We were the first family I knew of to get Sky TV in the UK. It caught on very fast, but when we first got it installed there was nobody else we knew at the time who also had it. So when The Simpsons started, we would watch it religiously, and then I would go to school and for a short time there wouldn’t be anybody else who I could talk to about it. Part of the fun of being at school is shared experiences – “Did you watch Dr. Who last night?”, etc – but in this respect I couldn’t discuss The Simpsons with anybody else except my own family.
So when I first started listening to rock music – back in early 1993 – the house was already set up to receive MTV, and for a few years I became an addict. I consumed everything. Headbanger’s Ball. Beavis & Butthead. 120 Minutes. Unplugged. The MTV Music Awards, when you’d see great things like John Paul Jones playing bass on Lenny Kravitz’s Are You Gonna Go My Way, or The Beastie Boys playing Sabotage as a little garage-rock three-piece. I watched the breaking news, and the resulting tributes, when Kurt Cobain blew his head off with a shotgun. I even remember being at a friend’s house, steaming drunk, and being elated to see Joe Perry being interviewed live, on the red carpet before one of the awards shows.
The point I’m trying to make is that despite the evil that I now see MTV as – mainly because videos can take away your objectivity about music – it was a big part of my life, and for a few years it supported my burgeoning addiction to rock music.
During this time, there was a music video I would see all the time. My first impressions were of the visual elements of the video – a man, grossly made-up as a pregnant woman, shoplifting in an American grocery store, interspersed with Perry Farrell singing the song looking like a robber, with nylon tights stretched over his face. It was funny. I used to like catching the video whenever it was played, simply because it amused me. Then the music started to grow on me. It was a rock song, but with these weird crashing jazz chords played over the top.
Of course, since then I’ve learnt who Jane’s Addiction are, especially how Perry Farrell was the architect of Lollapalooza. I was also a big fan of One Hot Minute – the sole Red Hot Chili Peppers album which Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro played on.
Listening back, I’m not a huge fan of Ritual de lo Habitual – I love Been Caught Stealing, but the rest of that first side has a very similar sound. That’s okay, it’s just their sound and just like the very early Chili Peppers albums, it’s that almost jokey version of punk. I’m much more interested in the second side – where the songs go a bit more progressive rock.
Hit: Been Caught Stealing
Hidden Gem: Three Days