One of the greatest rock bands from my high school and college days was honored at a private event Friday night with the Elmer Valentine Award at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip – Jane’s Addiction. Jane Says was a staple song in college that I heard nightly. Rock n’ Roll took over the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood last weekend as Jane’s Addiction headlined Saturday night for the 7th Annual Sunset Strip Music Festival. Sponsored by Jack Daniels, my friends and I had a front row spot as the band rocked a few songs on stage unexpectedly with borrowed equipment from other bands. The quartet launched into Mountain Song, which sent the crowd into a passionate tizzy!
Hundreds of photographers were crammed around us as we screamed for more. Jane’s Addiction showed us they haven’t lost one musical beat in 25 years, even playing on someone else’s instruments on a moment’s notice. Quirky, now 55 year old Perry Farrell dressed in his suit and hat dazzled us by talking to the crowd, and belting out his famous lyrics in only a voice you would know as Perry’s. Of course bare chested tattooed Dave Navarro strutted his genius guitar skills with ease and finesse as he lifted his leg near us to strum his guitar, while bass player Chris Chaney showed us his super talents too all while being mesmerized by Steve Perkins wailing on the drums.
Many guests paid tribute to Jane’s Addiction, like legendary skateboarder Tony Hawke and Mikael Maglieri, owner of Whisky-A-Go-Go and Rainbow Bar & Grill. The festival created the award in 2008 to honor Lou Adler, Mario Maglieri and Elmer Valentine, founders of the iconic West Hollywood rock spots Whisky-A-Go-Go, The Roxy, and Rainbow Bar & Grill, venues that served as the foundation of the Strip and its musical heritage. Hawk stepped up to congratulate Jane’s Addiction, adding that “Nothing’s Shocking” was the one tape that he and his fellow skateboarders all agreed to listen to on road trips.
West Hollywood mayor John Heilman and several council members presented the award to the band, but first Jane’s Addiction was presented with a large painting depicting its “Nothing’s Shocking” album cover, which celebrates its 25th anniversary. Jane’s Addiction was also given a plaque and four official silver Sunset Strip Music Festival headphones. KROQ’s Ted Stryker served as emcee and KROQ’s Rodney Bingenheimer spent a few moments sharing the history of Jane’s Addiction, along with their list of achievements, including earning a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame last year.
Maglieri shared how Jane’s Addiction helped bring a new, thriving music scene to the famed Sunset Strip. Farrell interrupted him, taking the microphone to return some praise and then, called his band mates on stage. Once gathered, Jane’s Addiction asked if they could play a song and the crowd cheered wildly.
Now Jane’s Addiction joins other rock legends that have received the tribute, which includes Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, Motley Crue, The Doors, and Joan Jett.
Jane’s Addiction was born out of the ashes of an ebbing punk scene, which was giving way to new sounds from bands like Nine Inch Nails, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice in Chains and Rage Against The Machine. The band first performed live at The Roxy in 1985. It’s first studio album, “Nothing’s Shocking,” had very little airplay and thus sold poorly when first released. When the effort’s first single and video, “Mountain Song,” was released, MTV refused to air it due to a scene featuring full frontal nudity. But Jane’s Addiction toured in support of “Nothing’s Shocking” with Iggy Pop and The Ramones and, by the end of the road, was headlining shows. Its recording now receiving critical praise.
Afterwards, a slew of bands played one or two Jane’s Addiction songs to keep the House rocking. Dead Sara offered Jane Says, while Queen Caveat did Coming Down the Mountain.
Saturday night Jane’s headlined the music festival, where we saw them play their entire Nothing’s Shocking album with a packed crowd outside, with even swinging girls pierced through the back of their skin dangling over the crowd. The enthusiastic crowd sang and danced like it was 1991, when Lollapalooza first appeared in the US. Perry even admitted that Jane’s Addiction feels way more love in LA than NY.
Other Jane’s highlights included a few more of their biggest hits from other albums including “Just Because” from Strays and “Stop” and “Been Caught Stealing” from Ritual de lo Habitual. It was cool to see Perry’s kids join him onstage at the end of the show, and we knew Chris Chaney’s wife and kids were on stage too watching the show from behind the band. Perry Ferrel continued to show great appreciation for being honored and for their band’s contributions to the Strip’s legacy.
The weekend also included a number of big acts, such as Empire of the Sun, Destructo, Tove Lo, Cold War Kids, Big Freedia, Mayer Hawthorne, the Birds of Satan, and more.
We have loved seeing Dave and Chris play at Camp Freddy at the Roxy as well as private charity events. When we first moved to LA seven years ago, we were welcomed by a surprise appearance by Perry Farrell at the Roxy making us realize we surely made it to LA.