Jane's Addiction's highly anticipated reunion tour got off to a rough start for frontman Perry Farrell when he tore a calf muscle during the first song of the group's set May 10 at Atlanta's Lakewood Amphitheatre.
But considering he had waited 18 years to tour with the original lineup of his band, Farrell wasn't about to let a little pain get in the way of the group's return.
He didn't miss a show, and in a mid-May phone interview, said he is coping just fine - with some help from the miracles of modern pharmaceuticals.
"I guess with today's modern medicine they have a different attitude toward things," Farrell said. "They actually told me to kind of work through it so the muscles don't knot up. They told me moving around isn't such a bad thing - and they gave me some great meds."
Jane's Addiction's current tour (with Nine Inch Nails, no less) is not the first time fans have seen a version of the influential band come back to life. But it's never been the original band until now.
Following the band's split in 1991, Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins reunited for a reunion tour in 1997, with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers filling the bass slot that had been held by Eric Avery.
The group then went its separate ways once again until 2001, when another lineup reunited, this time with Martyn Lenoble (who had been in Farrell's first post-Jane's Addiction band, Porno For Pyros) and later Chris Chaney filling in for Avery. The Cheney lineup lasted long enough to make a 2003 studio CD, Strays
, before coming apart in 2004.
Farrell went on to form a new group, Satellite Party, and also resurrect his influential alternative rock festival tour, Lollapalooza, as a destination festival now held each August at Grant Park in Chicago. Jane's Addiction will be one of the headliners of this year's three-day event.
But even as Farrell continued to find ways to express his creativity in between reunions, he always held out hope that the original band would one day get together again.
An occasion presented itself when word came that Jane's Addiction would be honored with the "Godlike Genius Award" at the first-ever United States NME Awards in April 2008.
Band members considered the possibility of reuniting for that awards show, and this time Avery agreed to participate.
For several months, it appeared that would be the extent of the reunion. Avery continued to maintain that he felt Jane's Addiction belonged to a certain "vibe and time," and he didn't want to tarnish his experience by being part of a reunited Jane's Addiction that might only be a shadow of its original self.
Farrell said he isn't sure what changed Avery's mind about the reunion, but the original lineup made what, by all accounts, was an impressive return to the live stage this past March when it played an after-hours party at the South By Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas.
Recently, the group entered the studio to record a pair of new songs, titled "Embrace The Darkness" and "I'll Protect You," with Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and Alan Moulder producing. Farrell said the sessions were marred by the re-emergence of long-standing tensions, and the band was unable to finish the tracks.
"It was tough, having not recorded for 18 years together," Farrell said. "We came back in, and there's a reason why we parted ways 18 years ago. So you can imagine, pardon my French, but it's typical band bullshit."
Farrell walked away from the band in 1991, after two albums, 1998's Nothing's Shocking
and Ritual de lo Habitual
, had made Jane's Addiction a leading force in alternative music circles.
"You know, I was the guy who originally in 1991 left the group," he said. "Let me tell you my reasons. I felt that the group wasn't united. We were not friends. We didn't care about each other. We were working against each other, behind each other's backs."
The chance to play together on stage has done a lot to smooth out differences within Jane's Addiction.
"We're all kind of in a good place now," Farrell says. "We've made sure that everybody's comfortable and gets what they need out here on the road. So a lot of the old things that were between us aren't really there anymore."
The band's live show, which features unique honeycomb lights and a stage set designed by Roy Bennett (known for his work with Pink Floyd), has found the band playing material from the albums the original lineup made together.
"Those are the albums that we recorded with Eric Avery," Farrell said. "So out of respect, I suppose, to Eric we felt it would make him the most comfortable playing those songs."
While he wants to see the Jane's Addiction reunion last beyond its current tour and go on to make new music together, Farrell is making no promises. He knows the band could come apart at any point.
"There is hope for even Jane's Addiction because we are having a good time out here," he said. "Jane's Addiction is a valuable tool for people in this world to kind of get out of their minds and forget their troubles and go back to this place where there was this beautiful mischief in their lives."