Before there was Jane’s Addiction, there was Psi Com, a post-punk/deathrock band fronted by Perry Farrell. The band released one demo tape and one 12” (re-released on CD and 10” in the mid-90s) in 1985. The band began in 1983, when Perry answered an ad from guitarist Vince Duran looking for a drummer, as his fledgling band was primarily using a drum machine. Instead, Farrell took over as vocalist, adding Rich Evac on bass, Aaron Sherer on drums, and Mariska Lassius on keyboards. This was the lineup for their demo tape that was eventually sold at shows in 1984 with elaborate packaging reminiscent of Independent Project Records releases. The photo above depics the lineup for these recordings. Soon after the demo was released, Lassius and Evac left the band, replaced by bassist Kelly Wheeler for their 12” sessions.
Based heavily in the psychedelic roots of Pink Floyd as well as the UK post-punk movement, Psi Com’s sound was much more in line with Savage Republic, The Ex, and Bauhaus than the horror punk sound that was developing on the West Coast. If anything, Psi Com was a vessel for the Red Temple Spirits sound moreso than the hedonistic excesses of Jane’s Addiction, though both bands continued exploring their psychedelic influences and alternative leanings. Even Perry Farrell’s trademark wail is downplayed on these recordings, though there’s no mistaking it during certain key passages.
Psi Com broke up suddenly in 1985, after gaining a heavy local following. Legend has it that Eric Avery, bassist for Jane’s Addiction, was drafted as a new bassist for Psi Com, changing direction as Stephen Perkins and Dave Navarro joined. Bassist Kelly Wheeler played briefly with Dino Paredes of Red Temple Spirits, and Aaron Sherer eventually retired from music after playing drums on several tracks from Mazzy Star’s excellent Among My Swan LP.
Here we have a fan circulated collection of demos and additional tracks, including the debut Worktape cassette as well a series of studio recordings and instrumentals that originally appeared on a Jane’s Addiction bootleg CD from 1991. While the 12” has received a fair amount of attention as Farrell’s pre-Jane’s vessel, these demos are still rather obscure, and definitely worth hearing even if you’re not a fan of what came next.
Psi Com- Worktape 1 and Demos
3. Psi Com Theme
4. 14th Floor
7. 14th Floor (Instrumental)
8. Cat (Instrumental)
9. Karuna (Instrumental)
*download it here*