Porno For Pyros Play “Pets”

Listen to this track by Perry Farrell-led Jane’s Addiction offshoot band Porno For Pyros. It’s their “modern rock” chart hit “Pets” as taken from 1993’s self-titled Porno For Pyros album, the first of two albums by the band to date. Along with Farrell, the band was comprised of former Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, plus new players Peter DiStefano (guitar) and Martyn LeNoble (bass).

In this song, humanity is inept in making our world livable due to how “fucked up” we are as a species. Yet not all is lost – we would still make great pets to alien life, should they decide to come to our world and remove us from our role as the superior species on the planet.

Maybe this isn’t a likely theme for a hit single, which is why it was part of the burgeoning “alternative” tag that was becoming a popular term for use in the mainstream for music that had odd angles to it. This one in the end is pretty bleak in its outlook, when it comes to a view on where our civilization is taking us. And yet at the same time, it certainly illustrates something that we can’t deny either, even if we don’t completely agree; that every dominant species has it’s time, once its rule comes to an end. Yet, there is a more current issue that perhaps inspired such a bleak point of view in this song, even if it is pretty tongue in cheek.

The album was released in the spring of 1993, but had its gestation period in 1992. At that time, the unavoidable issue was the L.A riots, particularly from those who lived in Los Angeles, as this band did. This series of events were sparked initially by the 1991 beating of African-American motorist Rodney King by police officers, and the unwelcome results of the trials of the officers in question the following year. The officers were acquitted, despite the widely-viewed video footage of the beatings as captured by a resident in the area in which the incident occured from his balcony, later to be seen on international news.

That footage famously depicted a hopelessly outnumbered King, with the white officers in question seemingly laying into a defenseless black man. King’s statement at the time which beceame something of a tagline for the riots was “can’t we all just get along?”. It seemed to many that the answer to that question was a blunt “no”.

The flames from burning cars and storefronts of their hometown then are said to be at the root of the name of this new band. Yet, behind the detached black humour of naming your band after the fires in your home city due to anger, frustration, and a sense of injustice, there lies something which is perhaps not immediately apparent in this song. It’s the abject disappointment in humanity that comes through the most, particularly in areas where we really should have learned at least something in terms of getting along with each other, despite our differences. Watching the riots on TV, it really did seem like we were doing ourselves in much faster than the dinosaurs ever did.

In this current age, twenty years later, where a young, unarmed  black teenager can be shot dead just by “looking suspicious” from the point of view of a self-proclaimed neighbourhood guardian with a gun, the pessimism in this song still holds up under scrutiny today. We still, in many ways, can’t get along. Yet, perhaps with things like Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, and other examples of communities coming together to change things for the better, perhaps the Martians should hold off and give us a bit more time before they march in to become the race that fills our food dishes, and takes us to the vet.

Porno For Pyros parent band Jane’s Addiction recently embarked on a new tour supporting their new record The Great Escape Artist. Check out the official Jane’s Addiction site for details on this as well as other tidbits.

Enjoy!

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2 comments

  1. Perry Farrell is a giant flake, and I’m secretly convinced that everything he’s ever produced musically is actually a steaming pile of crap, and yet I enjoy this song and I have a CD of Ritual de lo Habitual in my possession gathering dust somewhere. Go figure.

    1. The Great Muse chooses unlikely vessels at times.

      I personally think Farrell has been behind some solid pop songs. This is certainly one of them, and from a time when you could be cynical and still sell loads of records.

      Cheers for comments!

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