Back in 2009, Nine Inch Nails announced a series of shows to sort of say goodbye for the time being. It was a very bittersweet thing to hear but, as a fan for many many many years, it made sense. Before the shows were announced, Nine Inch Nails spent the summer on the road with Jane’s Addiction (with all the original members). That was origianlly supposed to be the end but, seeing as Nine Inch Nails would be playing at different times and under the backdrop of a sunset many a times, it just didn’t feel quite right for that to be the end. Instead, a series of shows were announced in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to attend 3 of the 4 Los Angeles shows. The final one was at The Wiltern and what a show it was. Over 3 hours (yes, THREE HOURS) of nonstop Nine Inch Nails at it’s absolute finest. The setlist was utterly perfect and beyond emotional. Thankfully too, there were a group of fans in the audience that night filming it all and they put together one of the best live shows I’ve ever been to. Without giving anything away, I highly recommend you taking the time to watch/listen to this show!
Back in 1997, Jane’s Addiction reunited for a tour with Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass instead of Eric Avery. To coincide with that tour, the band released a compilation album called Kettle Whistle featuring live tracks, demos and two new songs (“Kettle Whistle” and “So What”) featuring the “Relapse Tour” lineup. I remember being really excited about this record for some reason. One track on the album has always stood out to me and that is the version of “Three Days.” This live version was taken from their 1990 show at the Hollywood Palladium and it’s absolutely astounding. It’s one of those live versions that far supersedes the studio version.
Jane’s Addiction- Three Days (Live at Hollywood Palladium 1990):
35 Years ago, before Ministry became what we all know them to be know, they were a very cool synth pop/new wave band. In 1984 they released the song “(Everyday) Is Halloween.” For many, many years though, that song went unplayed until late 2018, when Al brought it out of retirement at a Los Angeles stop on tour, accompanied by Dave Navarro. Well after that happened, there seemed to be a resurgence of people listening to the song and clamoring for more of it. So, here we are and now, Al along with Dave have released a new acoustic version of the song and, it’s quite a great version. Enjoy!
Ministry- Everyday Is Halloween (featuring Dave Navarro):
Back in the yesteryear when MTV actually played music, they had some pretty amazing shows that were televised. On Halloween in 1997, Jane’s Addiction played a show at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom. This Jane’s reunion would feature Flea on bass instead of Eric Avery. Jane’s Addiction would release the Kettle Whistle record which featured new songs “Kettle Whistle” and “So What” both featured Flea on bass, as well as alternate, unreleased and live tracks. The show for MTV was quite the performance and the set list was top notch. Enjoy this classic gem!
Jane’s Addiction- Hammerstein Ballroom, Halloween 1997 on MTV:
02. Aint No Right
03. Then She Did
05. Three Days
06. Mountain Song
07. Summertime Rolls
08. Jane Says
09. Classic Girl
10. Chip Away
11. Ted, Just Admit It
12. I Would For You
Bad ideas happen a lot in music. I mean A LOT of bad ideas. Sometimes it’s a business decision, a song arrangement, or even a member change/addition. One of the biggest of the bad ideas are cover songs. Sure if you are in your rehearsal studio and you’re messing around it’s fun and silly but, when you actually dare to put it out for the public to hear, that’s a whole other story. I’d like to bring your attention to a cover song that was released in 2004. Gene Simmons, yes THAT Gene Simmons, released a “solo” album in 2004 entitled Asshole. When the album was released the first single from it was a cover of The Prodigy’s “Firestarter.” It’s worth noting too that Dave Navarro lent his guitar playing to this cover. Well, not only did the album flop but, this cover is probably one of the worst covers you’ll ever hear, plus, what Gene looks like and does in the video makes it even worse. Gene Simmons has never been shy about his goal of making money. Just look at all the KISS merchandise there is along with all the other schlock he peddles. This was one of those really bad ideas that will live on in infamy and should you need a laugh, it’s perfect for that.
This past week I’ve been on a Jane’s Addiction kick. While further delving into their early career, before Nothing’s Shocking, I came across a very interesting cover they did of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” They really made the song their own in a way that only Jane’s Addiction could. Dave Navarro’s playing and little additional leads to the song are outstanding. Stephen Perkins nails the Bonham feel but adds a bit of a funkier vibe to it, Eric Avery is so damn steady and loose that it just comes natural for him and of course the vocals from Perry Farrell are so uniquely his. This is just a really well done and fun cover. Enjoy!
The year is 1997 and the auto-biographical film Private Parts about Howard Stern is drawing in audiences. While the film went on to be a success, there was another element of the whole thing that often gets overlooked and that is the soundtrack.
Trent Reznor promised new Nine Inch Nails before the end of 2016 and he delivered. Not The Actual Events, the new EP (and first EP since 1992’s Broken) finds Trent and now full time member Atticus Ross, delving deep into the industrial landscape with a bit of shoegaze, and erratic sensibilities. There are moments among the 5 songs that hark back to the Broken days along with bits of The Downward Spiral. I can say this about the EP, if you’ve been wanting Nine Inch Nails to go back to their heavier days, then you are going to really enjoy this.
Starting off with “Branches/Bones” you know that this is Nine Inch Nails. “Dear World” is a song that take a right turn, but doesn’t lose the identity of it being a part of this EP. “She’s Gone Away” is a song that takes you on a journey all on its own. There is a real epic feel to this song. I could really see this one becoming a fan favorite like “Reptile.” “The Idea Of You” is absolute classic Nine Inch Nails from the Broken era. The distorted guitars and thrashy drums (courtesy of Dave Grohl) really make this a true stand out. This song is the type of Nine Inch Nails song, the “old school” fans have been clamoring for. “Burning Bright (Field On Fire)” is dark, heavy and deeply poetic. The screaming guitars are plyed by Dave Navarro (This marks the first time he’s played on a NIN track since the Further Down The Spiral remix album) I could see why Trent decided to put this out first.
There is a real darkness to this collection, all the while providing a sense of life, hope and relief. Trent and Atticus aren’t afraid to reach back into what Nine Inch Nails has done before, but they do it in a way that makes it feel fresh and not rehashed. Not The Acutal Events is short and sweet but, it does leave you wanting more. Either way, there is new Nine Inch Nails out there, and that makes me happy.
For years, Dave Navarro has been one of my favorite guitarists. He’s got such a unique tone and sound that when he plays, you know it’s him. Here are a few select songs he has guested on over the years.
Nine Inch Nails- Burning Bright:
Marilyn Manson- I Don’t Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me):
The year is 1995 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are about to release their follow up to Blood Sugar Sex Magik. John Frusciante left the band and was replaced by Dave Navarro. By adding Dave Navarro, the Chili Peppers sound changed rather drastically. The lyrics grew darker, exploring the perils of drug use, depression, grief and many other themes along those lines. Navarro also added a heavier approach with his style of guitar playing. Granted this album was a bit of a detour from what the band had put out with Blood Sugar, One Hot Minute has become an album that with age, has become a true unsung masterpiece in the bands catalog. The history of the making of One Hot Minute is quite the story. Anthony Kiedis had relapsed, thus causing a slow down in the writing and recording of the album. But the end result was something special. Songs like “Warped,” “Aeroplane,” “My Friends,” “Tearjerker,” “One Hot Minute,” and “Transcending” are stellar compliments to a very underrated album.
One thing I’ve noticed over the years listening to the album is that Dave Navarro really brought something special and different to the band. He brought a different style to the band than what John Frusciante did, leaving a signature mark on the one album he did with the band. Interestingly, One Hot Minute isn’t an album that the Chili Peppers visit often. In fact they have even come out to say that “We don’t really feel that connected to that record anymore. No special reason, not to say we would never play those songs but we don’t feel that emotionally connected to that music right now.” Which is quite sad, considering how good the album really is. Hopefully there will be a time again that they revisit some of these songs.