The brainchild of Parry Farrell (Real Name: Perry Bernstein; vocals), Jane's Addiction would have its debut with a self-financed live eponymous album in 1987 on their 'Triple XXX' label, the album going so far as to show Farrell's strange musical tastes. Continuing with the membership of Dave Novarro (guitar), Eric Avery (bass) and Stephen Perkins (drums), Farrell (whose stage name actually came from his brother's first name) and co. would release Nothing's Shocking (1988) for Warner'. Indeed, it was an album that sent the then popular cock rock crowd turning their heads for its blend of Funk, Thrash and Folk, along with Farrell's creepy vocal shrill got attention. But the record got attention for more than just the music, as the cover art depicting naked 'Siamese' twins strapped to an electric chair didn't go over very well in the more conservative crowd. The debut's dynamics mixed with more melody was the order of the day on Ritual De Lo Habitual (1990), an album that got them a 19 U.S./37 U.K. placing. The record, however, was plagued by the conservative right who promptly got it banned in retailers across the U.S. so the act responded by having it re-released with a plain white sleeve featuring a quotation for the U.S. first Amendment (freedom of speech). A year later Farrell would be the founded of the Lollapalooza tour, a North American traveling outdoor festival for music.
It was the next year, however, that Jane's Addiction met its messy demise when Farrell and Novarro came to blows. Novarro would then go onto Red Hot Chile Peppers, while Farrell continued on with his Lollapalooza project and Porno For Pyros, taking Perkins with him along with Peter Distefano (guitar/samples/vocals), Martyn Le Noble (ex-Thelonius Monster; bass) and guest DJ Skatemaster Tate (keyboards/samples) to release Porno For Pyros (1993) to a 3 U.S./13 U.K. charting by being a less strange and more aggressive version of Jane's Addiction's work. After a three year break due to personal problems and a drug bust, Mike Wait (ex-Irehorse/ex-Minutemen/ex-Ciccone Youth) replaced Martyn on bass, and Thomas Johnson was added as co-producer and samples to release their follow-up Good God's Urge (1996) to a 20 U.S./40 U.K. Surprisingly, Farrell and Novarro patched things up with the former being featured on one of the album's tracks.
In 1997 Janes Addiction reformed with Farrell, Novarro, Perkins and Red Hot Chile Pepper's Flea on bass for what appeared to be a one-off in the form of Kettle Whistle (1997) to get a 21 U.S. placement. Before long Farrell was on his own in his own solo act for Rev (1999).
The 2001 Jubilee Tour featured all the old Jane's Addiction songs, while showcasing the recent solo release from Navarro, Trust No One. With Flea busy with the Chili Peppers, Porno for Pyros bassist Martyn LeNoble was brought in to fill the gap. Following the success of this tour, the band decided to record a follow-up album to 1990's Ritual De Lo Habitual with Chris Chaney replacing LeNoble on bass. On the resulting album, Strays, some tracks (or parts there-of) dated far back in the band's history, while others were brand new. The first single, Just Because, reached 72 on the Billboard 100 charts, though the sixth song on the record, Superhero, received far more exposure by being the featured theme song of the HBO series Entourage.
The band spent 2003 on a worldwide tour in support of the Strays album, including a summer headliner slot in the re-started Lollapalooza tour. But, this didn't last again and the band once again broke up towards the end of 2003 after canceling several dates for, what is said to be much the same reasons of the original break up.
Jane's Addiction performed at the first-ever NME Awards USA on April 23, 2008, with the reunited core line-up of Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, Eric Avery and Stephen Perkins.
The box-set, A Cabinet of Curiosities, was then released to accompany the previous NIN tour of April 2009. It was later confirmed by Dave Navarro on his Dark Matter radio program that McKagan had now joined on a permanent basis. The new lineup made their debut at Perry Farrell's 51st birthday celebration.
The Great Escape Artist followed in 2011.
The band released their live album, Live in NYC, on July 8, 2013, recorded during the Theatre of Escapists tour.
On July 15, 2016, Jane's Addiction performed on the Sterling Spoon Anniversary Tour for six shows in the US celebrating the 25th anniversary of Ritual De Lo Habitual and Lollapalooza.