I don’t imagine that many individuals would disagree with a statement made by Ministry front man Al Jourgensen close to the beginning of Fix – a profoundly gritty and utterly compelling documentary of which he is the primary focus – that the best job to have is one where you’re paid to be yourself. Possibly the single most influential musician of the Industrial music genre and an undeniably notorious and outspoken character, Jourgensen has never “posed” nor compromised for the sake of his art. In fact, he’s pretty much always earned a pay check for the talents involved in just being Al Jourgensen. Fifteen years ago, while Ministry was touring the world in support of the Filth Pig album, Al was a relentless junkie who was equal parts devil and messiah to everyone who entered his orbit. Someone on that tour bus was a filmmaker with a camera. Fix: The Ministry Movie is the resultant documentation of the full immersion into Al’s world of someone who was, essentially, just along for the ride. Most of the journey isn’t very pretty.
ERIC AVERY AGREES TO REUNITE WITH JANE’S ADDICTION FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 1991; LEGENDARY BAND TO BE HONORED AT FIRST-EVER U.S. NME AWARDS IN LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES, April 15, 2008 – After much speculation in the previous week, ERIC AVERY has agreed to join former band mates Jane’s Addiction for a one-night-only performance at the first-ever U.S. NME Awards. The iconic foursome will be crowned with the Godlike Genius Award during the ceremony and performance, to take place at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, April 23. Jane’s Addiction is joining the likes of The Clash, New Order, Primal Scream and Manic Street Preachers, who are among the acts to have picked up the Godlike Genius prize at the UK awards. Here’s Hoping this Buries an Ax in the Skull of The Panic Channel and All Other Jane’s Side Projects That Do Not Include Perry Farrell
More After the Jump!
If you have a few minutes to gloat, take a peek at AMG’s review of the new Panic Channel CD, One and tell me I didn’t call it two months ago.
Review of The Panic Channel’s One
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Love ’em or hate ’em, there’s no denying that Jane’s Addiction was one of the pivotal bands of the alt-rock revolution of the early ’90s. They were one of the first to pull metal and underground rock fans together, first with their 1988 major-label debut, Nothing’s Shocking, and then as the creators and headliners for the first Lollapalooza tour. They came to define much of the sound and style of alternative rock in the ’90s, so it comes as a great shock that the Panic Channel — featuring Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins, the guitarist and drummer for Jane’s, plus Chris Chaney, who took over for original Jane’s bassist Eric Avery when the group reunited in 2003 — sounds utterly generic on their 2006 debut, (One). Fronted by vocalist Steve Isaacs, who has spent time as an MTV VJ as well as some time on the stage, the Panic Channel sounds like countless faceless groups that followed in the wake of grunge. For all the world, (One) sounds as if it could have been released in 1996 when MTV and the airwaves were inundated with bands that took the dour, heavy sound of grunge, cleaned it up, gave it a touch of classic rock formalism, and then coasted by on tattoos and piercings instead of hooks or melodies or even angst. Not that this is horrible music — Isaacs may be a cipher as a frontman (so much so, it’s a wonder that the second season of Rock Star wasn’t a search to find a singer for the Panic Channel), but Navarro, Perkins, and Chaney are cooly professional, so they always sound nothing less than a competent Foo Fighters cover band — but it is never distinctive. The weirdest thing about (One) isn’t that it sounds generic but that it sounds generic according to the standards of 1996, not 2006. For those listeners who pine for a world when Seven Mary Three received heavy rotation, this will satisfy, but anybody expecting the spark of Jane’s Addiction or even a dose of Navarro’s campy on-camera charm will be sorely disappointed.
Last night I went to see this new band called The Panic Channel, which is three members of the most recent incarnation of Jane’s Addiction, minus Perry Farrell, plus a new singer who’s a former VJ from MTV back when MTV still showed videos. Can you even remember that far back? It seems like a million lifetimes ago.
Anyway, there were Stephen Perkins, Dave “Nipple Rings” Navarro, Chris Chaney and Steve Issacs (!) on the stage of Avalon – which used to be The Limelight – and they were all rocking “the look” and obviously trying to be less than a total mortifying horrorshow of lameness, but all I kept thinking was, “Gee wiz, what a fucking waste of Stephen Perkins drumming talents!”
Because The Panic Channel is not a good band.
I can’t quite put my finger on why three awesome musicians and a pretty boy don’t add up to some kind of kick ass force of nature…but it just wasn’t happening. They reminded me of Stone Temple Pilots right about the time Scott Weiland got busted for smack for the third of fourth go-round and the other three members formed the band Talk Show so they could forget about their pain. If The Panic Channel were even a fraction as awesome sounding as their website would lead us to believe, they would sound like Led Zeppelin plus The Beatles plus the original Alice Cooper band or something. But no.
Another thing that made me sad was seeing how the new owners of Avalon have completely destroyed all the dark charm and wild spirit of the former Limelight, a righteous dance club built in an old gothic church on Sixth Avenue, where I spent many Sunday nights dancing my cares away to the songs of Siouxsie and The Banshees, LA Guns and Soundgarden, and feeling like some kind of god. Good times. Now the former “Rock & Roll Church” looks like a bowling alley or a free clinic or god knows what. How very very tragic. At least I got in for free.