photo & text by nacrowe
after the first breakup of JANE'S ADDICTION, the band basically bifurcated into two camps. one included frontman PERRY FARRELL and drummer STEPHEN PERKINS which became PORNO FOR PYROS and the other was guitarist DAVE NAVARRO and bassist ERIC AVERY which resulted in DECONSTRUCTION.
out of all the splinter groups associated with the core members of JANE'S ADDICTION, DECONSTRUCTION is arguably the least known and most sonically experimental and lyrically complex. the pair only released one album, DECONSTRUCTION (AMERICAN, 1994), before NAVARRO went on to join the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and later the reformed JANE'S ADDICTION while ERIC AVERY went on to form POLAR BEAR and then produce solo records and perform as a touring bassist for GARBAGE among others.
when i discovered this record i was attending my junior year of high school in KUWAIT and felt extremely disconnected from my surroundings and my immediate community, which was quite hostile. there is an interiority and sense of self-containment to this record that really fit that moment for me perfectly, as i was constantly questioning my sanity during that period. wasnt sure it was me that was crazy, turned out it was that whole country. go figure. JANE'S ADDICTION was and is still one of my all-time favorite bands and i consider the second half of RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL (WARNER BROS, 1990) to be pure bliss, arguably one of the finest sides of any record ever produced. BEATLES, SMITHS, DAVID BOWIE, ZEPPELIN, LOU REED be damned. DECONSTRUCTION to my ears sounds like a continuation of that record, especially its more expansive, multi-part, rhythmically and compositionally complex moments.
it basically sounds like the JANE'S ADDICTION record that never was and cemented the importance of AVERY in my mind to the original lineup. those cyclical bass grooves that sound bigger than god are equally indebted to POST PUNK, AFRO BEAT and FUNK music. NAVARRO is also in top form here, adding textures upon layered textures that brings back to mind all those favorable comparisons to DANIEL ASH, ROBERT SMITH, JIMMY PAGE and the like. when i hear the deadpan solemnity of AVERY's oblique spoken-word poetry it brings back memories of PETER MURPHY and IAN CURTIS, which is quite the opposite end of the spectrum from PERRY FARRELL's gender-bending vocal pyrotechnics and singular bravado in providing a hagiographical narrative to the lyrics. AVERY to me sounds more tangible and approachable, like somebody sitting you down and leveling with you about the realities of life, albeit in a fairly expressionist manner.
i have listened to this record since my teen years and i am still blown away by it. some feel it is a bit bloated and not well-focused, but i believe it is an artifact created by two incredibly talented musicians that were at the peak of their powers and untethered by commercial pressures. this was their creative and artistic exhalation after the pressures of their previous band became to intense.
my hope is that at some point AVERY and NAVARRO will record something, anything, in the studio and release it. those bass grooves over his guitar texture is such a revelation. its a pity that that creative relationship hasnt been explored more over the decades.
DECONSTRUCTION is definitely worth further investigation by any fan of POST PUNK, ALTERNATIVE ROCK, INDIE ROCK or mind-expanding ROCK N ROLL. highly recommended.
BOOK REVIEW | "DON"T TRY THIS AT HOME: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF DAVE NAVARRO" BY DAVE NAVARRO & NEIL STRAUSS
photo & text by nacrowe
there was an interesting period in the late 90s when guitarist DAVE NAVARRO was without a regular gig as it had been years since he left the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and JANE'S ADDICTION had recently broken up for the second time. he was also recently divorced (pre-CARMEN ELECTRA). it was during this time that he bunkered himself into his HOLLYWOOD HILLS home and chose to document a year in his life ANDY WARHOL-style, by buying and installing a vintage photo-booth and requiring every person that entered his house (celebrities, models, comedians, hangers-on, musicians, groupies, maids, plumbers, drug dealers, etc) to take a photo when entering. WARHOL famously setup a 16mm film camera at his FACTORY studio and had everyone sit for several minutes, the idea being that after a while you stop posing and act like your authentic self.
DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF DAVE NAVARRO (HARPERCOLLINS, 2004) is the culmination of NAVARRO and co-writer NEIL STRAUSS contextualizing these photographs into NAVARRO's relapse into heroin addiction. you would think that this premise would be easy fodder for glamorizing drug addiction, especially with the seeming young HOLLYWOOD in-crowd partaking in his late night activities on a semi-regular basis. but the book really just sets up how lost he was at the time. it would be years before he would properly go about getting professional help regarding the trauma of dealing with his mother's murder by the hand of a jealous ex-boyfriend in his formative years as a teenager.
all that being said, i can't imagine the seductive power of being so young and admired. i don't know how anyone in that situation would not become a full blown addict with the HOLLYWOOD set. but he got out of it. he recovered.
and i think that is the reason he chose to write and have this book published, to show others (maybe within the music community) that there is a way out, no matter how deep and dependent you are on the drug community. in the years since more members of the community have passed on from drugs or drug-related activities, most notably CHRIS CORNELL, MICHAEL JACKSON, AMY WINEHOUSE, TOM PETTY, MAC MILLER, PRINCE, SCOTT WEILAND (STONE TEMPLE PILOTS), JANI LANE (WARRENT), LIL PEEP, WHITNEY HOUSTON, RICK JAMES, WAYNE STATIC (STATIC-X), IKE TURNER and THE REV (AVENGED SEVENFOLD).
i really feel this book was meant for his peers and not the general public. to the public parts of this book come off salacious and voyeuristic, but to a musician of any importance my guess is this unending expanding cadre of enablers is more than familiar. to them by showing his reality, hopefully it'll make them seek help.
as for NAVARRO, i wish he'd stop with his addiction to hosting shitty REALITY TV shows. i'm just saying.
photo manipulation by nacrowe
in the wake of the first breakup of JANE'S ADDICTION in the early 1990s, the founding members basically divided into two camps, the PERRY FARRELL/STEPHEN PERKINS alternative rock outfit PORNO FOR PYROS and the ERIC AVERY/DAVE NAVARRO experimental art-project DECONSTRUCTION.
while PORNO FOR PYROS continued the ascendancy of PERRY FARRELL as a cultural force riding his own wave with his LOLLAPALOOZA platform, it is my opinion that the lone DECONSTRUCTION (AMERICAN RECORDINGS, 1994) album is by far superior, arguably equal in quality with the WARNER BROS. output of early JANE'S ADDICTION.
this is in part because ERIC AVERY as the bassist of JANE'S ADDICTION wrote those iconic, almost tribal, looping, melodic bass motifs that became the creative foundation upon which the songs were based. essentially the next batch of transcendent riffs for a never-made JANE'S ADDICTION album found themselves on this record as well as later ERIC AVERY projects like POLAR BEAR and solo albums (all worth checking out).
i feel strongly that ERIC AVERY has never gotten his due and is criminally underrated and under-celebrated. the dude influenced everyone around him in the alternative scene and his bass style has been copied to the point that its omnipresent. it is almost laughable.
i think in JANE'S ADDICTION you have a band that was more than the some of its parts and each member was invaluable, specifically PERRY FARRELL's ability to cross-pollinate styles and cultures in a pre-internet glorious clusterfuck of ideas that set the tone for the decade. breaking down barriers between the tribes and promoting an almost utopian ideal of raising consciousness through shared ideas and dialogue. but essentially when you come down to it, ERIC AVERY was the vehicle that allowed such to happen. in my opinion.
his post-JANE'S ADDICTION output is more personal in scope and an acquired taste, given that his PETER MURPHY-like atonal vocal delivery and post-punk sense of angular song structure is not for everyone. what i truly love about this output is his love of texture. he really seems to bask in the idea of creating a vibe through sonic textures and then either juxtaposing it or letting it ride out in an almost shaman-like fashion. if you know about his family history in the film industry and his connection to LOS ANGELES it only makes for a more complex, diverse appreciation of his creative output.
again, his stuff is not for everyone but if you dig his work is rewarding.