Stephen Perkins is one of rock’s most unique drummers. Known best for his work with famed alternative band Jane’s Addiction, Perkins' use of polyrhythms and incorporation of tribal elements separates him from many of his contemporaries.
Born in Los Angeles, California, on September 13, 1967, Perkins began playing drums before his tenth birthday. At 13, he got his first pro drum kit and started taking formal lessons from Jim Eagle and Joel Gallant. Perkins, along with guitarist Dave Navarro, formed Dizastre, in which they honed their chops playing the L.A. club circuit.
In 1986 Perkins and Navarro, along with vocalist Perry Farrell and bassist Eric Avery, got together and formed Jane’s Addiction. Farrell, initially hesitant to consider Navarro, was eventually convinced after a jam session that exhibited an immediate chemistry, thanks in part to his history playing alongside Perkins. That jam session resulted in one of the band's most popular songs, "Mountain Song."
Jane’s Addiction quickly became the talk of the L.A. club circuit. Their unpredictable, high-energy, and sometimes gender-bending look, along with their sonic mix of punk, funk, and metal, presented the audience with a unique sound and presaged the rise of alternative music that would later arise in the form of grunge-rock acts like Nirvana and Pearl Jam.
In 1987 Jane's Addiction released a live self-titled debut that was well received. They only issued two other albums during their original tenure together: 1988's Nothing's Shocking, and 1990's Ritual de lo Habitual. They split in 1991, having left a lasting impression on the rock world.
During the ’90s Perkins played with a number of bands, including Infectious Grooves, Porno For Pyros, and Banyan. In 1997 Perkins joined Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and Navarro for a Jane’s relapse tour. In addition to his Jane's duties, Perkins became a popular session drummer, lending his talents to albums by Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Rage Against The Machine, No Doubt, and the Nine Inch Nails.
In 2005 Perkins joined Jane’s alumni Dave Navarro to start a new band called The Panic Channel, which released a self-titled album in 2006.