The four original members of pioneering alternative rock band Jane’s Addiction performed in public for the first time in 17 years on Wednesday, burying their differences to receive an award for career achievement.
Singer Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins hit the stage at the inaugural NME Awards in Los Angeles with bass player Eric Avery, who had declined to play with the band since it first broke up in September 1991.
They performed four tunes, including “Mountain Song” and an acoustic version of “Jane Says” for an excited crowd of about 400 people at the El Rey Theatre.
“We made it and I’m really happy to be here,” said Farrell, alternately guzzling from a bottle of red wine and dispensing its contents to fans in the mosh pit.
The quartet received the Godlike Genius Award — a trophy of a clenched fist with the middle finger pointed skyward — for their contribution to the development of alternative rock.
Jane’s Addiction emerged from the Los Angeles rock underground in the 1980s, distinguishing itself from other post-punk groups with Farrell’s sexually ambiguous stagecraft and the musicians’ deft ear for melodic tunes. They recorded just three albums and scored radio play with such songs as ”Been Caught Stealing” and “Jane Says.”
But drug-fueled friction led to the band’s demise and the original lineup played their last gig in Hawaii in 1991. The band reunited in 1997 with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea coming aboard as the first of several substitutes for Avery.
The last show was in December 2003 when the band cut short a tour. The split was bitter but evidently not irreparable.
While Farrell, Navarro and Perkins readily agreed to accept the NME award when it was announced, Avery sat on the fence. He finally came around last week, declaring in a statement he was happy to honor the past “instead of trying to recreate it.”
The NME Awards were held by British music magazine NME, which has organized an event in the United Kingdom since the 1950s.
The host, Australian comedian Jim Jeffries, said he expected the winners to be drunk when they reached the stage. But the acceptance speeches, streamed in real time on MySpace, were mostly undistinguished.
Winners included Las Vegas rockers the Killers as best band and the Foo Fighters for best album.
“I’m probably going to take this to my proctologist,” Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl said via video, as he surveyed the curious statuette.
Former Clash principal Mick Jones received the Inspiration Award. He said he used to read NME religiously every week as a youngster.
“I don’t now. I scan it on the Internet, like the rest of you,” he added.