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Perry Farrell

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Perry Farrell
Farrell performing with Dave Worsham in 2012
Farrell performing with Dave Worsham in 2012
Background information
Birth namePeretz Bernstein
Also known asDJ Peretz
Born (1959-03-29) March 29, 1959 (age 65)
Queens, New York, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • DJ
Years active1981–present

Perry Farrell (born Peretz Bernstein; March 29, 1959)[4][5] is an American singer, songwriter, and musician referred to as the "Godfather of Alternative Music".[6][7] Farrell began his career with Psi Com in the early 1980s, before becoming the frontman of the band Jane's Addiction. He became well known for his success with Jane's Addiction; the band quickly became a key act in the '80s Los Angeles music scene, blending punk, metal, and psychedelic rock to create a unique sound. Their daring live performances and experimental approach resonated with disillusioned youth, contributing to the rise of alternative music as a form of rebellion and self-expression.

As part of Jane's Addiction farewell in 1991, Farrell founded Lollapalooza, which has evolved into an annual festival of multiple genres. Farrell is the frontman of Porno for Pyros, who are releasing new music and touring North America throughout 2024.

Farrell has also released a number of solo albums, and also launched a number of other music related projects, including Kind Heaven Orchestra and Heaven After Dark.

Early life[edit]

Peretz Bernstein was born in the Queens borough of New York City on March 29, 1959. He was raised in a Jewish family, his mother was an artist and his father was a jeweler. When Farrell was three, his mother took her own life, an event which he later wrote about in Jane's Addiction songs "Then She Did" and "Twisted Tales". In an interview with The Guardian, Farrell spoke of his mother's suicide, saying, "'I remember it, yeah. There are some things that have deep-seated emotions for me, but you can't change it and you move on. I think it has a huge part in my appreciation for life, for sure.'"[8] He spent his grade-school years in Woodmere, Long Island, before his family relocated to Florida.[4]

Farrell's family moved to North Miami Beach, Florida when he was a teenager.[4] At the age of seventeen, after graduating from high school, Farrell wanted adventure in his life and caught a bus to California. Aside from some belongings, Farrell took a surfboard, art materials and some weed. He stated in interviews since that he really wanted to focus on surfing, but had at that point in his life also started taking an interest in music with influences from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Sly and the Family Stone and James Brown.[4]

He spent time as a club singer for a short period in the early 1980s while living in Los Angeles.[8] Farrell also stated that he worked construction, waited tables and spent some of his time in LA living in his car.[9][10] While living in California, he discovered David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed.[4]

Music career[edit]

1981–1991: Psi Com & founding Jane's Addiction[edit]

In the early 1980s, Farrell was living in LA and noticed an ad in a local magazine. It had been placed by Vince Duran and Aaron Sherer, who were looking for a drummer for their band. Following discussions, it was agreed Farrell would become the lead singer and frontman for the post-punk, goth rock band, Psi Com. At the time, they mixed with a number of upcoming bands from California, including X, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, Oingo Boingo, and the Minutemen. While performing with Psi Com, it was the first time the pseudonym Perry Farrell was used by Bernstein, since it was a play on the word "peripheral".[11]

Despite being together for over three years, the band only released a small batch of cassettes called "Worktape 1". In 1985, they attempted to record more music at Radio Tokyo Studios in Venice Beach, California, with Ethan James responsible for a lot of the production. Problems with distribution meant the new tracks weren't released while the band was together, but later released by Triple X in the 1990s after demand to hear the tracks grew.[citation needed]

Psi Com finally ended recording and playing together in late 1985. Farrell had previously met guitarist Eric Avery through mutual friends. Avery was classmates with both drummer Stephen Perkins and Dave Navarro.[12] Avery and Farrell decided to jam together, forming the initial foundation for Jane's Addiction. Perkins was invited to join, followed by Navarro.

Jane's Addiction became popular in the mid-1980s, starting in LA but soon becoming a household name across the United States. They built a rabid fan base with high-energy shows in small venues across Los Angeles. The band released three albums in quick succession, Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual. A B-sides album from the Ritual sessions, titled Live and Rare, was released in Japan. In late 1991, Jane's Addiction announced they were splitting. Numerous reasons and rumours circulated including Farrell's battle with addiction, but also many baseless rumors.[13] Once the rumours died down, it became evident Farrell and Avery had different visions on the band's progression.[14]

1992–1999: Porno for Pyros, solo music & Jane's Addiction reunion[edit]

Perry Farrell performs with Porno for Pyros on March 10, 2024 at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ. This was the last performance of the final tour for Porno for Pyros.

Shortly after Jane's Addiction split up, Farrell and drummer Stephen Perkins formed Porno for Pyros. Guitarist Peter DiStefano and bass player Martyn LeNoble completed the original four members of the band. Porno for Pyros undertook a huge North American tour in 1992, prior to the release of their eponymous first album. The album was eventually released in 1993, with demand for new music from the band pushing the album to the No. 3 position on the Billboard top 200 list. The video for the album's second single, "Pets", received heavy airplay on MTV. Following the album's release, Porno for Pyros continued a heavy touring schedule, including an appearance at Woodstock '94 along with a cameo on HBO's The Larry Sanders Show. Unlike the relatively straight-ahead rock shows that were the hallmark of live Jane's Addiction, Porno for Pyros live shows relied heavily on props and special effects (including pyrotechnics).[15]

In 1997, Jane's Addiction reformed for a brief reunion tour with Flea replacing Avery on bass. Kicking off his solo career, Farrell released rev in 1999, a compilation featuring songs from his previous two bands as well as two new solo songs.

2000–2008: Jane's Addiction new music & Satellite Party[edit]

In 2001, he released his debut solo album, Song Yet to Be Sung, with lyrics inspired by Kabbalah. Farrell again toured with Jane's Addiction later that year. He has been credited with changing the fortunes of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, after performing in 2001.[16] Coachella's first year in 1999 was considered a disaster, which led to the event not being held in 2000. In 2001, a decision was made to organize the festival again, but just a few months before the festival was set to occur, there was still no headlining group. Farrell, who was friends with the festival organizers, decided to reunite Jane's Addiction for the 2001 event, which helped draw large crowds and allowed the festival to yield a profit (which was not the case in 1999). This began a Coachella tradition of reuniting at least one major act each year.

In 2003, Jane's Addiction released an album, Strays. It quickly became one of their best selling records and was certified Gold in the USA and Silver in UK.[17][18] They toured extensively in North America and Europe, brought back Lollapalooza for the first time since 1997, as well as performing at the Big Day Out festivals in Australia and New Zealand. Internal struggles saw the band split up again in early 2004. A "best of" release following the breakup of this incarnation of the band was released in 2006, titled Up from the Catacombs.

Farrell formed a new band/theatrical entity entitled the Satellite Party. Satellite Party is a concept album and is the story of a fictional band of musicians called the Solutionists who are trying to change the world.[19] Farrell conceived the project with his wife Etty Lau Farrell. Etty sings and plays her part on the record as well as the live stage shows. Satellite Party made its debut in Los Angeles at The Key Club on July 18, 2005, followed by a performance at Lollapalooza 2005, held in Grant Park in downtown Chicago on July 24, 2005.

Farrell performing at the London Astoria in June 2007

Their debut album, Ultra Payloaded, was released on May 29, 2007, on Columbia Records, with contributions from artists such as John Frusciante and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, electronic dance producers Hybrid, former Red Hot Chili Peppers/Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons, Joy Division/New Order bassist Peter Hook, and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas.[20]

Satellite Party performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 27, 2007. On June 8 they performed at the Download Festival at Donington, UK.[21] On June 29 they performed alongside Pearl Jam, Kings of Leon and Queens of the Stone Age at Rock Werchter, Belgium. They performed at Buzz Beach Ball 3 in Kansas City (a concert sponsored by KRBZ), and EndFest 16 in Seattle.

The four original members of Jane's Addiction played their first show together in 17 years at the first United States edition of the NME Awards on April 23, 2008, and played two small shows in Los Angeles during late 2008. Farrell has released a number of solo tracks online, all of them recorded with the involvement of wife Etty Lau. Their song "Go All the Way (Into the Twilight)" appeared on the Twilight film soundtrack.[22]

2009–present: Recent career & Kind Heaven Orchestra[edit]

The reunited Jane's Addiction re-debuted at SXSW in 2009 and kicked off a summer tour with Nine Inch Nails. Eric Avery again left the band in late 2009, leaving Farrell, Navarro and Perkins as the remaining members of Jane's Addiction. The band with Dave Sitek on bass released The Great Escape Artist in 2011 and have continued to tour.

Perry Farrell with Jane's Addiction
December 3, 2009

In 2018, Farrell announced that he would be the frontman for a new music project, the Kind Heaven Orchestra. Farrell's wife Etty Farrell was on backing vocals, Matt Chamberlain of Pearl Jam, Chris Cheney and keyboardist Matt Rohde from Jane's Addiction also part of the lineup. Kind Heaven Orchestra debuted at the first ever Bill Graham Festival of Lights.[23]

In October 2018, Farrell signed with BMG Rights Management, which released his second studio album Kind Heaven in 2019.[24] The demand for new music by Farrell led to the album reaching 2nd position in the Heatseekers album chart. Metacritic gave the album an aggregate score of 70, meaning the album generally received positive reviews.

In 2020, Jane's Addiction reformed after a three year hiatus to perform at Lollapalooza that year.[25] When asked if we could expect a new album from Jane's Addiction, Farrell stated “I wouldn't think albums, I'd think songs. We’ve got so much Jane's material in the can. We'll be releasing a couple of tracks, maybe writing some new ones."[26]

In February 2022, Farrell launched Heaven After Dark; each event combines music and sensation, visual stimulation, and supports the nurture of up-and-coming artists.[27] Later that year, Heaven After Dark expanded to become its own record label where artists are treated more fairly than traditional models. The label has since gone on to release “Turn Over The World” (Idles remix), Etty Lau Farrell’s "He’s A Rebel” Pink Panda Remix (The Crystal's number 1 single), Telling Stories & Until The Night Fades which was a collaboration between Etty Lau Farrell and award-winning English producer and DJ Hyper in 2023.[28]

In May 2022, Farrell announced he would be releasing a new single titled Mend, with Kind Heaven Orchestra.[29] During the same month, Jane's Addiction had to pull out of performing at Welcome to Rockville after Dave Navarro contracted Covid-19. Farrell on Welcome to Rockville's Facebook page that Porno for Pyros would be reuniting for the first time in 26 years.[30]


In 1991, Farrell created Lollapalooza, initially as the farewell tour for Jane's Addiction. It has since become a defining cultural event for alternative music enthusiasts worldwide, showcasing diverse talents and fostering a global community of music and art lovers. Lollapalooza has also become a platform for social change, encouraging activism and environmental consciousness. The festival has since expanded into eight territories around the world including Chicago, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, France, Sweden and India.[31]


In 2005, music producer Tor Hyams approached Farrell with the idea of creating a kids' stage with family-friendly fare at Lollapalooza. Kidzapalooza came to be that year, produced by Hyams and continues to this day with guests like Slash, Patti Smith and LeAnn Rimes appearing in the lineup of artists.[32][33]

PurimPalooza 2006[edit]

In 2006, Farrell performed at Purimpalooza, which celebrates the Jewish holiday of Purim. It was a concert for all ages and presented different Jewish musical groups. It took place in Ruby Skye in San Francisco, and featured bands including Moshav, Chutzpah, and Matisyahu.

Work outside music[edit]

Farrell has also made a docudrama titled Gift released in 1993 which featured various songs by Farrell and included Farrell's then-girlfriend Casey Niccoli. Gift was released to VHS home video by Warner Bros but never released to DVD.

He joined forces with Tom Morello and his Axis of Justice tour to raise money for the homeless in Los Angeles and together they both physically removed debris in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to assist local musicians.[34] They also fund-raised for "Road Recovery" a New York non-profit organization which helps young people battling with addiction and other adversities.[35]

Farrell is an environmentalist. He met British prime minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street on January 31, 2007, to discuss global warming. He presented Blair with a CD of the Satellite Party track "Woman in the Window".

He worked with Global Cool in 2007 to help promote green living.[36]

Personal life[edit]

Farrell met his wife while touring with Jane's Addiction. Etty Lau Farrell was a backing dancer on the tour in 1997 and married in 2002. Together they have two children.


Psi Com

Jane's Addiction

Porno for Pyros

Kind Heaven Orchestra

  • 2021 Mend (Kind Heaven Orchestra album)


Satellite Party

Miscellaneous musical appearances and collaborations


  1. ^ Prato, Greg. "Perry Farrell biography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  2. ^ Gramlich, Chris (December 1, 1999). "Perry Farrell - Rev". Exclaim!. Retrieved December 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Perry Farrell - Song Yet to Be Sung". AllMusic. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Mullen, Brendan. Google Books, Whores: An Oral Biography of Perry Farrell and Jane's Addiction. Cambridge: Da Capo, 2005. ISBN 0-306-81347-5
  5. ^ "Kabalapalooza: Perry Farrell". Paper. February 1, 2001. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  6. ^ Nattress, Katrina. "Perry Farrell Recalls Someone Retrieving His First Band's Masters From the Trash". Spin.
  7. ^ "Perry Farrell on being a solutionist, an innovator and that time he freed slaves in Sudan". Kerrang!. March 29, 2021.
  8. ^ a b Mitchell, Ben (August 3, 2003). "Rock and roll Babylon". The Guardian.
  9. ^ "My Life in Music: Perry Farrell". Spin.com. July 2, 2003. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  10. ^ "Perry Farrell". Kevchino.com. Archived from the original on December 26, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  11. ^ "Perry Farrell | New Music And Songs". MTV. Archived from the original on June 14, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  12. ^ "Jane's Addiction: Taking Chances". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on February 4, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2017.
  13. ^ Reilly, Nick (November 25, 2020). "Perry Farrell says the LA Health Dept "made a public announcement" to find him after rumour he had AIDS". NME.
  14. ^ Epstein, Dan. "Jane's Addiction Break Down 'Ritual de lo Habitual' Track by Track". Rolling Stone.
  15. ^ "Woodstock 1994 concert review". Ram.org. Retrieved June 4, 2011.
  16. ^ "Coachella Music Festival – Coachella – Profile of Coachella Music Festival". Musicians.about.com. June 22, 2013. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  17. ^ "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database – July 12, 2013". RIAA. Archived from the original on June 26, 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  18. ^ [1] Archived February 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Farrell's Satellite Party announces online premiere of 'Wish Upon A Dog Star'". Monsters and Critics. February 5, 2007. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  20. ^ Harris, Chris (April 29, 2005). "Flea, Frusciante Contributing To Farrell's Next Big Concept – Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV.com. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  21. ^ "DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL 2007 | Download Festival 2013". Downloadfestival.co.uk. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  22. ^ [2] Archived November 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Glow, Kory. "Perry Farrell Announces New Solo Band: The Kind Heaven Orchestra". Rolling Stone.
  24. ^ "JANE'S ADDICTION Frontman PERRY FARRELL Signs With BMG For New Solo Album, 'Kind Heaven'". Blabbermouth.net. October 16, 2018. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  25. ^ Rose, Anna. "Watch Jane's Addiction reunite to perform for Lollapalooza". NME.
  26. ^ "Perry Farrell says Jane's Addiction are looking to release new music in 2021". NME.
  27. ^ "Perry Farrell On Evolution Of Festival Sphere As New 'Heaven After Dark' Series Takes Shape". Forbes.
  28. ^ Perez, Jennifer (March 18, 2022). "Etty Lau Farrell Releases Nostalgic Video for Her Debut Single". Patch Media.
  29. ^ "Perry Farrell announces new single 'MEND' with Kind Heaven Orchestra". NME.
  30. ^ Carter, Emily (May 24, 2022). "Porno For Pyros reunite at Welcome To Rockville for first full performance in 26 years". Kerrang!.
  31. ^ "Lollapalooza 2004 cancels all dates". Usatoday.Com. June 22, 2004. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  32. ^ "Kidzapalooza". Kidzapalooza. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  33. ^ "Kidzapalooza 2011 lineup announced". Time Out Chicago Kids. May 10, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  34. ^ Heller, Z.P. (September 15, 2008). "The Relentless Activism of Tom Morello". The Nation. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  35. ^ "Home". Road Recovery. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  36. ^ "Perry Farrell, Doors drummer launch Global Cool | News". Nme.Com. January 30, 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  37. ^ Blais-Billie, Braudie (March 29, 2019). "Perry Farrell Announces First Solo Album in 18 Years, Shares New Song: Listen". Pitchfork. Retrieved March 29, 2019.
  38. ^ "Perry Farrell to Release 35-Year Retrospective Box Set". Rolling Stone. July 17, 2020.

External links[edit]