From the Stacks

From the Stacks: Porno For Pyros – Picture Disc and Suck On This

porno for pyros frontI’ve been thinking about Porno For Pyros a lot lately.  That probably makes me the only person on the planet who has been thinking about Porno For Pyros lately.

The band was Perry Farrell’s first project after the original Jane’s Addiction split.  Drummer Stephen Perkins remained on board, though he also had a side gig with Infectious Grooves around that time.  (Note:  They were the plague that made your booty move.)  The band was rounded out with bassist Martyn LeNoble and guitarist Peter DiStefano.

Always the party host, Perry put together an event for his new band before they even had an album out.  It was held in the desert outside of Los Angeles and featured another L.A. band who didn’t have a record out yet: Rage Against the Machine.

The Castaic Lake show was one of those nights when Perry held the crowd in his palm, which wasn’t easy.  They were some unruly bastards.  At one point during the show someone threw a string of firecrackers on stage.  Rather than pulling an Axl Rose and stopping the show to lecture us (or storming off stage), Perry jumped over the fireworks and gyrated like a stripper.  I doubt this scene translates well, but it’s a great example of Farrell’s brilliance as a front man.  Whatever happens, it’s all just part of the party.

My two strongest memories from that show are these:

  • Perry banging his girlfriend at the window of his trailer, then standing in front of said window and swinging his junk around like a demented bell-ringer.
  • Standing back and watching the desert floor rise higher and higher in a counter-clockwise tornado whipped up by a massive mosh pit.

Within weeks of the show the Suck On This bootleg was floating around Los Angeles.  Because Porno For Pyros had no albums out, the bootleggers guessed at song titles:  “Cursed Female” became “Perched In Evil”; “Porno For Pyros” was retitled “Put Up A Manbo.”  The album also included three demos:  “Orgasm” (here titled “So Good”); “Meija” (mislabeled “Here’s Your Money”); and “Bloody Rag” (“No Way”).

As for the picture disc: well, I just like it.  That cover is one of Perry’s more interesting assemblages, and that first Porno For Pyros album is mandatory listening for any Jane’s fan if for no other reason than Perry broke out the harmonica again.

Suck On This will set you back fifty bucks or so, but I’m sure that you can download it somewhere for free.  Expect to pay ten bones or so for the picture disc.

porno for pyros backSo what got me thinking about Porno For Pyros?  I had an opportunity to sit down with Perry for an interview. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the travel work, but while the process was happening I worked on interview questions.  What could I talk about with Perry Farrell that wouldn’t bore the hell out of him?

That’s when it occurred to me that there’s a significant disconnect between why music matters to fan, market, and artist.  I don’t know what those Porno songs mean to Perry, but I know what they mean to me.  I know how much I enjoyed hearing them performed live, for example.  That’s where music lives and breathes, after all – on stage, in the moment.  Recordings are just musical photographs.

But there’s no market for Porno For Pyros shows, so I’ll likely never hear those songs performed again, unless I save Brooke Shields in a surfing accident and spend the reward money hiring Porno For Pyros to play my birthday party.  That material floats along now, stagnant and landlocked.

But you know, if ever there was an artist who does things his own way it’s the creator of Lollapalooza.  Who knows — maybe one day I’ll get another shot to hear “Put Up A Manbo” performed live.

There you have it, my topic for the Perry interview that never was:  When will we get to hear Pornos live again?

5 replies »

  1. Remember a photo on, Nothing’s Shocking, where you could see someone’s junk in Perry’s sunglasses reflection. I just wanted to say junk. Junk.

    Like

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