In late August of 1997, the Jane's Addiction rarities album, Kettle Whistle, was nearing it's deadline. Only one newly recorded song ("Kettle Whistle") had been done for the album. Warner Bros. thought it'd be a good idea to have another new song to increase commercial appeal. So they talked Perry, Dave, Steve, and Flea into canceling a planned European promo tour to instead record another song. "So What!" was the result.
It has been hinted that Perry wrote the lyrics around '90-'91, and the Relapse wrote the music in '97, basically all in one jam/recording session.
September 9th, 1997 at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles. Additional loops and overdubs done the following week.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS:
Perry on MTV's "Mattrock" when asked if "So What!" was written during Jane's heyday...
"It wasn't even half done. It was like a glimmer in our eye."
Steve in an interview... (DRUM! magazine, December '97/January '98 issue)
"I really dig the sounds I'm using for the new stuff, especially on 'So What,' where I trigger an 808 bass drum and overdub a second snare and kick drum. In the past, I'd never have done that, but now I fully appreciate how certain electronic drum sounds can define a groove. I'm really trying to marry the crunch and excitement of an acoustic drummer with the tones and pulses of percussion and electronics."
Perry in an interview with Billboard, October 4, 1997...
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."
The other new track, "So What?," was something the original incarnation of Jane's worked on but never completed. "It's got a good groove. It's one of those groovy things, but I'm going to have to step back and tighten it up," he says. "It's been six or seven years since I worked with Jane's. I really love going into the studio, and I don't want to slow up any kind of momentum that I've gotten learning over the years."
Pending the completion of the track, Warner Bros. plans to ship "So What?" to modern rock radio during the second or third week of October. A videoclip will also be lensed for the track.
Never played live.
* "So What!" appears in the movie Bringing Out The Dead (1999). During a heroin OD scene, it plays predominately in the background. However, it's not on the soundtrack.
The intro of Perry talking to the audience was taken from Jane's perfomance at Lollapalooza on 7/24/91 at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater in Southern California...
"What a night, huh? Almost makes you not wanna go back to work, huh? Don't go! Don't go!"
Four remixes of "So What!" were released by WB in late February '98. The promo-only CD/vinyl release was meant for underground DJs to play in clubs. A commercial release CD single featuring the same tracks finally came out in October 1999 under the title So What! The Deep-Red Remixes.
The titles of the mixes are...
- Voodoo Funk
- Radio Voodoo (an edit of "Voodoo Funk")
- Jane's House
- Downbeat Addition
* Deep Red remixies review
From Mike B...
Uhhh.. in two words: It sucks. There is barely any hint of JA at all on the entire disc. Just techno, techno, techno. I cannot believe they put Jane's Addiction on the cover of this CD, as it truely isn't JA but these so called Deep-Red people. Believe me, other than the regular So What! cut, all your gonna find is a few samples of Perry's voice on one or two songs, and even then it doesn't last.. Oh well, it isn't everyday a new Jane's CD pops up (even if they're not on it :)
Gumby dambit responds...
think of it like this:
Jane's mustuv approved those right? so if Jane's was a techo gig, then they'd do something like that. Those mixes rock I think.. they're not your ordinary bullshit techo bunk. Jane's (Perry, whoever) HAD to say OK.. they said 'yeah.. that's us... that works' it reflects on the bands STYLE, afterall.. Jane's IS STYLE.
So.. even though those tracks ARE basically SOMEONE else, fuck it. It REFLECTS on the whole Jane's THING.
Man ain't meant to work
C'mon build a machine!
So we can sleep and make love deeper
Later we can dance and we can drink!
Man ain't meant to work
C'mon build a machine!
So we can live for our own pleasure
Please yourself! Please your queens!
Early morning the sun is yawning
I am not kind yet
I am certain, I have no doubt
Life is for playing
Days like these
I hardly disagree
So what! That's my conclusion
I think I'm gonna dig myself now
Perry is very much on the Leary/ Robert Anton Wilson tip.
"Man aint meant to work. C'mon build a machine! So we can live for our own pleasure... I am certain, I have no doubt, life is for playing."
This very much fits in with the Wilson/Leary ethos that we should automate all human society, allowing everyone to become part of a global leisure class. Leary and Wilson were/are both big fans of the transformative power of technology (Leary was v.much into nanotech and its possibilities at an early time- putting people onto Eric Drexler's "Engines of Creation").
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