11 January 2007

8+

"Three Days" by Jane's Addiction which clocks in at 10:47

A shoelace starer looked me in the eyes on the way to work. I spotted her from about a block away and she must've also seen me because right as we were about to pass each other she lifted her head and peeked out from underneath the shelter of her hair. She blinked a tiny smile my way and then I thought of this song.

As soon as we'd exchanged glances I reached for my iPod and found "Three Days". A flood of memories came rushing back to me: the very first time I heard Jane's Addiction (listening to their first album on a boombox in a canoe), Jane's Addiction at Lollapalooza at Walnut Creek (yes, the first Lollapalooza but that's a long story not well suited for parenthetical explanation), and the time I had a very serious Jane's Addiction fan explain Ritual de lo Habitual/Xiola Bleu to me.

Contrary to what I asked when he first said "you don't know who Xiola Bleu is?", Xiola Bleu is not Samuel Taylor Coleridge's sequel to "Kubla Khan". No, Xiola Bleu was very much Perry Farrell's muse. Or so I was told. I was also told that she was a 12 year old girl who Perry kept locked in a closet with nothing but heroin for three days. Then when she OD'd he wrote "Three Days" about her and the closet imprisonment. That's what the guy said. Many years later I'd find myself searching for true story of Xiola Bleu on the internet.

Here's the real story:

Xiola Bleu was former girlfriend of Perry Farrell from the Psi Com days; she was only fourteen when they met. She was a friend and had a similar likeness to Casey Niccoli. Her picture is included in the back of the liner notes of the Ritual de lo Habitual album, she is also depicted on the cover as the figure in the center, embraced by Perry and Casey. Xiola died of a heroin overdose in her apartment the East Twenties of New York in June of 1987. Perry took Xiola's death pretty hard. He had introduced her to heroin nearly five years earlier and was struggling with his own addiction.

The song Three Days is about Xiola's three-day return to Los Angeles for her father's funeral. This would be the last time Perry would see Xiola before her death. The song is, however, not about her death as it was written a few months before that, in 1986. The song alludes to Perry, Casey and Xiola spending their days together in a haze of sex and drugs.
Ever since I learned about the real Xiola Bleu her story has stood out in my mind as one of the many (mostly) unknown tragic tales of artistic implosion. For some reason, the shy girl I passed today on the street reminded me of Xiola.

The version posted here is the 2006 remastered version from Up from the Catacombs: The Best of Jane's Addiction - buy that album HERE on Amazon. Or, you can find the original version on Ritual de lo Habitual, available HERE on Amazon.

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
Joanna Newsom - "Monkey & Bear"
Depeche Mode - "Never Let Me Down Again" (Split Mix)
This Mortal Coil - "Dreams Are Like Water"
The Church - “Chaos"
Alex Skolnick Trio - “War Pigs"
Arlo Guthrie - “Alice's Restaurant Massacre"
The Human League - “Morale... / You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'"
Red House Painters - “River"

To see a full list of every song featured in EAR FARM's 8+ click HERE.

13 comments:

all haild the blumpking said...

creepy. i used to sing along to that shizz when i was like 11 years old. wow.

bryan said...

oh man, this one brings back some memories - I love the long jam towards the end.

though we never actually covered it proper (that was saved for mountain song) my band in high school used to play this all the time and there were some super extended jams on it (I played bass). do you have the psi com album with 'Xiola' on it? i have no idea where my copy went. next time i see you remind me to tell you about Maria Bleu (not real, that I know of).

Trevor said...

This band dominated my teens like only one or two others. I had this album cover and the one with the first amendment on it. I remember copying the text onto the cover of a spiral with a Sharpie.

Excellent choice for this series. Thanks for delving into the Xiola mythology.

"All of us with wings . . ."

jbreitling said...

A+. Great post. I never knew this story.

Anonymous said...

Can i just say that I love the 1st paragraph?

"A shoelace starer looked me in the eyes on the way to work."

"She blinked a tiny smile my way"

It's... I don't know, but I really like it.

Larts said...

Willie the Pimp is over 8 minutes long. So is "land" by Patti Smith.

Matt said...

"Land" i love. Zappa not so much. but hey, one can always write an 8+ and submit it....

Anonymous said...

Crazy! I was feeling all angry the other day and put this song on b/c somehow it always makes me feel really good in under 10 mintues and as I was listening, I thought to myself... "I wonder if EarFarm has ever featured this in the 8+". A few days later I come her to nominate and low and behold, your a week ahead of me.

One of my favorite songs ever! Love the write up and associated story. Thanks!

MB said...

bryan....do you mean Mischa Bleu? (not Maria Bleu) Xiola's friend from way back when? If so, she is VERY real....

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