Over the years I have learned that less is more. I started out loving bombast, virtuosity and more, more, more. In record buying terms this meant forking out for 12″s with extra live tracks, demo versions of tracks, exclusive B-sides and, God save us, ‘extended mixes’. Of course I know now that all this was a way for a band to eke more money out of us trusting sheep-like fans, with minimum creative effort, whilst pretending to be our best friends forever. Of course they made hundreds out of me, as you’ll see if you stick around over the years I write this thing. Very little of any of this was worth a bean, I struggle to think of more than 2 live B-sides that I have ever made me think, ‘well that was a good way to spend £2.99’. The odd one is though.
Which is where Jane’s Addiction’s mighty, mighty, mighty Been Caught Stealing (US Import 12″ version, trainspotters!) comes in. This is not the time or the place to tell you how much this band meant to me for years, or how they played one of the best gigs I have ever seen or how disappointed I got when they came back together to make merely decent records after it had all gone wrong. Just like ZZ Top had been to be in 1983-4, Jane’s Addiction were mine, all mine in 1988-92 and I simply don’t have the words (bit of a handicap in a blog, I know!) to tell you how much I loved them.
The track, a juddering, loping baggy (in the Mancunian sense of the word) paean to shoplifting is, as I’m sure you know, quite brilliant. I had lots of fun dancing at student discos to the lines
I enjoy stealing.
It’s just as simple as that.
Well, it’s just a simple fact.
When I want something,
I don’t want to pay for it.
Not that I ever dared to follow suit, I was happy to shoplift vicariously through Perry and his equally criminally-minded girlfriend. I had no doubt whatsoever that after the verse when they threw all their ill-gotten gains into a big pile they celebrated by having drug-addled intercourse in ways that had not been granted to normal mortals; or was that just me? anyway this song was a bit of a double-edged sword for me it was so good that normal people started to like my precious Jane’s Addiction, the common herd started to trample all over my territory! Silly as it sounds now I remember the intense feeling of jealousy this caused me. Oh dear.
The extended version of Been Caught Stealing, remixed by Perry Farrell was actually, surprisingly good, featuring as it did a different thrashy guitar intro, more barking dogs (oh yes!) and even more churning bass by Eric A. It only added about 50 seconds to the LP version but it worked, it was an equally brilliant, but slightly different version.
Not enough ever gets written about Eric A. All Jane’s Addiction were brilliant musicians but only Stephen Perkins and Dave Navarro seem to get the praise for it, possibly because Eric A seems to have refused all the reunions etc. thereafter. His bass playing was brilliant, riffs, runs, solidity he had it all perfectly. More than that he just exuded a certain understated coolness when you saw them live. He quickly leapfrogged Lemmy and Cliff Williams to become my all-time favourite bass player ever – I can only imagine how proud he must have been to know that!
Okay so we get the normal LP version of ‘Been Caught Stealing’ and a demo version of ‘Had a Dad’ on the B-side, the latter sounds similar, but a bit rawer than the version on Nothing’s Shocking to round things out, but I have never regretted forking out for this 12″ of joy.