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“They were the big buzz band in Los Angeles, getting a lot of press. I’d seen them a few times – sometimes they were OK, other times they were great, and sometimes they were just crappy. They were all over the place.
“I went to see them on this one particular night at a club called Scream – it was actually in a hotel ballroom. There was a line of people around the block at 3:30 in the morning. I went in, sat in the back by the soundboard, and let me tell you, Jane’s Addiction took the stage, and they were awesome. I’d seen Jimi Hendrix at the Hollywood Bowl in 1968 – I’ve seen a lot of great concerts – and Jane’s Addiction were as good as Jimi or anybody on that night. They blew my hair back. I told my manager I wanted to work with them.
“They’d talked to a bunch of producers, but I got the gig because I didn’t want to change anything. One producer wanted to make them sound like U2’s Joshua Tree, because that was the big record at the time; another guy wanted to kick Perry out of the band. But after seeing that show at Scream, I didn’t think they needed any kind of ‘fixing.’
“I had a demo tape of 18 songs, and I listened to it every night all summer. I picked nine songs from the tape and put them in an order, and then I said to the band, ‘Let’s do these nine songs. You’ll rehearse them in this order, and we’ll record them in this order.’ And that’s what we did.
“It gave a structure to the band, which was helpful, because I knew that once we got into the studio it could become a bit like Sgt. Pepper, with the band trying everything and getting a bit scattered. I kept things organized, but I still gave them free reign to do what they wanted. Like with Perry’s vocals, I’d say, ‘Just go out and sing whatever you want,’ and I’d wind up with nine different vocal tracks on every song. I had so much great stuff to work with.
“I had this theory: Instead of making an album that people would love, I made a record they would hate. As a kid, I remember my favorite records were the ones that were always voted the worst by certain magazines, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong if I went that way.”