Jane's Addiction A Cabinet of Curiosities

Jane's Addiction A Cabinet of Curiosities
There's something to be said, in terms of achieving legendary rock star status (although maybe not for being a good person), about an artist dying young at the height of their popularity and creative zenith. For instance, Kurt Cobain and Nirvana will never put out a poor record, never grow old and contradict their youthful, vibrant selves or become pale imitations thereof, never reform for money and never suck. If there was an artist that shouldn't be alive today, Perry Farrell has got to be high on the list. Who thought he wouldn't have OD'd or caught something during Jane's height of popularity in the early '90s, considering his penchant for excess and debauchery? And while Jane's "legendary" profile has taken some serious body shots over the years, what with the "relapses" (i.e., reunions) and Strays minus original bassist Eric Avery, as well as guitarist Dave Navarro's reality TV uber-douche-baggery, Jane's Addiction are still one of the most important bands in modern American music; they are the act that set the table for the '90s alternative revolution. With the band's original line-up finally back together and set to tour this summer with Nine Inch Nails (although with no new record, for now), A Cabinet of Curiosities comes at a time when interest in the legendary act has been rekindled. While other Jane's collections have been piecemeal (i.e., Kettle Whistle, Live and Rare) or entirely lacking (Up From the Catacombs), Cabinet is a three-disc/one DVD set of stunning beauty and detail (it's packaged in a miniature cabinet, with amazing art, detailed linear notes and quotes from famous fans/friends such as Henry Rollins, Slash, Flea, etc.). And for Jane's fans, it's unquestionably an overwhelming excavation of their history that reminds why Jane's were once so vital, special and volatile. While many of the collection's demo, rare and live tracks have been available in various forms over the years, they've never been collected with such care, and there are a whopping 30 previously unreleased tracks. There are numerous demos for just about everything from the band's peak era (the collection smartly ignores the non-Eric periods), spanning their 1987 self-titled "live" record, Nothing's Shocking and Ritual De Lo Habitual, as well there's the complete Hollywood Palladium set, a 1990 Jane's performance particularly notable for contributing live video "Ain't No Right." Ultra-rarities include a demo version of "Suffer Some" (which would appear years later in reworked form on Strays) and live versions of "Kettle Whistle," "Whole Lotta Love" (Led Zeppelin) and "1970" (Stooges), all from 1987. The DVD gathers the infamous, long out-of-print Soul Kiss video, as well as all Jane's music videos with the "classic" line-up (check out the super-low-budget "Had a Dad" from the then nascent group for kicks), as well as three songs ("Whores," "Then She Did" and "Three Days") from a 1990 live performance for MTV Italy, which conveys Jane's transcendent live majesty. If the summer tour captures just a portion of the magic A Cabinet of Curiosities contains it'll be worth showing up for. (Rhino/Warner)