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Despite some false starts and changing bass players three times, spirits are high as Jane's Addiction begins recording in earnest for its fourth album this week in Los Angeles.
"I'm really happy with where we are, musically speaking," guitarist Dave Navarro tells Billboard.com. "One thing I've come to learn and embrace about this band is, things take what [time] they take... I would say that all the changes we've gone through are a necessary part of this process this time. This is one of the most enjoyable journeys that I've been on in many, many, many years, and as a result I'm really not all that concerned about timetables and rushing to get this stuff out."
The group's Stephen Perkins was due in the studio Wednesday to work on drum sounds with producer Rich Costey and bassist Dave Sitek from TV On the Radio -- who's been working with the band since the fall but is not, Navarro notes, a new member of Jane's Addiction, contrary to reports that he is. The latest sessions come after some recording with original bassist Eric Avery in 2009 and then with Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses, Velvet Revolver) in 2010. The album will be Jane's Addiction's first set of new material since Strays in 2003.
"To me it's important to not repeat what we did," Perkins explains. "We know we can make a rock record with rock riffs and a big drum beat. I don't want to do that. I want to go in and make a listenable onion with layers and layers and layers so you can actually digest it. It's definitely been a good writing experience and a good changing experience."
Perkins says Jane's Addiction is entering the studio with "music and ideas for days," while Navarro adds that "we probably have more material for this record than we've ever had for any record, which is a pretty great place to be." Both are circumspect about what they expect the album to sound like, however.
"I would hate to pigeonhole us by giving examples of what I believe the stuff sounds like," Navarro says. "It's a completely different direction for Jane's Addiction...However, it still sounds very much like Jane's Addiction." Perkins adds that "they're songs that take you on a journey, songs that grow from soft to hard to tribal to psychedelic to metal in one song. We're trying to explore that hybrid again."
Both agree that Sitek has been a positive addition to the camp -- a "nice, solidifying element to the lineup," according to Navarro, while Perkins says that Sitek has "opened up my eyes to a lot of new ideas as a drummer," particularly in using technology.
Both of the Jane's men say they optimally would like to see the album finished and ready for release by summer, with a tour to follow. But neither will guarantee that scenario. "I've learned my lesson not to predict the future, especially in terms of this band," Navarro says with a laugh.
Perkins, meanwhile, explains, "There is this feeling we can make something ambitious. There is this ambition we have in us to break ground again. We really want to, as artists, move forward. That's an exciting thing, just like in the old days. We want to capture that danger and excitement again, and it's worth taking our time to do that."