Perry Farrell (born Perry Bernstein; March 29, 1959) is an American musician, best known as the frontman for the alternative rock band Jane's Addiction. Farrell created the touring festival Lollapalooza as a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction in 1991; it has since evolved into an annual destination festival. Farrell continues to produce Lollapalooza with partners William Morris Agency and C3. Farrell has led the alternative rock groups Porno for Pyros and Satellite Party. He is the only person who has performed at all twelve Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festivals to date, having appeared under five different names (Perry Farrell, Jane's Addiction, DJ Peretz, Satellite Party, and with Hybrid). DJ Peretz and The Chemical Brothers are the only names to have appeared on the festival's lineup card more than four times.
Born as Perry Bernstein in Queens, New York, he spent his grade-school years in Woodmere, Long Island, and moved to Miami, Florida with his family during his teens. His father was a jeweler; his mother was an artist who committed suicide when Farrell was three, an event later noted in the Jane's Addiction songs "Then She Did" and "Twisted Tales." According to a Howard Stern interview on 3 June 1997, Farrell believes aliens visit him and he accepts the knowledge and spirituality they bring.
His early musical influences included The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Sly & The Family Stone and James Brown. Soon after, he discovered David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. Following graduation from high school, Farrell moved to California in the early 1980s to live as a surfer, lived in his car and made money working construction and waiting tables. Farrell has been sighted at premier surfing destinations throughout the world, most notably Bali, in 2001.
In 2002, Farrell married Etty Lau Farrell, a professional dancer who has performed in all the Jane's Addiction shows since the 1997 Relapse tour. The couple now have two sons together, Hezron Wolfgang and Izzadore Bravo. In a video interview with Blender Online, Farrell says of his wife, "Etty and I have been working together since 1997. The very first time I saw her come in and shake her... ponytail, I hired her and I fell in love with her on the spot. We travel together and we have a collective memory. So in another words, I don't remember anything and she just reminds me of everything. So we share this memory bank. And it ain't a bad thing waking up with a hot chick in your bed every day."
Psi Com (1981-1985)
He became the frontman for the Post-punk band Psi Com in Los Angeles, and traveled in a larger community of area musicians including the bands X, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, and The Minutemen. Psi Com broke up around 1985 and Farrell met Eric Avery through mutual friends. The two began jam sessions which would become the initial foundation for Jane's Addiction. It was during this period that Peretz chose the pseudonym Perry Farrell for himself as a play on the word "peripheral."
Jane's Addiction (1985–1991, 1997, 2001–2004, 2008–present)
Jane's Addiction made its name in mid-1980s LA by building up a rabid fan base with legendary, high-energy shows in small LA rock clubs. Jane's Addiction, prior to their first break-up, released three albums Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual with the last being their most critically acclaimed. A B-sides album from the Ritual sessions, titled Live and Rare was released in Japan. Late in 1991, Jane's Addiction broke up due to internal tensions over differing ideologies mostly centering around drug use, notably Farrell's severe addiction to heroin. Around this time, as mentioned in the SPIN Magazine (1991 Vol. 7 Num. 3) article about their "Ritual" tour, a rumor got around that Farrell had contracted HIV. Apparently for amusement, Farrell would tease audiences with "news" of his supposed health and would neither confirm nor deny its truth. In 1993 Farrell and his ex-girlfriend Casey Niccoli released a film called Gift that featured Jane's Addiction. Gift was released by Warner Brothers. In 1997, Jane's Addiction reformed for a brief reunion tour with Flea replacing Avery on bass. The "Relapse Tour" was supported with the release of Kettle Whistle, a rarities album featuring four new songs.
Farrell has sometimes been credited with changing the fortunes of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Following the festival's disastrous first year in 1999, the event was not held in 2000. In 2001, a decision was made to organize the festival again, but just a few months before the festival was set to occur, there was still no headlining group. Farrell, who was friends with the festival's organizers, decided to reunite Jane's Addiction for the 2001 event, which helped draw large crowds and allowed the festival to yield a profit (which was not the case in 1999). This began a Coachella tradition of reuniting at least one major artist each year. Farrell is the only performer that has played every Coachella.
Farrell again toured with Jane's Addiction in 2001 and 2003. In 2003, Jane's Addiction released an album Strays. It quickly became one of their best selling records in the world and was certified gold in the USA and silver in UK. They toured extensively in North America and Europe, brought back Lollapalooza for the first time since 1997. as well as performing at the Big Day Out festivals in Australia and New Zealand. Internal struggles saw the band split up again in early 2004. A "Best Of" release following the breakup of this incarnation of the band was released in 2006, titled Up from the Catacombs.
The four original members of Jane's Addiction played their first show together in 17 years at the first United States edition of the NME Awards on April 23, 2008 and have played two small shows in Los Angeles during Winter 2008. The band is the first American band to receive the "God Like Genius" Award. The reunited Jane's Addiction re-debuted at SXSW in 2009 and kicked off a summer tour with Nine Inch Nails. Eric Avery again left the band in late 2009, leaving Farrell, Navarro and Perkins as the remaining members of Jane's Addiction. The band with Dave Sitek on bass released The Great Escape Artist in 2011 and have continued to tour.
Porno for Pyros (1992–1998)
Following the break-up of Jane's Addiction, Farrell formed Porno for Pyros with former bandmate Stephen Perkins as well as newcomers Peter DiStefano on guitar and Martyn LeNoble on bass. Together they released two albums, Porno for Pyros and Good God's Urge.
Solo career (1999–present)
Kicking off his solo career, Farrell released rev in 1999, a compilation featuring songs from his previous two bands as well as two new solo songs. In 2001, he released his debut solo album, Song Yet to Be Sung, whose lyrics are inspired by Kabballah.
Farrell has released a number of solo tracks online, all of them recorded with the involvement of wife Etty Lau. Their song "Go All the Way (Into the Twilight)" appeared on the Twilight film soundtrack.
Satellite Party (2004–2008)
Farrell formed a new band/theatrical entity entitled The Satellite Party. Satellite Party is a concept album and is the story of a fictional band of musicians called The Solutionists who are trying to change the world. Farrell conceived the project with his wife Etty Lau Farrell. Etty sings and plays her part on the record as well as the live stage shows. Satellite Party made its debut in Los Angeles at The Key Club on July 18, 2005, followed by a performance at Lollapalooza 2005, held in Grant Park in downtown Chicago on July 24, 2005.
Their debut album, Ultra Payloaded, was released on May 29, 2007, on Columbia Records, with contributions from artists such as John Frusciante and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, electronic dance producers Hybrid, former Red Hot Chili Peppers/Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons, Joy Division/New Order bassist Peter Hook, and Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas.
Satellite Party performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 27, 2007. On June 8 they performed at the Download Festival at Donington, UK. On June 29 they performed alongside Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon and Queens of the Stone Age at Rock Werchter, Belgium. They performed at Buzz Beach Ball 3 in Kansas City, Missouri (a concert sponsored by KRBZ), and EndFest 16 in Seattle, Washington.
In 1991, prior to Jane's Addiction dissolving, Farrell, Ted Gardener, and Marc Geiger created the Lollapalooza festival as a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction. From its inception through 1997, and its revival in 2003, the festival toured North America. In 2004, the festival organizers decided to expand the dates to two days per city, but poor ticket sales forced the tour to be canceled. In 2005, Farrell and the William Morris Agency partnered up with Austin, Texas-based company Capital Sports Entertainment (now C3 Presents) and retooled it as a weekend destination festival in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois. Farrell is therefore generally acknowledged as one of the "godfathers" of alternative rock music.
In 2005, music producer Tor Hyams approached Farrell with the idea of creating a kids' stage with family-friendly fare at Lollapalooza. Kidzapalooza came to be that year, produced by Hyams and continues to this day with guests like Slash, Patti Smith and LeAnn Rimes appearing in the lineup of artists.
In 2006, Farrell performed at Purimpalooza, which celebrates the Jewish holiday of Purim. It was a concert for all ages and presented different Jewish musical groups. It took place in Ruby Skye in San Francisco, and featured bands including Moshav, Chutzpah, and Matisyahu.
Work outside music
In December 2001, Farrell flew into politically-troubled Sudan with other members of Christian Solidarity International to negotiate the release of Sudanese slaves. Jane's Addiction donated their earnings from one concert for the redemption of over 2,300 people. Once the redemption agreement was signed, Farrell started up freedom parties at various redemption sites. "He began dancing and singing," said an associate; "I wasn't sure what would happen, but then everyone joined in. Everyone was dancing. Even the Arab retrievers joined in. It was Christians, Muslims, and Jews all dancing together. Arabs, Africans, Americans, and Europeans — all.". Mr. Farrell is Jewish by descent.
He joined forces with Tom Morello and his Axis of Justice tour to raise money for the homeless in Los Angeles and together they both physically removed debris in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to assist local musicians. They also fund-raised for "Road Recovery" a New York non-profit organization which helps young people battling with addiction and other adversities.
Farrell met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street on January 31, 2007, to discuss global warming. He presented Blair with a CD of the Satellite Party track "Woman in the Window".
Farrell is an environmentalist, and plans to become a digital-only artist for his next release. He worked with Global Cool in 2007 to help promote green living.
Farrel has worked to bring music festivals to Israel, including Lollapalooza, Jane's Addiction has performed in Israel. However, the event fell through, the organizers cited financial concerns, and lack of talent willing to perform in the Holy Land. Farrell starred and sung at a "Stand with Israel" party held at 7 World Trade Center, just outside of Ground Zero in New York City, U.S.A..