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Jane’s Addiction Relapses for Tour

November 15, 1997 GMT

MIAMI (AP) _ The premiere show of the Lollapalooza festival in 1991 found the headlining act crashing hard. Internal dissension was becoming external.

The members of Jane’s Addiction had already ceased talking to each other when Dave Navarro flipped out during the set in Phoenix, recklessly and spontaneously throwing his guitar into the audience in the middle of a song.

As the rest the band stood with their mouths agape, vocalist Perry Farrell tackled his bandmate, hitting him several times. And the show ended in chaos.

``I was like, `Don’t throw a tantrum at the crowd. They love you.′ I just slapped him up,″ Farrell said. ``It was drugs, let’s face it. He was just loaded. David is different now.″

So much is different now _ the band has virtually reunited.

Jane’s Addiction _ the cult band many credit for opening the doors for grungers like Nirvana and Pearl Jam _ is touring to support the group’s new disc, ``Kettle Whistle,″ a collection of live tracks, studio outtakes and a handful of new songs.

Proving some wounds don’t heal, bassist Eric Avery opted not to participate in the project. So the venerable Flea has joined the group for what is being called The Relapse Tour.

Flea and Navarro now play together in the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but the bassist can be found playing horn way back on Jane’s Addiction’s 1989 major label debut, ``Nothing Shocking.″

``There is just a lot of longtime musical friendships,″ said drummer Stephen Perkins. ``It’s a lot of great personalities on stage and we are all focusing on making Jane’s Addiction music. We’ve been dying to play these songs. They deserve to be played.″

Jane’s Addiction was a brilliant shooting star as the 1980s wound down. The hard-hitting quartet’s mix of rock, funk, punk and politics was an anathema to the Reagan-Bush era. Farrell initially pushed the limits of androgyny on stage, making Boy George and David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust look like the country club set.

In a two-year period, the Los Angeles band went from playing dingy clubs to huge amphitheaters. As Jane’s Addiction hit mainstream with alternative radio staples like ``Jane’s Says″ and ``Caught Stealing,″ the band continued to mainline heroin and binge on other drugs.

Today, Flea and Navarro are notoriously clean and sober and Farrell even admits to learning moderation, though he still espouses the use of hallucinogens. Perkins has always been the most stable member of the quartet.

The first Lollapalooza _ the brainchild of Farrell _ was pretty much a personal disaster for the band and it broke up after the final show in Hawaii. Lollapalooza, though, ended up reinventing the summer music festival.

``If we would have stuck in there, I don’t know what would have happened. I’m glad I never got to see it,″ Farrell said of the band’s breakup. ``It would have gotten ugly. We retired when we were at our peak. We would have been redundant musically.″

Which begs the question, why the 19-date Relapse tour and the new album ``Kettle Whistle″? The disc is an interesting collection. The title song gives an inkling of where the band might have gone, but fan favorites _ like ``Had a Dad″ and ``Ain’t No Right″ _ are what stand as a reminder to Jane’s Addiction’s power.

``If you see my dad, tell him my brothers have all gone mad. They’re beating on each other,″ Farrell sings in the 1988 studio outtake of ``Had a Dad,″ foretelling the Los Angeles riots four years later.

Many thought he was singing about the disintegration of the family, but the vocalist really was mourning the loss of spirituality after a decade of unadulterated greed. The dad he spoke of was God.

Farrell says he has learned to temper the anger so prevalent in his songs. ``Now, my anger is not blind anymore,″ he said. ``I try to see the wisdom.″

Angry infighting was Jane’s Addiction’s calling card long before the band called it quits, but Perkins knew Jane’s Addiction had an onstage chemistry most groups never know.

The drummer _ who went on to play with Farrell in Porno for Pyros _ religiously taped Jane’s Addiction’s shows and cataloged studio sessions. Those tapes make up the majority of ``Kettle Whistle.″

``It was kind of the journal of where I’d been,″ Perkins said. ``It was kind of like a postcard. It’s intense now. It’s exciting for us to do rehearsals, but it’s also really weird. You can’t help but have some since of nostalgia.″

Farrell agreed: ``It’s like reading poetry from your old school. I don’t disclaim it. I actually thinks it’s pretty good, words I’m proud of.″

Navarro and Farrell made amends a couple of years ago. The prolific guitarist joined the eccentric singer and Perkins to record ``Hard Charger″ for the soundtrack of Howard Stern’s ``Private Parts″ and then onstage at a couple of Pyrno for Pyro shows earlier this year.

The three reunited band members and Flea admit to being a bit challenged in having to live up to the Jane’s Addiction legacy. Few rock outfits ever achieved the energy of a Jane’s show.

The Relapse tour will play mostly small venues. The set and elaborate stage setup will change for each show.

``We are putting a lot of love into our record and shows,″ Perkins said. ``Perry said something funny the other day. `When you buy a great car, a Mercedes or a Porsche, you expect something.′ We have to have quality control.″