Founded by Farrell and bass guitarist Eric Avery, following the disintegration of Farrell's previous band Psi Com, Jane's Addiction was one of the first bands from the early 1990s alternative rock movement to gain both mainstream media attention and commercial success in the United States. Jane's Addiction's first release was a self-titled live album in 1987 and quickly caught the attention of Warner Bros. Records. The band's first two studio albums, Nothing's Shocking (1988) and Ritual de lo habitual (1990), were released to widespread critical acclaim, and an increasing cult fanbase. As a result, Jane's Addiction became icons of what Farrell dubbed the "Alternative Nation". The band's initial farewell tour, in 1991, launched the first Lollapalooza, which has since become a perennial alternative rock festival.
The band briefly reunited in 1997, with Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, replacing Avery on bass guitar. In 2001, a second reunion took place, with Martyn LeNoble—and later Chris Chaney—occupying the role of bass guitarist. In 2003, the band released its third studio album, Strays, before dissolving again the following year.
In 2008, the band's original line-up reunited and embarked on a world tour. Eric Avery, however, subsequently left the band in early 2010 as the group began working on new material. The band released its fourth studio album The Great Escape Artist in 2011, with Chaney returning to the band for its recording and subsequent tour. In 2016, Jane's Addiction were nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Jane's Addiction formed from the remains of frontman Perry Farrell's previous band, Psi Com. In mid-1985, Farrell was searching for a bassist to replace Kelly Wheeler in the faltering Psi-com. He was introduced to Eric Avery by Carla Bozulich (later of The Geraldine Fibbers), and the pair bonded over a mutual appreciation of Joy Division and The Velvet Underground. They began to practice together, although Avery never became a full-fledged member of Farrell's disintegrating group.
The new band was dubbed "Jane's Addiction" in honor of Farrell's housemate, Jane Bainter, who was their muse and inspiration. "My girlfiend and I were sitting in the car…" Farrell recalled, "and we started to think about band names. She threw in Jane's Heroin Experience. I thought it wasn't vague enough. If you want to invite people in, you don't want to put heroin on your door."