“You’re looking at me like I’m crazy. Am I crazy?” asks a barefoot Perry Farrell, who’s perched like a praying mantis in the treehouse outside his band’s rented Malibu, Calif., house. The wiry Porno for Pyros frontman and Lollapalooza mastermind arrived here last night to begin recording the band’s second album. But it’s hard to imagine the terminally hyper Farrell penned up in a studio. He’s in constant motion – squatting, stretching, cracking his back and shaking his leg impatiently as he swings from subject to subject like a trapeze artist.
What does Lollapalooza mean?
It means someone or something special, excellent or exceptional. It can also mean a giant lollipop.
Isn’t it hard organizing Lollapalooza while working on Porno?
The truth of the matter is, with Lollapalooza, I come up with ideas, hand them over, and all the work is done by other people. I’m the luckiest son of a bitch in the world. I own the damn name,. though, and can yank it whenever I think something is bullshit.
What’s going on at the new third stage?
While the Smashing Pumpkins, the Breeders or the Beastie Boys are playing the main stages [and mostly independent bands play the second stage], it’ll have spoken word, performance art and an Oprah Winfrey type of thing – like have the KKK up there and the audience asking questions. Any performer who happens to drop in can also play there – like Neil Young, Elvis Costello or even Porno.
You had a lot less involvement in Lollapalooza last year. What happened?
Everyone brings up last year as not the best year, which is really uncool. But people’s expectations of Lollapalooza are far-fetched. It’s like “Fuck, just calm down.” I would have a good time if I just had all those people there with a good record player, much less all the other stuff going on.
Yeah, but it did suck.
I’m not gonna lie to you and say there was nothing wrong with that show. Not every one of your children is gonna be a genius. You might have one who’s slow who doesn’t become a doctor or a lawyer.
So what about all the cyberstuff you’re planning for this year’s Lollapalooza?
We’re putting in 160 computers and trying to link up with America On-Line. That will link us up to MTV, phone systems, the entire world. You’ll even be able to talk with people backstage, like George Clinton. We also want to raise money to buy the rain forest instead of saving it. Saving it is just talk. I saw we just buy the damn thing. Everyone puts their money in, gets a gold certificate and bam! It’s done. I also want it so if a kid can break a certain computer code, he takes over MTV for five minutes right then and there. Take over television sets nationwide!
What future plans do you have for Lollapalooza?
Lollapalooza in outer space. You could get a space shuttle to hold, like, 500 people, and that would be fin if it had windows. No, no wait. Here we go – you have a giant concert-hall spaceship, shoot that up, then leave it out there floating. then you have linkups, little shuttles to bring people up and down. We’ll call it Perry’s Place. I wonder how long it would take you to get into space? Probably a day. Anyway, lots of windows. No, the whole thing should be Plexiglas.
What if there’s an oxygen leak?
A leak? I freak out every time I have to drive through those underwater tunnels n New York, but you can’t worry about those things. I mean, if your number’s up, it’s up.
Is there any one philosophy that runs through both Porno and Lollapalooza?
Yeah, it’s nosh. You just nibble, take a little of everything. You can never run out of ideas, because God will have more there for you. If you look around, there’s always inspiration, you draw it from everywhere. Remember how those pain-wheel things they used to have at carnivals? It spins, stops and there’s your painting. That’s what I want to do with entertainment. I just try to put on a show that’s got the feel and vibe of a circus and the punch and power of rock and the beauty and eroticism of a French movie. You go there, and you just feel like you’ve been fucked.
You say that you want to leave your Venice, Calif., place, but you’ve only been there six months.
There’s no spiritual vibe there. It needs to be cleaned out, sage needs to be burned there. It’s not holy, it’s hellish. It seems everywhere I go, I always end up having to leave, and it’s like “Damn, I ruined that place, too.” Something’s following me around.
Does the evil or good of any particular house effect your creativity?
No, I just pray the ideas keep coming. But you never know when you could dry up, although here’s what I’ve figured out: If you concentrate, it has to come. There’s also what you call genius inspiration – blind-cold luck – and then drugs to help bring it on.
Can it be done just as effectively without drugs?
I actually prefer not to record high, but my pitch is truer, and I’m more powerful when I’m not high. People say, “Trade it in, you’ve got more vibe and attitude when you’re high,” but I don’t know if that’s real. If I need drugs to do everything, than I suck, really. I go back and forth. I don’t want to be a traitor to the drug world, and I don’t want to be an asshole stupid idiot to the real world. [Points to the sky] Hey, look, a blue jay!
What does that mean?
It means someone has died. It’s a good thing, though. It doesn’t scare me. It means they’ve gone to heaven. Everything is a sign. Like yesterday, there was a trail of ants in my house, and I was doing bad.
So how’re things right now?
Terrific. I’m gonna buy this house. I just got here last night and have decided I love it.