Nothing's Shocking

Nothing's Shocking is the first major-label studio album by the American rock band Jane's Addiction, released on August 23, 1988 through Warner Bros. Records. Nothing's Shocking was well received by critics, though it peaked at number 103 on the Billboard 200. The single "Jane Says" reached number six on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks in 1988. Rolling Stone ranked it #312 on its "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[4]

Nothing's Shocking
Nothing's Shocking (Jane's Addiction album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedAugust 23, 1988
StudioEldorado Studios in Los Angeles, California
LabelWarner Bros.
Jane's Addiction chronology
Jane's Addiction
Nothing's Shocking
Ritual de lo habitual
Singles from Nothing's Shocking
  1. "Jane Says"
    Released: 1988
  2. "Mountain Song"
    Released: December 1988
  3. "Ocean Size"
    Released: 1989


Warner Bros. gave Jane's Addiction a list of producers to choose from. They chose Dave Jerden, whose work as engineer on David Byrne and Brian Eno's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts frontman Perry Farrell appreciated. Jerden said he "jumped" at the chance to work with the group.[5] “I had a demo tape of 18 songs," Jerden recalled, "and I listened to it every night all summer. I picked nine songs from the tape and put them in an order. And then I said to the band, ‘Let’s do these nine songs. You’ll rehearse them in this order, and we’ll record them in this order.’ And that’s what we did.”[6]

During the recording sessions, Farrell stated he wanted 50% of the band's publishing royalties for writing the lyrics, plus a quarter of the remaining half for writing music, adding up to 62.5%. Bassist Eric Avery said he and the other members – guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins – were stunned by these demands.[7] One day Jerden drove to the studio to find Farrell, Navarro, and Perkins leaving; Farrell told him the band had broken up and there would be no record. Warner Bros. called an emergency meeting to resolve the situation. Farrell received the percentage he sought, and the other members received 12.5% each. Avery said the incident had a profound effect on the band, creating an internal fracture.[8]

Not long after the royalties dispute, Farrell and Avery – who had cofounded the band – had a falling out. This was the result of Avery's newfound sobriety as well as an incident in which Farrell believed Avery had drunkenly tried to pick up his girlfriend. "Unfortunately," Farrell recalled, "the tensions between Eric and I affected the whole family. Some people were asked to take sides, and others just moped about because they didn't know what was going on."[9] Perkins, however, is reported to have got along with Navarro, Avery and Farrell.[10]


The writing process varied from song to song. "Some came from Eric's bass lines," noted Navarro, "some from guitar, some came from Perry, some came from drum riffs, and some just came from free-form jams. There was really no formula." Avery wrote several songs, including "Mountain Song", "Had a Dad", "Jane Says", and "Summertime Rolls" (the latter two of which he also created the guitar parts for). For his songs, Avery came up with lyrical concepts that Perry Farrell would create lyrics for; for example, "Had a Dad" dealt with Avery discovering he had a different biological father.[11]

"Jane Says" and "Pigs in Zen", which first appeared on the band's self-titled 1987 debut, were rerecorded for Nothing's Shocking. The later version of "Jane Says" features a steel drum while the spoken interlude in "Pigs in Zen" is completely different.

"Mountain Song" – originally released in 1986 on the soundtrack for the film Dudes – was also rerecorded. Musically similar to the original, it is sung in a higher key, to be consistent with the rest of the record. The 1986 original saw a more widespread release when it was included on the band's 1997 outtake/alternate/live and new compilation Kettle Whistle.

Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea played trumpet on "Idiots Rule".[12]


Farrell created the cover image, which features a sculpture of nude female conjoined twins on a rocking chair with their heads on fire. He hired Warner Bros. employees to create the sculpture, but – after learning how to create sculptures by watching them closely – fired them and created the artwork himself.[13] "The idea came from a dream I had," he recalled. "There were these two women swinging back and forth. They were joined at the hip and shoulder, and their hair was on fire. I just went from there, and [girlfriend] Casey [Niccoli] assisted me. We had a fellow come and do a plaster body-casting of her, then we made the twins' hair and head gear from pipe cleaners. You'll notice the chair rocks from side to side, as opposed to back and forth, so we had to have that made specially. We also went shopping for fake eyeballs."[14]

Owing to the cover, nine of the eleven leading record store chains refused to carry Nothing's Shocking. It was issued covered with brown paper.[15]


"Mountain Song" was released as a single; however, MTV refused to air the song's music video owing to a scene containing graphic nudity.[16] Farrell decided to release the video commercially, adding twenty minutes of live footage to create the Soul Kiss home video.[17]

Lack of airplay on MTV and modern rock radio meant Nothing's Shocking sold only 200,000 to 250,000 copies in its first year.[18] It went on, however, to sell over one million and is certified Platinum in the U.S. by the RIAA.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal10/10[19]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [20]
Los Angeles Times    [22]
The Philadelphia Inquirer    [23]
Rolling Stone     [24]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [25]
The Village VoiceB−[26]

In a retrospective review, AllMusic's Greg Prato called Nothing's Shocking "a must-have for lovers of cutting-edge, influential, and timeless hard rock."[3] In 2006, Q magazine placed it at #32 in a list of the "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[27]

2012 remasterEdit

A remastered edition of Nothing's Shocking was released on June 19, 2012 on a 24 karat gold disc.[28]

Other than the addition of remastering production credits and a cardboard slipcase over the standard jewel case, the liner notes and artwork are almost identical to the original release. Likewise, the track list remained unchanged. The most notable artwork difference between the original and the remaster is in the color of band name typeface on the cover: the original is rendered in a deep teal color with black outline while the remaster features a light grey type with purple outline.

Produced by Audio Fidelity, the remaster had a limited production run of 5,000 units. Each pressing came individually numbered.

Track listingEdit

All lyrics are written by Perry Farrell; all music is composed by Jane's Addiction.

1."Up the Beach"3:00
2."Ocean Size"4:20
3."Had a Dad"3:44
4."Ted, Just Admit It...[**]"7:23
5."Standing in the Shower... Thinking"3:03
6."Summertime Rolls"6:18
7."Mountain Song"4:03
8."Idiots Rule"3:00
9."Jane Says"4:52
10."Thank You Boys"1:01
11."Pig's in Zen[*]"4:30

^ * Does not appear on the vinyl edition of the album.
^ ** Contains a quote from Ted Bundy.


Jane's Addiction

Additional musicians

Recording personnel

  • Dave Jerden – production, mixing, and recording engineer
  • Perry Farrell – production, mixing
  • Ronnie S. Champagne – recording engineer
  • Andy Harper – recording engineer
  • Jeff Piergeorge – second recording engineer
  • Steve Hall – mastering (original album)
  • Kevin Gray – mastering (2012 remastered album)

Additional personnel

  • Perry Farrell – album design, sculpture and photography
  • Casey Niccoli – art assistant, photography
  • Kevin Westenberg – band photography
  • Kim Champagne – art hostess
  • Paul Fisher – castings
  • Roberta Ballard – production coordinator (2012 remastered album)



Chart (1988) Peak
US Billboard 200[29] 103


Year Single Chart Position
1988 "Jane Says" Modern Rock Tracks[30] 6


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[31] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[32] 1× Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Loud Love: Soundgarden and the Heyday of Alternative Metal - Noisey". Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  2. ^ Browne, David (January 29, 2014). "Jane's Addiction Performing Full 'Nothing's Shocking' Shows". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 5, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Prato, Greg. "Nothing's Shocking – Jane's Addiction". AllMusic. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  4. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Mullen, p. 165
  6. ^
  7. ^ Mullen, p. 166
  8. ^ Mullen, p. 168
  9. ^ Halbert, James (August 2001). "Nasy habits". Classic Rock. No. 30. p. 58.
  10. ^ Mullen, p. 169–71
  11. ^ Mullen, p. 167
  12. ^ Halbert, James (August 2001). "Nasy habits". Classic Rock. No. 30. p. 60.
  13. ^ Mullen, p. 177
  14. ^ Halbert, James (August 2001). "Nasy habits". Classic Rock. No. 30. p. 56.
  15. ^ Mullen, p. 178
  16. ^ Mullen, p. 179
  17. ^ Mullen, p. 180
  18. ^ Mullen, p. 190
  19. ^ Popoff, Martin (November 1, 2005). The Collector's Guide to Heavy Metal: Volume 2: The Eighties. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Collector's Guide Publishing. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-894959-31-5.
  20. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  21. ^ Wilding, Phil (August 20, 1988). "Jane's Addiction: Nothing's Shocking". Kerrang!. No. 202.
  22. ^ Cromelin, Richard (August 28, 1988). "Jane's Hard and Soft Edges". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  23. ^ Tucker, Ken (September 22, 1988). "Jane's Addiction: Nothing's Shocking (Warner Bros.)". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  24. ^ Pond, Steve (October 20, 1988). "Nothing's Shocking". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  25. ^ Hochman, Steve (2004). "Jane's Addiction". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 421–22. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  26. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 14, 1989). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
  27. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241
  28. ^ "Jane's Addiction: Nothing's Shocking". Audio Fidelity. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  29. ^ "Jane's Addiction Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  30. ^ "Jane's Addiction Chart History: Alternative Airplay". Billboard. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  31. ^ "British album certifications – Jane's Addiction – Nothing's Shocking". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Nothing's Shocking in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  32. ^ "American album certifications – Jane's Addiction – Nothing's Shocking". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 


  • Mullen, Brendan. Whores: An Oral Biography of Perry Farrell and Jane's Addiction. Da Capo, 2005. ISBN 0-306-81347-5

External linksEdit