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INDIO, California (Reuters) - War has broken out among the original members of Jane's Addiction, who are gearing up for their first tour in almost 18 years.
Singer Perry Farrell told Reuters that a mediation attempt by Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, with whom Jane's Addiction will tour next month, was unsuccessful.
But despite the temper tantrums, Farrell is determined to keep Jane's Addiction together. He, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Steven Perkins have toured on and off over the years. Bassist Eric Avery is back in the lineup after declining to play with the band after it first broke up in 1991. His return appears to have changed the delicate chemistry.
"I'm not going to tell you it's been all smooches and hugs. But it shouldn't be because that would be a bore," Farrell said on the sidelines of the Coachella music festival, where he was scheduled to perform on Sunday.
"If my band didn't have issues, if they didn't throw tantrums, I would think I was with a bunch of suckers. As long as they can handle it, I can handle it. After all we're just delivering music that people love, so how bad can it be? It could be worse. We could be drafted."
"I just talked to Eric man-to-man. We're different people, that's okay. He serves a different purpose, he's got a different frequency he operates on. I'm overjoyed that we're working together. I don't care that we butt heads as long as when we hit the stage we blast on people."
Reznor, who is also producing Jane's new songs, tried in vain to help the group work out its differences.
"He did his best to be both producer and psychologist," Farrell said. "He was very respectful, trying to get out of the way and not overproduce. I wish honestly he would've produced a little more, but he was a little gun shy after seeing us explode on each other in the studio. He became the referee for a day and after that day I think he was done."
Farrell said not many groups from the early days of alternative rock are still playing together, and he estimated Jane's Addiction had a "small, five-year window left."
"Any time you get a chance to put the original members of a group together, (you should do it). Look at Pink Floyd. I consider Roger Waters to be the greatest live rock act for a festival today. He has a great guitar player, but it's not David Gilmour. You need the original members if you can have them. I love The Who, love Led Zeppelin, but nobody's the same when they're not original members, the people that wrote and recorded those songs and set their vibrations down into those tracks. That's why it's important to try to keep your crew together."
Although Reznor failed to reconcile Avery and Farrell, Jane's Addiction, known for hits such as "Been Caught Stealing" and "Jane Says," will follow his lead and release music for free on the Internet. Farrell said Jane's would give out singles for free on its Web site as soon as they were ready. The first one will be called "Embrace the Darkness."
"I see 100,000 people in the United Kingdom singing along to this song," he said. "We don't have a record label to have to worry about putting together something that they can charge $19.99 for. I think we should put the songs out and keep writing and be creative. It's great that we have these classic songs, but it couldn't hurt us to put in more new songs (in our shows) that people know and got online for free."
Farrell, who also organizes the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, said the recession has been hurting the touring business but not ticket sales for Jane's Addiction or Lollapalooza.
"At Lollapalooza, we're selling more tickets than ever," he said. "People need an even bigger excuse to escape more than ever and there is no better escape than going to a festival and just tripping and taking in music."
Jane's Addiction's co-headlining tour with Nine Inch Nails will kick off in Florida on May 8, and run through June 12 in North Carolina. The band will also be among the headliners at Lollapalooza, which runs August 7-9; the full lineup will be announced on Tuesday.
Editing by Dean Goodman