Perry Farrell turns the tables at 8150
VAIL – There aren’t many artists in my mind that, through the course of music history, have truly warranted the definition “rock star.” Mick Jagger comes to mind. Iggy Pop, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith … I’m really not sure what sort of vision I have for this prototype. You have to be emaciated. You have to wear, at some point in your career, dark eye make-up – a lot of it. You have to hit inharmonious pitches and wail out-of-tune sporadically while performing live. You have to have done heroine at some time in your lifetime. You have to walk on stage looking like a wax figurine and wearing something disturbingly sparkly. You have to crack a wax grimace and open your mouth wider than necessary and collapse dramatically at least once during a show. The body of your work has to hold some quality of sound and style that has never before appeared in the art world. Your out-of-rock-world interests include painting, filmmaking, fasting and 60 various side projects.
Perry Farrell’s name gets a checkmark beside all of these requirements. The first time I saw him walk onto a stage in 1991 on the inaugural Lollapalooza tour, I wasn’t even a Jane’s Addiction fan. But when I saw him toss around his dreadlocks all tied up with pink ribbons, ripple the air with that distinctive, soprano whine he’s got as the guitars reverberated between choruses, and flail around the mic stand clad in vinyl pants, I knew I was witnessing somebody whose worldly perspective begins at a different place than earth. This feeling was reconfirmed when I saw Porno for Pyros perform a few years later and again two years ago when I saw Jane’s on a brief reunion tour, wherein Farrell hadn’t abandoned any of his old tendencies to dance erotically with other band members or collapse onto the stage in mid-song and start crawling around like a windup gargoyle.Farrell, who turned 46 earlier this week, was the mastermind behind Lollapolooza, the most successful touring music festival in American history that he (according to various Web sites), named after an ice cream flavor. He was also the pioneer of Jane’s Addiction, the short-lived but long-to-be-remembered hardrock/ethereal four-piece with drummer Stephen Perkins, guitarist Dave Navarro and bassist Eric Avery, which produced three albums between 1987 and 1991 before breaking up, and then Porno for Pyros with Stephens, guitarist Peter DiStefano and bassist Martyn LeNoble, which only produced two albums before Farrell attempted to reunite Jane’s Addiction. Farrell has also launched two solo albums, started a couple charity foundations, made a few films – “Soul Kiss,” “Gift” and “The Doom Generation” – and, most recently, has performed at an Oscars’ party and contributed his vocals, which sound vaguely Jamaican, to Thievery Corporation’s “The Cosmic Game” release. MTV has dubbed him “one of the most important and original musical figures of the ’90s.” Spending most of his childhood in Florida after his mother committed suicide when he was 4 years old, Farrell, who, according to tour booking authorities, refuses to do media interviews, has dabbled in everything from poetry to surfing to painting – he designed all three covers of Jane’s albums. Coincidentally, he also has a hankering for snowboarding and spinning records.
If you happen to see some crow-like figure carving up the slopes at Breckenridge or Vail this weekend, there’s a good chance it could be he. Farrell is doing an all-Colorado tour this weekend, spinning in Breck tonight and at 8150 in Vail Monday. “The whole reason he comes is he loves to snowboard,” said 8150 concert talent booker Crawford Byers. “He comes with his wife to ski and then does an electronic music show. It’s pretty techno, hard house. Last year, he got on the mic for a few minutes and did that ‘dun-di-dun-dun’ thing that nobody else does, and you know it’s Perry Farrell. It’s not a Porno for Pyros’ or a Jane’s show. The coolest thing about it is that he’s so accessible and you’re having proximity with such an icon.”
Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado