If all goes according to plan, fans should get to hear new music from the Panic Channel — which features three quarters of the most recent lineup of Jane’s Addiction (guitarist Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins, and bassist Chris Chaney) and former Skycycle vocalist Steve Isaacs — as early as this month.
“We’re gonna go and mix some tracks and potentially put some stuff out, maybe do it online [at thepanicchannel.com],” Navarro said backstage at Los Angeles’ Key Club, where the quartet made its official live debut Thursday night as part of a benefit to feed the homeless sponsored by L.A. radio station Indie 103.1.
The Panic Channel played nine songs, all of which are likely to come from their as-yet-untitled debut album, currently being recorded in L.A. with producer Brian Virtue (who worked on the last Jane’s album, Strays). At present the group is not working with a label, but Navarro says the project is coming along. “We’re almost done recording our record, and we’re very happy with where we’re at,” he says. “We’re kind of doing this homegrown, and it’s a blast. It’s like when we were fifteen years old.”
“It’s power and melody,” says Isaacs, who played Tommy for a year and a half in the stage production of the Who’s rock opera, of the group’s sound. Perkins believes that all four musicians get to express themselves in the Panic Channel. “You can hear Dave and me and Chris and Steve all say something throughout the songs,” he says. “That’s important to me: being surrounded by great musicians and then having something to say.”
Onstage those unique blended together effectively, as the quartet showed off surprisingly heavy chops on the Tool-esque opener “Go On” and paid homage to Chaney’s favorite band, Led Zeppelin, on the “Rain Song”-like ballad, “Outsider.” The band hopes to launch a tour this spring.
The quartet has been working together since May, when Navarro, Chaney and Perkins recruited Isaacs to handle vocals for a song they were asked to record for a film. “I met Steve when he was working at as a VJ at MTV,” says Navarro, who starred in the cable network’s reality show ‘Til Death Do Us Part with actress/model wife Carmen Electra. “I knew he was a great singer, and we did this track and it came out phenomenal. The film passed on it, but we continued working and decided, ‘Why not just make music?'”
The Jane’s members formed the Panic Channel after a less-than-friendly split with their frontman Perry Farrell, who told Rolling Stone at the time, “The band went astray, falling into shallow holes … Jane was getting stripped of her majesty.”
According to Navarro, the new band is still forming its identity. “We’re just getting to know each other musically,” he says. “Us three have played together for a long time, but the four of us is a new unit.”