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Interview with Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction

—by , May 29, 2009

As a musical artist, there’s the creation and the performance thereof, but as a businessman, you know that the performance is what the market seems to be demanding at the moment. Is there a future in writing records the same way back when Ritual de lo Habitual came out?

The way I look at it is this: Jane’s Addiction has got a catalog, and we can go out and perform for 70 minutes and people know all those songs, so for us, if you’re asking me my opinion, the best thing that we can do is try to come up with a single every once in a while to add into the set that you can distribute via online, and that’s where my head is at. But I do think it’s important to continue to be creative. Those creative juices, that’s musical currency. For as much as we love all the old songs, even I would love to hear a new song from Pink Floyd if they got back together, or Van Halen. I don’t need to hear a whole record, but I’d love to hear one cool new song from them that was maybe being passed around via the Internet. That’s what I’d like to see. It’s a different situation with a new group, a new group that doesn’t have 70 minutes worth of quality material that people want to hear, so you’ve got to create that 70 minutes worth of quality material. That’s why there would be a need for new groups to have albums. Even you would probably not appreciate Jane’s Addiction if we showed up in your town and we only played 70 minutes of new material. If we didn’t play any oldies, you’d probably be bummed out.

People want something that they’re familiar with.

Something that they love. They fell in love. That’s what they want.

So you’re not interested in the old album cycle?

I am not, but I tell you what, don’t count it out, because the business might dictate that something like that occurs someday in the future. Just out of, I guess, contractual obligations, you might say. I can’t really speak too much more about that. (laughs)

(laughs) Okay, but did the original goal of the recording process work of getting your creativity flowing together in a studio?

Yes, exactly. But not for the purposes of writing a record. It was just for the purpose of: We’re going out, there are all these great new tools for us to distribute our music, and let’s come up with something new so we can perform one new song in the set. I think that would be really fun. I’m just looking at it purely as an artist, not as any kind of signed artist, or from the recording industry perspective, I’m looking at it purely as a troubadour.

At the same time, you just released this massive physical box set for collectors. Do you feel you have to maintain that relationship with this vast amount of new media and the people who want everyone on vinyl, on plastic, etc.?

That is true, but let me tell you, that box set was supposed to be released two years ago. It just took so long. We cut that deal on the box set when we were still together on the last record, and it took that long to get it coordinated and gathered and all those other things and it was just kind of a happenstance that we were together at this time. When Rhino saw that we were together they thought, ‘Let’s just really work day and night and get the thing out.’

Jane’s Addiction perform at PNC Bank Arts Center on June 6. To keep up with info on the tour, visit janesaddiction.com and ninja2009.com.

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