According to lead singer Perry Farrell, there was an actual Jane - with an actual heroin habit and an abusive boyfriend named Sergio - who lived with him and nearly a dozen others in a group house in Hollywood as the band was forming in the early '80s. She talked endlessly about scrimping for a jaunt to Europe: "Jane says, 'I'm going away to Spain, when I get my money saved," and she took an occasional swipe at a housemate, but she never seemed to connect: "She gets mad and starts to cry, takes a swing but she can't hit."
The real Jane is Jane Bainter, who was living in Los Angeles. It took her a while, but she eventually got over her drug problems.
Farrell (Blender magazine, December 2006): "Around 1984, I rented a big house on Wilton, near Hancock Park, right in the heart of everything good in Hollywood, but the whole neighborhood seemed deteriorated. I deceived the landlord into thinking I was a gay interior decorator rather than a Punk rocker, and one of my housemates was Jane, this strangely beautiful, well-to-do girl who got caught up in the drug scene and fell in love with a dealer named Sergio. Jane was an intellectual and knew how to act aristocratic, even with a needle and a spoon on the table. I'm not sure if the song mythologized the neighborhood - St. Andrew's Place is nothing special to look at - but I do think it glamorized her life in a way. That was a great time, though. When the landlord found out I wasn't a gay interior decorator, he came after me with a gun."
A live version of this song was released as a single in 1997 and included on the Jane's Addiction compilation Kettle Whistle. This version was recorded at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater in California on July 24, 1991 during the very first Lollapalooza tour, which was the brainchild of Perry Farrell.
A video wasn't made for this song until 1997 when it was re-released as a single. The video was directed by Carter B. Smith and recorded during the band's Relapse tour that year. Smith was working on a documentary of the tour called Three Days, but took time off to edit the new "Jane Says" video once they had enough footage.
The Jane in this song - Jane Bainter - is also the Jane in the band's name.