Jane’s Addiction is like comfort food or a cold, firm pillow to drummer Stephen Perkins. Even though the band has only played once this year, returning to the stage is like coming home after a long tour.
“It feels like that pillow that you love,” Perkins says. “It’s your pillow—not the pillow at the hotel, or the pillow your friend let you borrow because you slept over. You can fall asleep on someone else’s pillow. Jane’s Addiction feels like those great, old memories. It caresses the feeling, the songs and the future, and what’s possible.”
Jane’s Addiction will return to the stage this month for a handful of shows, including a Wednesday, December 27, gig at the Marquee Theatre.
“I’m excited to have shows coming up,” he says. “It’s nice to have a handful of them. The shows are action packed with energy and emotion because we haven’t played in so long.”
Playing clubs/small theaters was a conscious decision for Jane’s Addiction. Known for its songs “Been Caught Stealing” and “Jane Says,” the band has played a myriad of venues, ranging from 300 to 200,000 capacity. Perkins explains he prefers smaller crowds.
“I kind of relate it to a phone call in a quiet room,” he says. “You can hear everything everyone’s talking about. That’s what it’s like on a stage in a small room. If you’re at a bigger show, 400 yards away you see someone bungee jumping, or there’s some dynamic light show far away in some field.
“Distractions are good for the creative part, but I appreciate the quiet moments between band members. We can really hone in on the music if there are 500 to 1,000 fans.”
He adds that he loves the experience of a successful band, but as the stage gets bigger, there is less of a connection between the musicians—and the fans. Perkins visualizes what is going on between fans when he’s behind the drumkit.
“When we’re on stage, someone’s getting a phone number,” Perkins says. “Someone’s getting a kiss for the first time. Someone is arguing. There’s a whole world out there when we’re playing. I love that.”
Jane’s Addiction’s world came together singer Perry Farrell and Eric Avery were seeking musicians for a new project. Perkins met guitarist Dave Navarro when he was 14. Farrell came along when Perkins was 17. Avery was the bassist from 1985 to 1991, and from 2008 to 2010. Current bassist, Chris Chaney, played with Jane’s Addiction from 2002 to 2004, and again since 2011.
“Chris Chaney’s been in the band longer than Eric Avery,” Perkins says with a laugh. “We’re partners in crime. We’re all friends.
“It’s remarkable to see all the changes in music, and the losses we’ve had in the last few years. To be able to still do it and make people feel good when you play music, that’s all that matters. I’ve been so lucky growing up in Jane’s Addiction, and Infectious, Porno for Pyros, Banyan and Hellride with so many different players. But when I get back together with Dave, Perry and Chris, it’s amazing.”
Jane’s Addiction, Marquee Theatre, 730 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe, 480.829.0607, luckymanonline.com, 8 p.m. Wednesday, December 27, $83.