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.
Circe801 from Rock Hill, ScJason and Jessica have it. Funny, people always accuse about "thinking every song is about drugs", but with JA and RHCP, some sure are--no question about it. hard not to write about what is/was such a huge part of life. another JA song, "mountain song" refers to 'pinned eyes'.
Marie from San Francisco, CaI enjoyed reading these comments and learning more about the factual development of the song by Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrel. But I had a very different and personal interpretation of the song, that I believe also applies to the lyrics. In fact, the song--along with a lot of other elements in my life--helped me uncover repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse, and of the behaviors that result in people who don't remember the abuse but act out because of the psychic damage it caused.
As the memory of incest began to rise to the surface in my mind a few years ago, I suddenly thought of this song, which I had always liked though I had never really listened to the lyric. I began to listen to it carefully, and Jane emerged to me as a person who had experienced abuse in childhood and become a woman who had "never been in love," didn't "know what it is," and only knew "they want me. I want them if they want me."
These lines suggested to me a common reaction to early childhood abuse, where a person becomes promiscuous in adulthood, perhaps even exchanging sex for money or other favors (i.e., drugs, now that I now that Jane also stands for heroin addiction). The early experience of pleasing someone a child loves and trusts (say, her father or a trusted family friend or relation) through sexuality completely screws with the child's later development regarding love and sexual relationships.
When Jane says "have you seen my wig around? I feel naked without it. She knows they all want her to go," I read the lines as Jane having done a trick with several partners, lost her wig at the party, and knows as she is looking for it that they have already paid her and want her to leave, which reinforces other lines in the song that suggest Jane has no self-esteem or awareness: "I want them if they want me."
I heard the lines about Sergio as lines about Jane's pimp, and the lines about going to work on St. Andrews as street-walking. When Jane finds her dinner there, takes it from her pocket, I read the lines as Jane doing a trick (from her pocket, i.e., her sexual organs), and getting the money for dinner from that interaction.
For me at this time, the lines about Jane getting mad and taking a swing but "she can't hit," were about the anger that surges in abuse victims that they can't place, so they can't "hit," or find the cause of it, and act out with other symptoms because of this blockage.
I realize now the actual creative impetus of the song, but I thought the other interpretation was really interesting, especially as it helped me so much in realizing what had happened in my life. I did not become a prostitute, but I did experience the emotion of "wanting (men) if they wanted me," as well as the anger, frustration, and lack of self-awareness the character Jane exhibits in this lyric.
Phoenix from Denver, CoI went and saw them at fiddler's green, this last summer. And They played this as the last song.... It was great... The other thing is this song not only about what Jane had Said, but thing, her Perry Farrel, were drug Adicts, and this song not only talk's about the first thing, but she used to tell everybody that she was going to seek help. Never followed her word but, That's what Jane Says.
Jason from Norwell, MaThe part where it says, "She gets mad And she starts to cry. Takes a swing but she can't hit!"... when you shoot heroin a slang term is doing a hit. So I'm pretty sure takes a swing but she can't hit means that she's trying to shoot up but she can't find a vein.
Aaron from Philadelphia, PaWow this is strikingly similar to "Over the Hills and Far Away" by Led Zeppelin, the chords, progression changes, and the rhythm. I never heard of this song until today on the radio. And I thought it was "Over the Hills..." just distorted... Songs are always better when they're about real people.
Nancy from Philadelphia, PaI think that yeah this is a great song and people can take different things from it! but the part that hits me hardest is the part where he says she swings but she can't hit, shes gonna kick tomorrow guess you justhave to have been there
Jcooltrane from Philadelphia, Pathe part that gets me is, "jane says i ain't never been in love. i don't know what it is." very sad.
Vynsint from St. Louis, MoI freaking LOVE this song, especially the live version. Those guys kick ass.
Eric from Tampa, FlAt 58 years old I think 'Jane Says' is the very best song I have ever heard in my life. I have a Bose stereo set up in my garage and I spend most Friday and Saturday nights listening to it. I always start and end the evening with 'Jane Says' and frequently play it over and over. I'm seriously considering putting in my will that it be played at my funeral, no joke.
Ozzi from Brookhaven, Pai actually have never heard any of Jane's addictions music until this one, and i really like it. Although it does remind me of a Led Zeppelin riff. In the song over the hills and far away, the part right before it kicks in and the electric guitar comes in, when he's saying, 'so much.' its just repeated the whole time. Good song though.
Jessica from Chattanooga, TnJane says I'm done with sergio //hes her drug dealer
He treats me like a ragdoll She hides The television Says "i don't owe him nothing, //she owes him 4 herion
But if he comes back again Tell him to wait right here for me or, Try again tomorrow" //she wants him to weight so she can by more
Jane says "Have you seen my wig around? I feel naked without it" She knows They all want her to go //janes addiction got there name they was all staying in a house and there was a herion addict living there so everythime something went wrong like the tv came up missing they would blame it on janes addiction
But that's ok man She don't like them anyway Jane says "I'm going away to spain when i get my money saved I'm gonna start tomorrow" //she says shell start tomrow but dont shes to busy by herion and says shell stop that tomrow
She gets mad And she starts to cry Takes a swing but she can't hit! She don't mean no harm She just don't know... What else to do about it
Jane goes To the store at eight She walks up on st. andrews //LA and a bunch of druys hang out there
She waits And gets her dinner there She pulls her dinner From her pocket //her dinner is herion
Jane says "I've never been in love - no" She don't know what it is She only knows if someone wants her
"I only want 'em if they want me,..." "I only know they want me..." // when ur on herion ur emotions are f*cked up and shes never felt love b/c of it Jane says... Jane says?
Dan from Sydney, Australiabest song ever. i cud never get sick of it...
Grace from Fairfax Station, VaI love this song so much! It's like a sad song disguised as a not-so-sad song.
Ashley from Moncton, CanadaThis is an awesome song. I love Jane's Addiction.
Ray from Portland, OrThere is an earlier version of this song on an indie label called Triple-X.
Tony from Woogowoogaa, AustraliaSergio [Amrinones] now works for a major record label in Australia in A&R. Sergio claims Farrel wrote him into the song after the pair had a falling out over the ownership of a curling wand.