The Colossal Impact of Jane’s Addiction

David R. Adler
2 min readMay 11, 2024

Author Sam Stephenson mentioned a Jane’s Addiction project that he has on the back burner. It got me thinking about the band and how it impacted me. But first, some music nerdery.

Jane’s Addiction employed the tension between minor and major in ways that still strike me as unique.

“Three Days,” from Ritual de lo Habitual, begins clear as could be in B minor. For the first bit, Perry Farrell is singing, also clear as could be, in B major over B minor. Leaning into it.

Then the “shadows of the morning light” section shifts to B major, and everything feels aligned.

The faster section, “true hunting’s over,” modulates to E major, where it stays for the rest of the song. “All now with wings,” the culminating phrase, is the classic rock progression C — D — E, major chords up in whole steps.

The final chord, after several minutes of the most epic, explosive, Jack Black-worthy rock ever, arrives like a sigh. It is E major, plain and simple, as though the answer was there all along. It’s as satisfying and cathartic a performance as anything I’ve heard from Beethoven or Mahler.

I listened for the first time in maybe 20 years the other day, cranked it in my car going home from work, on narrow country roads in bright sunlight. Every hair follicle was standing on end. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, or feeling.

Sometimes you wonder, and you’re almost afraid of the answer: Will I still love the music that opened my ears and my heart so powerfully when I was younger? Happily, “Three Days” sounded better than ever. “Then She Did,” the next track, which in my early 20s was maybe even more earth-shattering, sounded better as well.

In 1991 I saw Jane’s at the first Lollapalooza, the tour stop near Hackettstown, New Jersey. I camped out the night before with my girlfriend and four other friends, clueless city kids in sleeping bags getting crawled on by spiders. Got to the grounds the next day, girlfriend and I had to flee the mosh pit when it utterly exploded the moment Henry Rollins emerged to kick off the day. So we hung back, and that’s where we stayed and watched Jane’s Addiction headline about eight hours later. No jumbotrons, but the sound was great and they were transformative.

The big takeaway here is that music rules, and continues to rule more and more, the longer we are lucky to be alive.

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David R. Adler

Writer, guitarist and music educator based in Wakefield, United Kingdom.