Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction) / Casey Niccoli
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Transcript of Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction) / Casey Niccoli
BY MATT MUNOZCalifornian staff writer
Timing has always been onthe side of Janes Addiction.Beginning with their arrivalin the mid-80s against the back-drop of Hollywoods glam metalscene, they bridged the gap as analternative for those seeking inten-sified chaos as punk rock began toloosen its grip.
In both their sound and image,the group embodied the state ofthe citys burgeoning alt-rockmovement with a combination ofpsychedelic flash and gothicartistry reflective of the dark urbanunderbelly of downtown LosAngeles. Singer Perry Farrell, gui-tarist Dave Navarro, drummerStephen Perkins and bassist EricAvery were able to bring the inten-sity of their live show to the studio,producing a trio of the eras mosticonic recordings before abruptlycalling quits in 1991.
After a few years apart to pursueother endeavors (Farrell andPerkins formed Pornos for Pyroswhile Avery and Navarro formedDeconstruction), the group hasremained close for a series ofextended reunions, new record-ings and tours, including their lat-est, which comes to the Fox onTuesday.
Drummer Stephen Perkins, 45,said the groups guiding principlestoday are the same as always,which is why the bandmates haveremained close through the years.
You dont do it for the money,he said during a phone interview
from his home in Southern Cali-fornia. You know, Janes Addic-tion breaks up, people offer us alot to stay together. We cant. Ifwere gonna fake it, its not real.
Janes Addiction came of age ata time when commercial radio rel-egated anything cutting edge tolate night, and videos too hot forMTV were censored, as was thecase with many of the bandsshort-form videos, includingMountain Song. Theres also theissue of sustaining a music careerin the digital age, somethingPerkins said hes adapted to.
Nowadays the business is justso different. I mean, people arejust giving music away. Its almostinsulting to charge people to buyit. Theres almost no reason forpeople to buy it, so what do youdo? You put on a great show, andtheres no way to replace that. Ofcourse, everyone films your showwith a phone and puts it onYouTube, two hours after you geton stage. Weve always had per-formances, but the work is thatyou can still do it and still be rele-vant.
Janes Addiction sprang fromthe ashes of Farrells original band,Psi Com, an experimental quartetthat saw brief success in theunderground. The band wasnamed in honor of Farrells house-
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Addicted to their art LA alt-rock icons comedown mountain to Fox
20 The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, October 18, 2012
Shes known as the Classic Girl,written about in the Janes Addic-tion song of the same name andseen in countless images from the bandsearly years. But what many fans dontknow is that Casey Niccoli also happensto be from Bakersfield.
Niccoli dated Perry Farrell from 1982 to93, and through those years witnessed
first-hand the evolution of Janes Addic-tion as both girlfriend and creative muse.Currently living a quiet existence in LosAngeles, the reclusive Niccoli is reticentabout looking back on her years aroundthe band.
Im actually trying to be more open toit, said Niccoli, who attended HighlandHigh, during a recent phone interview.You know, Im a little older now, a lot oftime has passed. Im secure. I alwayswanted the band to play my hometown,and here we are 20-something years later
and I have nothing to do with it.Niccolis current lifestyle as a working
mother is a far cry from the wild rock lifeshe led alongside Farrell, whom she metin Hollywood a few years after followingher then-boyfriend from Bakersfield tothe big city.
I was 18, and I really wanted to move,she recalled. L.A. was so exciting to me. Ihad $250 to my name, packed up my carand moved to L.A. I felt like I belongedhere. I got into the punk scene, and three
Janes muse wasnt Jane; it was CaseyBakersfield native reflects on herlong romance with Perry Farrell
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Please see BAND / 29
Please see NICCOLI / 30
PHOTO COURTESY OF JANES ADDICTION
Janes Addiction appears Tuesday at the Fox Theater. Pictured above from left: Stephen Perkins,Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro.
Janes AddictionWhen: 8:30 p.m. TuesdayWhere: Fox Theater, 2001 HSt.
Admission: $37 to $57Information: 324-1369 or val-litix.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.
Casey Niccoli of Bakersfield and singer PerryFarrell are shown in a scene from the JanesAddiction video Classic Girl.
30 The Bakersfield Californian Thursday, October 18, 2012
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or four years later I met Perry. Myboyfriends band played a benefitshow with Psi Com (Farrells formerband). I just showed up, and I wasimmediately just mesmerized, fell inlove, I wanted to have his babies, andI just couldnt stop talking about him.I was obsessed at that point.
Niccoli and Farrell began dating ayear later.
His style was a lot more extremethan when he was in Janes Addiction.Very artistic, spiritual, a different vibethat kind of reflected what he wasinto at the time.
Niccoli described Farrells creativemindset at the time prior to the for-mation of Janes as that of an ambi-tious visionary running on all cylin-ders.
Perry was and still is, Im sure, justa very inspired, very driven person.He really put his ideas into motion.He was fearless in the way heapproached his art. He didnt reallythink about what people were gonnathink or how people were going toaccept it. It was kind of somethingthat happened. Im very shy, private.He used to tell me, You make a terri-ble celebrity, because I didnt kind offit the bill.
Niccolis relationship with Farrellwould heavily influence the bandsvisual aesthetic: She was the modelfor the conjoined twins on the iconiccover of the album Nothings Shock-ing, and she was featured in thevideo for Mountain Song and thecontroversial short film Gift, amongothers.
But perhaps Niccolis biggest claimto fame was as the object of Farrellsaffection in the music video for thesong Classic Girl, from the groupsalbum Ritual de lo Habitual.
We just had a magical connection.
I just believed in him so much. Hewas so talented and so unique. Hewas a graphic artist when I met him.We both had day jobs. I would haveloved him just as much had he notbeen in a band. We just clicked.
Niccoli, who is considering writinga book on her lifes adventures,hasnt spoken with Farrell since theirbreakup but shared a few friendlywords with guitarist Dave Navarroduring a book signing in Los Angeles.
Its always going to be a part of mylife. I get tagged with videos on Face-
book. I take it with a sense of humor.Im not looking to score off it. Its niceto be liked; it feels good.
Though she visits Bakersfield regu-larly to see family and friends, Niccolihas no plans to attend Tuesdaysshow.
Perrys got a new life and a rela-tionship where he really honors hiswife. I respect that, dont try to con-tact him and leave him alone. I wish Icould just be a face in the crowd andbe like everyone else. Maybe oneday.
NICCOLI: CONTINUED FROM 20
PHOTO COURTESY OF CASEY NICCOLI
Casey Niccoli, the muse of Perry Farrell in the early days of Janes Addic-tion, is a working mom who lives in Los Angeles, but she frequently visitsfamily and friends in Bakersfield.