Let me preface this review with a little bit about my history with Jay Mohr’s latest guest. I was obsessed with Jane’s Addiction when I was kid. My mom dropped me off at a show they did with 24-7 Spyz at Center Stage in Atlanta in 1989, and I never looked back. For two solid years I was transfixed by these dudes. Their music spoke directly to the angst-ridden, sometimes repetitive, bass line that is adolescent taste.
In my eyes, Perry Farrell could do no wrong. A day didn’t go by that I didn’t listen to Nothing’s Shocking. I remember debates about his name, its pronunciation, its origins. Only recently, did I discover Peretz Bernstein’s pseudonym was a simple play on the word peripheral. Mind … blown. Suffice it to say, I was a fan.
Then the hippies discovered them. All it took was one impromptu rendition of “Jane Says” at a keg party involving an acoustic guitar and a drum circle for me to give up on Farrell and company. (There may have also been a Hacky Sack present.)
That’s not to say I don’t have a special place in my heart for those three seminal albums. (I’m including the live one.) I still love them. And I’m still intrigued by the front man responsible for that mystique and incomparable sound. In many ways it defined my teens. Not so intrigued by Dave Navarro, however. Thankfully, he was nowhere to be found on this episiode.
I’ve heard Mohr talk about his love for Jane’s. He mentioned seeing Farrell running shoeless in Santa Monica or Malibu on one episode. But I never expected to hear the guy on the show. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Farrell’s ever been a guest on any of the big ones. I can’t see too many podcasters giving him the attention he deserves. Jay Mohr, on the other hand, was rapt.
They start the show off with a look back at Farrell’s first concert (an abbreviated Led Zeppelin set in Tampa) and almost immediately get into what makes this rock start tick. He denounces the playboy lifestyle, sings the praises of fatherhood and true love, and breaks down the recipe for a happy marriage. It got very corny, very quickly. And I loved it.
As I get older, I’m equally disenchanted and comforted when I get a glimpse at the humanity behind a former idol. This guy who once defined cool for me sounded very much like a content, retired surfer. That’s not to say he sounds like a 54 year old — far from it. His voice has aged about as much as he has physically, little to none. He’s congenial and relaxed, but discerning in his choice of words; except when he’s talking about former Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery, who he refers to as Sisyphus for reasons you’ll have to figure out on your own.
Mohr is an adept interviewer; his guests never come off as uncomfortable or overly guarded. He keeps things chill by not ambushing them or calling them out. But being the fan I am, I wanted to hear more about Farrell’s past and his darker endeavors. But that wasn’t what this episode was about. It was breezy, and it was brief.
They talked Lollapalooza; they talked kids; they talked bands. Then they wrapped it up. Good pod, just not as in depth as I was hoping it would be.