We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
In the wake of money-losing sequels to his platinum-selling alt-rock band Jane’s Addiction (Porno for Pyros) and platinum-plated alt-fest Lollapalooza (ENIT), Perry Farrell is looking to the past for another payday. To hear many of his followers tell it, JA’s current “relapse” tour (with Flea in the role bassist Eric Avery decided not to reprise) is the equal of a Zeppelin or Clash comeback. If Farrell and compadres are looking to reach the heights of the sonically dazzling Nothing’s Shocking, however, they’ll have to work a lot harder than they did on this souvenir. Kettle Whistle comprises four underwhelming new tracks (two of them retooled outtakes) and a stack of concert and studio takes of faves that won them their crowd in the first place. But while there’s undeniable force in the live “Three Days,” it’s still the same overlong, empty sprawl it was on 1990’s Ritual de lo Habitual. Farrell manages to sap the fun from “Been Caught Stealing” with this early version’s jivey-white-boy vocal; apparently, junk didn’t teach him anything about singing the blues. But that doesn’t keep him from feting himself with one of the all-time worst you’re-so-vain lines: “I’ll take my place with the freaks and the niggers.” In a couple of spots, this is a document of a generation, or a demographic segment, confusedly arriving at its aesthetic: “I thought it would never come to this,” an addled-sounding Farrell announces after a live-in-Hollywood “Ain’t No Right,” “but [an audience member] threw a Birkenstock.”