Part of my job as junior rock critic at the Reader was to write the capsule previews and reviews of the week’s live performances, and do a “Critic’s Pick” for the pop music section. This was a lot of work, but enjoyable too. I typed them all in to the computer system and hit a button, and boom! They were in the paper.
Around this time (late ’86, early ’87), a new band showed up on the scene that a lot of my friends were excited about. This was Jane’s Addiction. I’d seen Perry’s previous band, Psi-Com, which I thought was ok but not so great. And then I saw JA. They opened for some other bands I liked over a two- or three-week period. I hated them. And I said so, in the paper, in the previews. I forget the exact phrasing but it ran something like:
“I keep hearing Next Big Thing rumors about this band, and I hope they’re not true. Not sure what’s so special about Inland Empire metal wanking, and the singer’s fake dreadlocks and cat-like screeching don’t help. It’s a double scoop of pure bullshit.”
As I had been paid a total of $2.50 for this blurb and my paper only had 80,000 readers at best, I thought not much more about it.
Apparently, Perry thought a lot about it. He devoted an entire page in his scrapbook to the thing, raged to his friends about it, and then went public. On our local hip college station (KXLU) he delivered a speech about what a loser I was, and how much he hated me. He said that he had attempted to mail one of his dreadlocks and some of his own shit (!) to me at the office, but we had moved and it didn’t work. (Thank goodness for bad post offices.)
Later, he wrote the whole thing up in a magazine, including details about the great Shit Mailing. He was also at a TV show taping I attended (The Late Show with Arsenio Hall, with Mojo Nixon as a guest!) and apparently I was pointed out to him. He had a lot of unflattering things to say about my appearance and my general importance as a person, and said he lurked behind a pillar to spit on me but I went the wrong way.
He went on stage several times and yelled FUCK THE L.A. READER and other amusing things. It went on and on, it seemed.
When the first XXX Records release of the JA album came out, I was among those thanked.
And that’s the story of Perry and me.
P.S. I met Dave and other people in the band around the same time and they were really nice. Even though I didn’t like their music.