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PORNO FOR PYROS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Porno for Pyros (Warner Bros.) 1993
Sadness EP (Warner Bros.) 1994
Good God's Urge (Warner Bros.) 1996
Rev (Warner Bros.) 1999
Song Yet to Be Sung (Virgin) 2001

Jane's Addiction, Los Angeles' original avatars of glam- punk-debauchery, proved to be far more influential than a group of obnoxious poseurs should be. Beyond his band's own work, Perry Farrell (born a nice Jewish boy named Bernstein in Queens, New York) had a substantial impact on '90s rock through his creation of the traveling alterna-whatever Lollapalooza festival. No question about it. But that doesn't make up for the utter shittiness of the insufferable singer's music, unmistakable for his keening double-tracked shriek and contrived-to-offend lyrics.

In a fit of typical grandiose melodrama, Farrell dissolved Jane's Addiction, three albums young, shortly after having the group headline the first Lollapalooza in 1991. Dave Navarro and bassist Eric Avery formed Deconstruction and made an album; the guitarist then decamped to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, where he thrived for a time, until the relaunch of Jane's. Meanwhile, Farrell and drummer Stephen Perkins stuck together and launched Porno for Pyros with bassist Martyn LeNoble (ex-Thelonious Monster) and guitarist Pete DiStefano, whose obvious inferiority to Navarro is pretty much the crucial factor in Porno for Pyros' turgid weakness. Of course, the relentless stupidity of Farrell's wishfully scandalous dilettantism — "Ever since the riots / All I really wanted was a black's so exciting and foreign" — adds to the misery, but that's nothing new for him. Essentially Jane's Relapse minus the stylistic imagination and feverish intensity, Porno for Pyros struggles along with melody-impaired material (the catchiest hook, in "Cursed Male," isn't very different from the old "Jane Says") and lyrics that predictably concern sex ("Orgasm"), drugs ("Bad Shit"), violence ("Packin' .25") and generic outrage ("Blood Rag"). In "Sadness," Farrell proudly declares "I've got the devil in me," but Porno for Pyros proves that he's full of something else.

The subsequent EP of "Sadness" includes a remake of the song ("A Little Sadness") and three acoustic live tracks (one about cooking and another describing a Christmas cancer miracle, both seemingly improvised on the spot) not from the debut album.

While he helpfully turns the attack down to an alluringly cool semi-acoustic breeze on parts of Good God's Urge, Farrell can't improve his obnoxious personality, which renders the album another love-it/hate- it proposition. Among the guests are bassist Mike Watt (who subsequently toured as a Pyro), Navarro and, on "Porpoise Head," all of Love and Rockets.

[Ira Robbins]
   See also Deconstruction, Jane's Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Suicidal Tendencies