By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
When Perry Farrell hit 60 in March 2019, he knew he had to change. He spent years in the dark, but decided it was time to emerge.
“I just holed up and I partied. I didn’t want to completely be social,” Farrell said. “I didn’t really want to completely become active, an active participant in society.
“At 60, you know how it feels, man. You get a little wear and tear. We made it through this far. For the rest of my life, it’s maintenance and discovery. I want to maintain and be around and available not just to people, but my family for sure.”
Thanks to Farrell’s management, vaulted music hit stores November 6, pushing the singer’s legacy beyond “just” Jane’s Addiction or Porno for Pyros.
“Perry Farrell—The Glitz; The Glamour” is a 35-year retrospective of Farrell’s life, music and arts that focuses on 68 alt-rock rarities that was served in vinyl and collectible boxset. This collection puts his stake in the ground, as it were, as the “Godfather of Alternative Rock.”
Across nine 180-gram vinyls, “Perry Farrell—The Glitz; The Glamour” takes fans through his expansive solo career starting with his first band Psi Com and its five song self-titled EP. Recorded in 1985, just prior to the formation of Jane’s Addiction, the Psi Com sound was inspired by artists like Joy Division and Siouxsie and the Banshees.
The band was recently featured in the new documentary “Desolation Center,” the previously untold story of ’80s guerilla music, art and culture in Southern California, and is available on all streaming video platforms.
From 2001, “Song Yet to Be Sung” was inspired by and recorded after a life-changing experience in Sudan helping free thousands of slaves from human bondage. This experience and album set forth Perry as a humanitarian and his commitment to equality. The 12-song EP was written and produced by Farrell and is joined on the album by lifelong friends including Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction), Martyn LeNoble (Porno for Pyros) and Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction and Porno For Pyros).
Satellite Party’s 2007 album, “Ultra Payloaded,” was co-produced by Perry, Steve Lillywhite and Nuno Bettencourt and featured his wife and muse, Etty Lau Farrell. The 12-song LP also included collaborations with John Frusciante, Flea, Fergie, New Order’s Peter Hook, Peter DiStefano (Porno For Pyros), Thievery Corporation and Mad Professor.
For the recording of 2018’s “Kind Heaven,” the alt-rock icon assembled guest stars—Elliot Easton (The Cars), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Mike Garson (David Bowie), Chris Chaney (Jane’s Addiction), Etty Lau Farrell, Dhani Harrison as well as Tommy Lee, The Bloody Beetroots, Kascade and Joachim Garraud. It featured singles “Pirate Punk Politician,” a searing indictment of the current state of our planet under a rising tide of autocratic regimes, and the soaring song of hope “Let’s all Pray for This World.”
“The project was led by my management team,” Farrell said. “They came in, maybe a year ago, and they noticed I was all over the place. I hadn’t documented my career, all my pictures I’ve been saving, my life, my memories. My publishing was all over the place.
“I had four to five projects. Some of them were just sitting there gathering dust. They were beautiful projects. They started listening to it and they said, ‘We want to pull it all together and make a centrifuge or a center of gravity for it all.’ They really love the music. They wanted to know what happened to the music. I told them the industry just kind of evaporated or eviscerated slowly right before our eyes.”
Farrell worked on new music back then for the likes of Psi Com and then reality hit. The Virgin Records store in LA shuttered.
“Tumbleweeds were going through the parking lot.”
“It was a beautiful record,” he said. “But it would end up stillborn. The songs were so good, and I put so much work and time into it. They were lovely. We wanted to put out a boxset and go all the way back to Psi Com.”
The boxset also includes unearthed recording of Jim Morrison that Farrell composed, and to complete the circle written and recorded with LA’s next generation Starcrawler.
“I did the Jim Morrison song with a young group, Starcrawler, from LA, that I produced and wrote with Taylor Hawkins and Starcrawler,” he said.
Eleven specially commissioned remixes and collaborations spanning two exclusive vinyls round out the set. These feature heavyweight luminaries from the electronic dance world including Maceo Plex, Groove Armada, UNKLE, Solomun, Booka Shade, Richard Norris, Francois K and The Avalanches.
Farrell compares the boxset to the snacks his wife orders.
“My wife gets snacks from different countries like Russia, another box from Korea, another from Sweden and then you get to taste what their potatoes are like,” he said.
“Some chips have a shrimp taste, and others are super sour gummies. That’s what the boxset reminds me of. This crazy box of snacks. You go through it and you look at the packaging and you open the box really quickly and taste it.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to Farrell, who founded Lollapalooza. This year, Lollapaloozas in Chicago, Brazil, Argentina, Stockholm, Paris and Berlin were canceled.
“We worked on Lolla 2020 as a virtual event,” Farrell said. “Honestly, I’m with the people, man. I stay on top of politics and current events. I’m very motivated because of Kamala Harris and the Democrats and BLM and I really want to participate in the world going forward.
“I think the next 10 years will be super exciting. We can retrofit or tear down the walls, become socially active and artistically active. It’s going to make it through. I’m inspired.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Farrell has been working on his memoir, another goal for his 60s.
“I have history,” he said. “When the pandemic hit, I said, ‘OK. I’m going to settle down and get my act together—probably what everybody’s doing—gather my music, my publishing, my pictures, stories and I’ve had a really fun time doing it.
“Now, I really feel I’m prepared to enter into the third act of life. There’s a lot you can accomplish in this third act. I don’t want to look at this third act as I have to slow down. I was slowed down in the middle. Now I feel like the best Perry I can be.”
Visit perryfarrell.com for more information.