Music Tidbits: Perry Farrell

This week’s artist was quite a treat for me, although I’ve always loved Jane’s Addiction, I didn’t know much about their lead singer. Turns out he’s done a whole lot for the music community at large.

  • Perry Farrell was born in Queens, New York on March 29, 1959. His birth name was Peretz Bernstein. His mother committed suicide when he was only three years old –later referenced in the Jane’s Addiction song “Then She Did.”

  • After graduating from high school in Florida in the early 80s, Perry decided to live the surfer’s life in Los Angeles, California, living out of his car and making money by waiting tables and working construction.

  • Perry’s first band was the gothic band Psi Com. The music scene the group was involved with included a lot of big name bands like X, Fishbone and Black Flag.

  • When Psi Com broke up in 1985, Perry began working on Jam Sessions with Eric Avery that would help lead to the foundation of Jane’s Addiction. It was around this time period that Farrell came up with his stage name, he chose Perry Farrell because it was a fun play on “peripheral.”

  • Jane’s Addiction was named after Perry’s drug addict roommate, Jane Bainter. Eric’s little sister Rebecca helped the group find its other two members, Stephen Perkins, her boyfriend, and a friend, Dave Navarro.

  • The group soon started to have a big following around the LA club scene and quickly garnered interest from multiple record labels. They chose to sign with Warner Brothers Records, but insisted on releasing their first album with the independent label Triple X Records. In addition, the group received the largest signing advance ever offered at the time, around $275,000.

  • In 1991, Farrell worked with Ted Gardener and Marc Geiger to create the Lollapalooza festival as a farewell tour for Jane’s Addiction. For this reason, Farrell became known as a “godfather of alternative rock music.”

  • Parry Farrell and Casey Niccoli worked together on a film titled Gift that featured Jane’s Addiction. The movie is a gothic, tragic, romantic story in the LA club scene with themes of sex and drugs. The movie was released by Warner Brothers in 1993.

  • After Jane’s Addiction, Perry and Stephen Perkins started a new band, Porno for Pyros.

  • Around this same period, Jane’s Addition reunited with Eric Avery replaced by Flea, who had worked with Dave Navarro in The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

  • A number of women dancers were hired as part of the stage show for this “relapse” tour, one of these dancers later became Farrell’s wife. He had this to say about meeting her, "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.” She has continued to dance in every Jane’s Addiction tour since.

  • In the late nineties, Perry decided to start a solo career. His first album features a number of lyrics inspired by the Kabala.

  • Farrell occasionally DJs using the name DJ Peretz.

  • The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival largely has Perry to thank for their continued success, as the festival was close to failure after its first incarnation in 1999. When the festival was scheduled to happen a second time there was no headlining group for a long time. Finally, Farrell volunteered to reunite Jane’s Addiction for the event, which helped bring in large crowds. Since then there has been a tradition of reuniting one major band every year. Perry has been the only artist to play every Coachella festival, occasionally as a solo artist or DJ and occasionally in a group.

  • Jane’s Addiction donated all of their earnings from one show in 2001 to help negotiate the release of over 2,300 Sudanese slaves.

  • In 2005, Farrell and his wife Etty began a theatrical band called "The Satellite Party." The group’s music is focused around an imaginary version of their relationship together. Their debut album had appearances by Flea, Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons, New Order bassist Peter Hook and Fergie.

Satellite Party Image Via -EMR- [Flickr]

  • Kidzapalooza is a kid-friendly stage at the annual Lollapalooza festival that was started by Perry and music producer Tor Hyams. This year represents the first time Kidzapalooza will be its own festival. It is planned for June at the Hollywood Bowl. Featured artists will include Farrell, Gary Oldman, Slash and Ziggy Marley.

  • Perry celebrated his Jewish heritage by performing at the 2006 Purimpalooza, a music celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim and the birthday of Rabbi Yosef Langer.

  • The NME awards of 2008 saw the first reunion in 17 years of all four original Jane’s Addiction members. They were the first American group to win the award of “God Like Genius.”

Sources #1, #2, #3, #4

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love him!
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I'm thinking that they both swing both ways, Etty looks like she's climbed mount bush a couple times in her life. As for Perry, it's pretty obvious.
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@ Adam

I thought the open-necked shirt/shaved chest/neck scarf were good visual cues, myself. Can't trust musicians to be gender specific. Look at Bowie and Iman.
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