You really cannot underestimate the importance of Jane’s Addiction to music fans who – at the time of the release the band’s self-released debut live LP – were looking for an alternative to the brainless drivel major record labels were pumping out in the name of hard rock/heavy metal. I myself was lucky enough to be swept up in the largely underground hype surrounding the band towards the tail end of the ‘80s, and whilst I cannot claim to have seen them live on their debut UK tour – and not many can – I was lucky enough to ride the live waves of joy they were generating by the time they had released ‘Ritual de lo habitual’, and that those shows still loom large with me to this very day should be enough for you to understand just how much of a game changer that band really was.
Initially splitting up just as grunge took over the world Jane’s Addiction in many ways became like The Velvet Underground of that scene, and in their singer Perry Farrell, I guess you had the scene’s very own Lou Reed. Albeit without his critical or commercial success, which means a lot of what is contained within this soon to be released ‘The Glitz; The Glamour’ box set might in fact be new material to the more casual listener.
Celebrating the mercurial talents of the self-styled Godfather of Alternative Rock, ‘The Glitz; The Glamour’ then is a 68 track collection of Perry Farrell’s work outside of Jane’s Addiction and Porno For Pyros spread across a 6 CD/Blu-ray and an indie shop exclusive 9 LP/Blu-ray box set, that is a perfectly timed release with Christmas looming large on the horizon.
Let’s face it, with 2020 being the shitshow it has turned out to be we all need something to make us smile right now, and ‘The Glitz; The Glamour’ might just be the thing to make it happen.
Kicking things off with a 5 track EP from Farrell’s pre-Jane’s Addiction band PSI Com, this set is what many will be after in this collection. it’s an engaging glimpse into the life of the young artiste, formed very much in the image of UK post-punk bands like Killing Joke and Public Image, and what’s perhaps most striking is that Farrell himself was already singing in the style he would largely go onto become renowned for in Jane’s Addiction, this is especially prevalent on the likes of ‘Xiola’ where his banshee screams were already waking the dead.
2001’s ‘Song Yet To Be Sung’ is Farrell’s first solo album proper and is a huge shift for him musically, being heavily influenced by the UK drum and bass scene it actually has a kind of Daniel Lanois producing ‘Earthling’ era Bowie feel about it and as such I found myself completely absorbed by its depth and the eclectic nature, especially on tracks like ‘Did You Forget’, ‘King Z’ and ‘Say Something’ which literally bristle with creative electricity.
By contrast, if ‘Song Yet To Be Sung’ was Farrell at his most introspective 2019’s nine track ‘Kind Heaven’ sounds like the soundtrack to kind of party David Lee Roth was renowned for throwing around the time he launched his solo band. Opening track ‘(Red White and Blue) Cheerfulness perfectly summing up Farrell’s joyful intentions for the record in two minutes and 20 seconds flat. There’s no time for self-examination on this record and the heavy involvement of his wife Etty Lau seems to keep the mood of the record very much upbeat. It’s a truly wonderful musical surprise if you’ve yet to hear it.
Sandwiched in between these solo albums was of course Satellite Party, the musical collective Farrell formed with Etty Lau that also featured the likes of Nuno Bettencourt, John Frusciante, Flea, Peter Hook, and Kevin Figueiredo on their one album ‘Ultra Payloaded’ originally released back in 2007. At the time I remember really enjoying this album as it provided a fresh perspective on the voice behind Jane’s Addiction and after their excellent reunion album ‘Strays’ it also kind of gave a glimpse of the more commercial sound the band would follow on 2011’s much-maligned ‘The Great Escape Artist’ opus. Listening to ‘Ultra Payloaded’ 13 years later the likes of ‘Only Love, Let’s Celebrate’, ‘Kinky’ and ‘Mr. Sunshine’ have me dancing along to a kind of Sly & The Family Stone at the Hacienda groove and there’s a riot going on that’s for sure.
Which rather neatly leads me to the disc of Farrell/Satellite Party tracks remixed and re-imaged by the likes of UNCKLE, Groove Armada, Booka Shade, and a whole lot more besides and also includes Farrell’s dancefloor collaboration with The Avalanches on the ultra-funky ‘Oh The Sunn!’. It’s the ideal soundtrack for driving around town in your Corsa late at night, but eleven tracks of this for the more casual/rock-orientated listener might prove a little bit too much for them to stomach.
Very much more back at the end of the rock end of the spectrum though are the eight tracks contained on the disc of B-sides, where the likes of Starcrawler get to share some studio time with their hero on the feral ‘Turn Over The World’, the two previously unreleased tracks from ‘Rev’ get another day in the sun and ‘Cling To Life’ (recorded with the Kind Heaven Orchestra) once again has me thinking that the Farallels between our once dreadlocked anti-hero and the big band loving solo years of David Lee Roth might be even closer than I alluded to earlier.
With only a stream of this mighty box set on which to base this review I, unfortunately, can’t shed any light of what the ‘Kind Heaven’ record mixed in Dolby Atmos along with three new Atmos tracks from the remix record actually sound like, or in fact what the photographic memoirs hardback book or Zoltan prints aesthetically add to the package, but from what I have heard this really is an essential purchase for any die-hard fan of Perry Farrell’s music outside of Jane’s Addiction and Porno For Pyros.
Oh! ‘The Glitz; The Glamour’ – this is one box set I really do need in my collection.
Buy Perry Farrell – ‘The Glitz; The Glamour’ Here
Author: Johnny Hayward