrell himself is reluctant to make comparisons to Lollapalooza, saying the feel of these shows will be quite different.

"It could be deceptive to associate this with Lollapalooza," he says. "I have an image of what this can look like and it's different. It won't be spread out in big [amphitheaters] like Lollapalooza was. I'm not looking to grab the top three acts off the radio like Lollapalooza did. And I want to bring in a party committee the way electronica event organizers do."

Farrell and Green also say that Jubilee will be very distinct from Moby's Area:One festival, which is mixing heavy doses of hip-hop as well as rock and electronic dance. But both tours share a goal of finding the common ground among fans of different musical cultures, something Farrell has been watching develop.

"When I do a DJ set now, half the crowd is rocker kids and I look and go, 'Oh boy, I hope they enjoy themselves.' And the other half will be house-music snobs and I look and go, 'Oh boy, I hope they enjoy themselves.' But they all do seem to enjoy it. And either way you look at it, this summer's going to be the most awesome musical summer since I can't remember when." *

SATELLITE OF LOVE: The last thing most recognizable musicians want is a bunch of recordings sent by unsigned artists looking for a break. Like they'd even have time to listen to them.

But it's exactly what Pat DiNizio, leader of the Smithereens, wants. DiNizio has taken a job with XM Radio, the nationwide satellite radio venture expected to launch this summer, where he is developing a channel devoted to unsigned and independent artists.

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