Kettle Whistle

Jane's Addiction:
Kettle Whistle

[Warner Bros.]
Rating: 6.8
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away called New York City, there was an evil prince who worked for a record label. The evil prince would sit on his naugahyde throne, wring his hands, and figure out all sorts of devilish ways to make more gold for his king. Once, along came a band (their name has been long forgotten by now), eager to get out of their contract with the evil prince, though they were still indentured for one more album. The evil prince said, "No! You shall make another album for me before you go to work for another kingdom!" The band thought about it, and realized that they had the solution under their noses! They could just give the evil prince all of the crap material they had played at live shows, out-takes and demos, and then they'd make some money without making any new music, the evil prince would be sated, and everyone would live happily ever!

And thus, the dump album was born.

I don't know if Kettle Whistle has anything to do with record contracts or not, but it's pretty standard fare for dump albums. Here's whatcha get fer yer dollar: two new songs, three demos, two out-takes and eight live tracks. It's pretty weak pickings by Jane's standards, which of course means it's better than 60% of all the other music out today. Included are decent versions of such crowd-pleasers as "Stop!," "Been Caught Stealing," "Jane Says," "Three Days," and "Mountain Song," all live, with the added benefit of snippets of Perry Farrell ragging on the crowd between tracks. Great. Here's the pinch; follow me now. If you: don't yet own a recording of Jane's and are being tempted by the tracks I mentioned above and the possibility that it might just do as a "Greatest Hits Live" kinda thing, stop right there! If I may advise you thus: buy one of their earlier releases and forget about Kettle Whistle for now (I've always had a soft spot for Nothing's Shocking). And, if you: have all of the Jane's releases and love Perry 'cause he's so cute and one time at Lollapalooza he looked at you with those puppy-dog eyes and you just melted, I suspect that Kettle Whistle would make a fine addition to your collection. There are, admittedly, a few outstanding moments among the chaff, such as the delicious steel drums in "Jane Says", but my recommendation pivots upon the above criteria. If you're honest with yourself, I'm sure you'll find the answer to the dilemma as to buy or not to buy Kettle Whistle.

- James P. Wisdom, December 31, 1999