Years ago, Rolling Stone ran a memorable story about Porno for Pyros, the band Perry Farrell formed after Jane's Addiction broke up. As the interview went on, the writer grew increasingly frustrated: she couldn't get a straight answer out of Farrell, who alternated between talking incessantly about sex and nodding out. At one point, Farrell suggested that she might not take it all so seriously if she got laid. The writer then wondered—to herself and her readers—whether it would hinder her interview if she punched him.
Farrell has a knack for needling; I imagine any successful conversation with him would involve a willingness to listen to a lot of far-flung crap.
Still, there's no denying he's one of the most important figures to crop up on the '90s rock landscape—the man created Lollapalooza, for chrissake. His name, at one point, was synonymous with alternative culture—back before the word "alternative" was so freighted with meanings that it broke down (e.g., do you mean alternative like alternative to the mainstream? Or alternative like alternative to the alternative? Or alternative like alternative to the alternative mainstream? Or alternative ironically—like not alternative at all? Or alternative like Limp Bizkit?)
But now, like Boy George and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's wife, Rhonda, before him, Farrell's going the DJ route. He's been deejaying for three years, actually, under the name DJ Peretz. He says the only music he's listened to with any passion for the past few years is electronic. Perry's over bands, dude. Maybe you should be, too.
So what does it mean when someone who has been consistently creative and ahead of the curve embraces electronic music? It means all those people who've been saying DJs are the new rock stars are right.
It's too bad. I wanted them to be wrong.
On his latest album, Songs Yet to Be Sung, Farrell seamlessly blends electronic sounds, tribal rhythms, drum-and-bass, and world beats with real instrumentation and mystical lyrics. But Farrell's voice is so distinctive that it transcends whatever specific style of music he's performing and makes it sound like Jane's Addiction, so although this represents a departure for Farrell, your ear doesn't perceive it quite that way. Songs Yet to Be Sung, though crafted with computers, might as well be a rock record. It's world/techno/Jane's Addiction. And it's beautiful, too: fluid, emotional and catchy. Lyrically, it concerns itself with the idea of "Jubilee," the musical celebration of forgiveness and redemption occurring every 50 years. Farrell wants to stage a Jubilee festival this year in Israel.
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Farrell performs a DJ set at House of Blues on Friday.
"I enjoy the environment, the culture, and most of all, the music puts a rocket in my pocket," he said via e-mail, when asked why he started deejaying. He said lots of good things via e-mail. Things like, "The sets are always evolving. Different situations call for different music selection. People take on the personality of the sound. I give the men courage, and to the girls I give the rumba." Yeah. I love the gift of rumba! Bring on the rumba! And the courage (not for me, mind you, but for my male compatriots)!
But the best thing Farrell said via e-mail concerned his stint as a dancer in Orange County, something I knew a sad nothing about. "I began formally entertaining at the Balboa Yacht Club," he writes. "That is where I learned about the passion women had for entertainment." Yeah! And for the rumba, apparently.
DJ Peretz performs a late DJ set at House of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-Blue. Fri., 10:30 p.m. $26. 21+.