photo & text by nacrowe
in the wake of the breakup of JANE'S ADDICTION, frontman PERRY FARRELL and drummer STEPHEN PERKINS both collaborated with guitarist PETER DISTEFANO and bassist MARTYN LENOBLE (who was later replaced on the next album by MINUTEMEN/FIREHOSE veteran MIKE WATT) on a project called PORNO FOR PYROS. like most of the splinter groups related to JANE'S ADDICTION, their is a sense of both continuation and departure with the former group. whereas guitarist DAVE NAVARRO (of JANE'S ADDICTION) had a majestic sense of textured dynamics and guitar heroics that was equal parts JIMMY PAGE as it was DANIEL ASH and ROBERT SMITH, in DISTEFANO there is a decidedly more traditional approach with LATIN influences and even FLAMENCO stylings thrown in the mix. i can only imagine how daunting it must have felt to essentially be replacing ALTERNATIVE ROCK royalty, but DISTEFANO more than held is grown, especially on the subsequent GOOD GOD's URGE (WARNER BROS, 1996) follow-up release.
lyrically on their debut PORNO FOR PYROS (WARNER BROS, 1993) recording FARRELL ditches the pseudo-CATHOLIC hagiography of SEXUAL DESIRE predilections of his former group and paints a decidedly direct picture of early 1990s LOS ANGELES, complete with EMPATHETIC profiles on prostitutes ("CURSED FEMALE") and those that solicit their services ("CURSED MALE"), gang violence ("MEIJA") and even the LOS ANGELES RIOTS ("PORNO FOR PYROS"). the band's moniker is a reference to such widespread PANIC, VIOLENCE and ARSON in the wake of the RODNEY KING verdict. what makes the records fun is the EXPERIMENTAL yet chill and free-flowing nature of the music, no doubt indebted to DISTEFANO's layered guitar textures and PERKINS mantra-inducing grooves, as well as the IDIOSYNCRATIC obsessions of FARRELL. these include thoughts about the waves of emotion that induce depression ("SADNESS"), or what it would be like to be subjugated by extraterrestrials as playthings ("PETS"), or date someone from another culture ("BLACK GIRLFRIEND") or even the finer points of inducing the female climax ("ORGASM"). despite himself these self-referential narratives are quite profound and would be sleazy in lesser hands.
with FARRELL its all a celebration of life, the good and the bad. and in a way that celebration is a reflection of his deep affinity for LOS ANGELES and all its contradictions. fascinating record by a group that was just getting started. highly recommended.