Music • Perry Farrell talks about love of festivals and how the band stays alive.
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For Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell, there's just something about festivals.
He's only musician to have performed at every Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival since its inception in 1999.
In addition, he's a regular attendee of the Sundance Film Festival and found time last year to perform with his wife at the Park City club Downstairs during the festival.
Foremost, Farrell is the founder of Lollapalooza, an annual touring music festival from 1991 to 1997, which was revived again in 2003 with Farrell still serving as musical curator.
"Festivals have really revolutionized the music industry with the iPod generation," said Farrell, 53, in a phone interview, referring to young musical fans' eclectic musical tastes. "They have thousands and thousands of songs, and a lot of different songs."
With more than 150 groups performing at the most recent Lollapalooza in Chicago over three days, Farrell said what began as a roadshow not to mention the first farewell tour for Jane's Addiction has become a gathering with something for every kind of music fan.
This week, Farrell is bringing his band Jane's Addiction to Saltair as part of a tour promoting the band's 2011 album "The Great Escape Artist." The album was the group's first since "Strays" in 2003, and only the second since 1990's "Ritual de lo habitual."
Farrell and co-founding members Dave Navarro (on guitar) and Stephen Perkins (on drums) were a ground-breaking alt-rock band in the Los Angeles underground scene in the 1980s, eventually recording one of the unlikeliest MTV hits ever, 1990's "Been Caught Stealing," The band acrimoniously dissolved after only two albums, but Farrell's unusual, high-pitched yelps, Perkins' unique percussion and Navarro's dark, pyschedelic metal-inspired guitar riffs were long remembered. Fans rejoiced when the band reunited in 1997 for a tour, followed by more reunions and breakups.
Not all fans rejoiced, according to Farrell. "There used to be a website dedicated to hating everything Jane's Addiction did after 1991," he said. "It would kill me. It would drive me crazy. I did a lot of soul-searching do I suck that bad?"
But rather than taking it too personally, Farrell reconsidered his opinion of the blogger who created the website. "He looks back at the 1980s, that was the best time of his life," Farrell said. "It has little to do with us. This guy doesn't want to move on."
The biggest dilemma Farrell faced was moving on, trying to evolve Jane's Addiction's sound but still keeping the spark of the band that ignited fans the first time around. "The 1980s and the 1990s were one of the greatest times of my life," Farrell said. "But I love the present." He said that because Navarro and Perkins have such identifiable styles along with new bassist Chris Chaney the "personality" of Jane's Addiction will always be there when they perform with one another.
Electronic trio Big Black Delta will be opening for Jane's Addiction. The band is the brainchild of Jonathan Bates, formerly of the experimental hard-rock band Mellowdrone. Several years ago, tensions in the band grew so large that members began creating fake excuses for why it couldn't perform shows, Bates said in a phone interview. One memorable falsehood was that the band was dealing with the trauma associated with the drummer's girlfriend being kidnapped. (She was never kidnapped, for the record.)
Bates stepped away from music for a year. He bought a used laptop from friend Alessandro Cortini (who had been a member of Nine Inch Nails) and began sound-designing and circuit-bending to make original electronic music. "Everything is the complete opposite of what I did before," Bates said.
With dueling drummers and a light show inspired by his obsession with UFOs, Bates said he wants audiences to feel as if they are "standing next to a Tesla coil you can't help but dance."
That sounds like a festival to me.
Jane's Addiction plays with Big Black Delta.
When • Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 7:30 p.m.
Where • Saltair, 12408 W. Salt Air Drive, Magna
Tickets • $38 at SmithsTix