I met up with Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell backstage at Terminal 5 for the band’s December 29, 2012 stop in New York City. We had a sit-down interview in which we discussed Perry’s next big vision, his plans for Lollapalooza, band tensions, what it was like to record with Trent Reznor, and more. Dobel Tequila helped us secure the interview, you can check out our contest for a signed bottle of Dobel Tequila and a photo book from Perry Farrell by clicking here.
You recently said that there have been 60 songs written for the next Jane’s Addiction album. How developed are those songs?
There’s over 60 lyrically written and then there’s probably 38 recorded, but they were not Jane’s Addiction, they were mine, for the next project. The next project’s going to be a really interesting affair, never before done in history. It’s going to be immersive theater, like a musical or a play. I’m going to have Jane’s writing one record and then I’ve written another one that’s electronic. It’s theater, and in some cases, the scene takes place out in a place like Phuket or a region like that in a bar or a club, so you’d be listening to dance music. I’ve written that part of the show, which is the first half of it. In the second half of it, lyrically, I have many song melodies, but they haven’t been recorded or worked with Jane’s Addiction yet.
On the last album The Great Escape Artist you collaborated with Dave Sitek. Do you plan on working with someone like him again in the future or would you rather just work with the band?
You know, I would love to work with Dave again. He was really fun to work with number one, I thought he did great work number two. I’m working with electronic music in part and then I’m going to move into more alternative sounds. I’d even want to get into some symphony, so I’m not sure who I’d work with yet, although Dave and I have talked a lot about working together.
Would you want to release your next album through a major label?
No. Absolutely not.
What would you want to do?
Since this is going to be a play, I would find private backing and private investors. Those private investors would pay Jane’s Addiction to record a record, and then they’d buy the rights to that, and we would set our own publishing deal with somebody and have it that way. Because with the last record that we did, we did it with Capitol Records. We had this beautiful record, and Capitol Records when our record came out, fired our A&R person and sold the entire company to Universal. I’m not interested in dealing with them, there’s no good reason to work with them. If you can get money from another direction, another area, to make your record, and you keep your publishing. I don’t know what good it is to even try to go on selling records or songs. I’ve been out of that whole thing for years now. Jane’s was never a big record seller. All I would care about, to be honest with you, is that people have our songs on their iPod and they can hear our songs on Spotify or Pandora. I’m good with that. I don’t need to make money that way. The way I’d like to make money is that if someone wanted to use a song for something, in this case a play, or someone wanted to use a song for a movie, if there was a great movie idea. Then of course, the live performances. Building a live environment to perform inside, a beautiful new and exciting venue–that would be the immersive theater–rather than going to a stage, because I think people are burnt out on it.
Switching gears a bit, you worked with Trent Reznor back in 2009 on the track “Embrace the Darkness”. Will that song ever come out?
I think it should come out, but it’s one of those immature fighting things where…basically me and the bass player [Eric Avery] got into it and he didn’t want to release it. I think it should come out. Why not? I think people would really care to hear the song.
What was it like working with Trent?
It was alright. Decent. I can’t say it was my fondest experience in recording, because to be honest with you, the bass player and I were having it out and he [Trent] had to be in the middle of it because he had to get work out of both of us, and he had to be kind of impartial, and that kind of made him a bit wishy-washy.
Would you ever consider a Porno for Pyros reunion?
I love all the guys in Porno and I’ll always want to do it, but I’ve gotten so hot with this new project, now that it’s in the works and moving forward, that…something really great came up. It’s sort of like you were with a girl or with a guy, and then you guys broke apart, and you started getting in contact with each other, like ‘yeah, we should see each other again sometime’, and then all of a sudden this amazing person comes into your life. You know what I mean? And as much as you’d like to still see them…I’d like to still record with them [Porno for Pyros] in my lifetime. But this new project, this immersive theater, is so challenging and so exciting to me, because what I am trying to do is create a new environment for people to go out and enjoy themselves. It’s not easy to do. Back in the day you’d go out to a club, and you could see a band that’s not even signed, and go out there and really enjoy yourself. Then dance music came in, and people moved on to ‘well I’m going to sit at a table and go listen to a DJ, and I’m not going to see some group struggling to get signed because the record release sucks’. And that’s getting boring. That’s boring, right? Something has to come next, and I’m trying to create what’s next.
Are there any plans to expand Lollapalooza? Would you want to have more destination shows or would you want to go back to doing a tour?
No, I wouldn’t want to go back to doing a tour because the world, the country is not the same as it was back in those days. There could be 28 or 35 locations where you could show up and there’d be enough people to warrant going to your city. Now they have main markets and tertiary markets. In your main markets, there could be 6 to 8 main markets, if that, and your tertiary markets drop off real quick. Now, this year, Jane’s Addiction for example, we went back to all the places that we played twenty some odd years ago, and some of these cities are in bad shape. I feel bad, but I was glad I went. I love this country and I love the people too. They’re amazing. The young people are really cool. Everyone’s really mellowed out. As far as Lollapalooza, we have to be really careful where we go, because we’re talking about potentially losing millions of dollars, and you can’t do that a lot of times.
You were involved in a reality show with your wife, Etty. Is there anything similar on the horizon?
My wife was briefly on a show called “Married to Rock” with Duff McKagan of Guns ‘n Roses and Billy Duffy from the Cult, and Steve Stevens from Billy Idol’s group. She didn’t enjoy it that much. But on the horizon, we want to do television. I want to do something that is much more music-centric, with the real lives of young musicians that are making music, and not make a mockery of their life and celebrate their life and actually have them perform.