There are at least two ways to immerse yourself in vintage Los Angeles decadence…But the safest is to spend a weekend playing Rock Band with the 1988 Jane’s Addiction classic, Nothing’s Shocking. This alt-rock milestone is the latest to hit Rock Band as a full-album download; an honor we like to give to the most life-changing discs we know.
From the start, the band’s vision was kinda dark, kinda sexy and very L.A. At one extreme, the sinister-sounding “Ted, Just Admit It…” bore out singer Perry Farrell’s fascination with serial killer Ted Bundy (and gave the album its title). On the other, “Up the Beach” and “Summertime Rolls” sport gentler hallucinogenic imagery, and share a musical theme or two.
In between come classics like “Mountain Song” (already a Rock Band 2 disc song) and “Jane Says,” about the real-life Jane and her real-life addiction. Farrell’s lowlife vocals and Dave Navarro’s guitar heroics have been rightly praised, but rhythm section players can discover how spot-on bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins are. The band chemistry helped Jane’s achieve their trademark mix of majestic grandeur with streetwise sleaze. As producer Dave Jerden told Spin magazine, “It felt like our entire culture was in there.”
Released in 1988, Nothing’s Shocking caused controversy right away; as certain large stores weren’t happy with the suggestive cover that Farrell and his girlfriend designed. The flashes of nudity in the “Mountain Song” video didn’t help their mainstream case either. Tensions were running so high that the band briefly broke up in the wake of the album’s release — but despite their checkered past, Jane’s Addiction are still alive and lately reunited. So if you’re catching them on tour this summer, let us know if the real Jane’s Addiction can rock these songs as well as you can.