Kettle Whistle

The Jane's song "Kettle Whistle" has been around for a long time, even before Dave joined the band, but it was never professionally recorded until early August of 1997 when Perry, Dave, Stephen, and Flea did it for inclusion on a rarities album, which was later named after the song.

Conceived by Perry and Eric in late '85. Developed more by Jane's in mid '86.

Dave in an interview, late '97...
Q: "How come 'Kettle Whistle' never make it onto an album before?"
Dave: "I don't know, I really don't know. A lot of the songs that are on Ritual were written before all the songs on Nothing's Shocking were written. When it would come time to making one of those two records, we would go through the songs we had. And I remember during the recording of Nothing's Shocking, 'Three Days' had already been written and so had 'Aint No Right,' 'No One's Leaving,' and some of those songs. But we felt that it would be better, at the time, to save those songs for the next record... for Ritual. And I guess we had to systematically go through them and figure out which songs felt better on a debut release, and what songs felt better for, at that time, a hypothetical follow up. And so perhaps-- you know, it was a long time ago-- but perhaps 'Kettle Whistle' was one of the songs that we held onto for even a third album, that obviously never got made.
"And it's kind of a drone-y song. We were kind of getting into more of that direction towards the end there. So it's very possible that we just hung onto it for whatever reason. It wasn't that it wasn't hashed out, we didn't record it. I have a memory of recording that song on a 4-track when I was probably about 19. Somewhere there's a 4-track recording of it."

From Guitar World, November 1997...
GW: Tell me about recording "Kettle Whistle," the new track you've cut for this CD. What kind of approach did you take?
Flea: It's an old Jane's Addiction song that I guess was never released. [to Dave] Was it released?
Navarro: There are bootleg versions.
Flea: It's a beautiful song. Kind of a slow, mysterious-sounding song. We totally re-did it. Stephen played electronic drums, which are looped. I played a completely different bass concept, which made Dave do a completely different guitar concept. We just took it from there. So it's totally completely different from the original. It's sparse and underplayed. Perry's singing is immaculate--and that's just the scratch vocal. If he does it better than the scratch vocal, it's really going to be great. But it's already incredible.

From an article in Rip It Up, December '97...
Q: The song you played, 'Kettle Whistle', what's it about?
Perry: "It speaks of drive, what drives people, you know. Is it sex, is it power, is it money? Of course I think people would trade everything in if they could just be perceived as beautiful. What they want is acceptance. They (fans) don't give long term acceptance. To be thought of as beautiful is our goal."
Do you mean physically beautiful or spiritually beautiful?
"Both. I think that when you're spiritually beautiful, you manifest beauty. And so what it is, is to be taken in, to be accepted."

From an article in Metal Hammer, November '97
"What we've done with the song 'Kettle Whistle' is that we've merged rock 'n' roll -yawn - with techno - okay, we all know that - and we've made it cinematic. We've used cinematic scoring elements and then added the voice, which gives it drama and the human condition," Farrell explains.

From an article in Billboard, October 4, 1997...
Farrell, however, is enjoying playing with the Jane's lineup again. He says of the album's title track, "It's a beaut. It's just gorgeous. It's one of my favorite things that I've worked on to date."
The track, which was being completed at the time this interview took place, is a lengthy song that could run "as long as 10 minutes," Farrell says.
The fact that "Kettle Whistle" won't likely work well at radio led Warner Bros. to suggest that the band include another new track on the album.
"Of course they would rather have something that is more `radio worthy,'" Farrell says. "To put it bluntly, they want a rocker, but I make music a lot more for people than I do radios."

* First played on 1/10/86, and a likely second time in late '86. A few times in '87. Then frequently in '88, and a few times in early '89.
On the first leg of the NS tour (late '88) it was usually played first in the set, with "Obvious" directly following.

* In 2001, Jane's finally began playing the song again, opening every show on their fall '01 North American tour with it.

What makes a kettle whistle?
What makes gold precious?
How come some people,
They'll show you everything?
How come some people,
They don't like nothing at all?
Well I know why...
We all want to be...
Beautiful too...
Beautiful too...
What makes a baby cry?
What makes a poor baby
Older than a rich one?
And why do we need to belong,
To someone else?
Well I know why...
We all want to be...
Beautiful too...
Beautiful too...

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