Rooting for the criminals: ‘Been Caught Stealing’ by Jane’s Addiction

The video that epitomizes the delightful extravaganza that is Jane´s Addiction.

One of the first bands of the “Alternative Rock” movement, Jane´s Addiction helped defined an era.  Formed by Perry Farrell… before I go any further I want to take a moment to acknowledge the force of nature that is Perry Farrell. Farrell is a musician who not only was a front man to the band and the whole revoltion around music in the early 90´s, but he is also the creator of the festival Lollapalooza. He is outspoken, intelligent, independent and constantly evolving, now on a quest to “rebuild the middle class of music“. Ok, continuing with the band,  it was founded by Perry Farrell and Eric Avery (founded, left, came back again, left again). Then comes Dave Navarro a different star and figure who plays the guitar, Stephen Perkings on the drums and Chris Chaney (bass). There is actually a lot much more to this band, but I recommend this article (though it is from 2003 and focuses mainly on Navarro) I am pretty aware I could not write it better. Or even close  to it.

The band gained media attention and commercial success and released five albums. A debut album called “Jane´s Addiction”, a second one “Nothing´s Shocking”, which includes the wonderful Jane Says. Please check out the video, a version recorded in 2010 and tell me if I am crazy but has Farrell gone from a being a “weird” looking guy to a handsome classy man? And third album “Ritual de lo Habitual” where “Been Caught Stealing” is from and in 2003 releasing the album “Strays” and “The Great Escape Artist” in 2011. Let me be honest, I have not heard the last 2 albums. Nothing, Nada.

“Been Caught Stealing” spent 4 weeks as No. 1 at the rock chart. The video was directed by Casey Niccoli. At the time she had a relationship with Perry Farrell and is considered to by his muse, the inspiration for the song “Classic Girl” and responsible for “the look” of the band in the early nineties.  Their relationship lasted 8 years and there is not much of it left now, but back then they were inseparable, raised turtles and chickens together and won the MTV video award. Here is a clip of  her and Dave Navarro accepting the award. She has some kind words to say about Farrell.

Casey Niccoli & Dave Navarro accept MTV VMA 1991 for Been Caught Stealing – Jane’s Addiction

The video includes the band members, first they are outside at the kids rides, sadly, they do look like the heavy drug users they were at the time and then we see them stealing. And partying. And there are images of Farrell wearing a sock in his face and singing. And a woman  wearing Lycra spandex and net tights while pole dancing in the middle of the shop. A scandalized old couple witnessing the events. A cheerleader shaking her melons by the watermelon section. A middle age man in drag and pineapples. And disco balls. And costumers dancing. And weird, colorful, kitsch aesthetics but most important of all: one of those cases where you are definitely rooting for the criminals. And one great video.

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