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Farrell gets set for Edgefest action

Frontman talks about the Jane's Addiction pre-show ritual

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

By Cole Garner Hill / Special contributor

Is an introduction really necessary for Perry Farrell? Even if you aren't immediately familiar with the singer for Jane's Addiction, chances are you already know him well.

Farrell's presence in rock music over the last three decades cannot be overstated. His role in founding the heralded Lollapalooza music festival. The eight times a day "Jane Says" blasts from the Edge's radio signal, forcing everyone from frat boys to reformed rockers to wax nostalgic. The theme song to Entourage.

All of these things are possible because of Farrell's hyena-in-a-top-hat charisma. His vision for his music – and as a fan of music in general – has helped shape many of the ways we experience rock today.

Before Jane's Addiction plays Edgefest, we caught up with Farrell by phone after his performance at Coachella. He reflected on how his approach to music has changed over the years, dished on Jane's Addiction's new record, and explained how he'll prepare to take the stage Saturday. Cole Garner Hill

Q: What's up? How are you today?

Farrell: I'm great. Just driving back from playing Coachella. I'm on my way to record at the studio. This drive is crazy, man.

Q: How far are you into recording the new record?

Farrell: We're far enough that if we all just get in there and put work in, we're going to complete a really, really nice album. We're going to do highlights. We have much of the ground already covered. Now we'll do guitar strokes, solos. I'll probably listen to it and throw some highs on my parts where I hear them, things like that. I'd say it will be completely done in a month and a half at the longest.

Q: How do these sessions compare to your past with Jane's Addiction? The band hasn't recorded together in almost a decade.

Farrell: I am enjoying it. I'm not sure if it's because I've finally gotten old enough to calm down, and just let things kind of unfold or what. In the past, there was a lot more friction. This time the process is much different in that we're working with software and computers and synthesizers as well as our own instruments. The other difference is that now we write by "mail," whereas there wasn't even that option back in those days. I don't know which is better. ... I can tell you one thing: It sure takes a lot less time out of my day. Though, I actually put more time into my writing now than I ever did. I record more hours than I ever did before now, too.

For example, I'll take three days to finish a song. But I'll spend three days in the studio just singing. Whereas, back then, I'd ride in on my motorcycle, get high in the bathroom, sing for, what? An hour or two. Then I'd take off. Then someone else would take care of everything for me. But now I record in my home, I have my own engineer, I'll start at 1 p.m., until my kids have to go to sleep so they can't make any more noise.

What I like especially about what I'm doing today, you know, bands, they used to have a little bit of an attitude back in the mid-'80s. This is where music was at. Bass player? Plays on every part. Drum player? Plays on every part. Guitar player? Plays on every part. Whereas now, because of the software and people producing whole tracks all by themselves, there was no ego anywhere. Songs were written where there were complete dropouts and they felt good. And that is a little, little sliver of the evolution of songwriting.

So, now that we're working with these modern things, our attitude has had to change. Where you're not playing on this part, and that's OK – it's for the greater good of the song. This is what we're doing today. That's what I look forward to, and what I like about writing this record.

Q: You just got done touring South America with Jane's Addiction. What was that like?

Farrell: Honestly, the people were probably some of the most enthusiastic we've ever played for. Fifty-thousand-plus in Chile ... the Peruvians just went nuts. They were great audiences.

Q: Were you playing the new album, or have you finished writing everything?

Farrell: We play one song, which is the one that we released online, "End to the Lies." We performed that; it felt really good. We look to do maybe another one, but we want to do it at a certain pace. ... I know people are there to hear our classics. And the record will come out, like, Aug. 23, so we'll have another song out to the public in another month or so.

Q: You've been touring and playing festivals for years now. Do you have any special preshow rituals before shows like Edgefest?

Farrell: Sure. Wanna hear it?

Q: ... Yes.

Farrell: OK. And this is true. I get in a room with some really hot, hot women, and we kind of start disrobing. And it's true, we do, we change in front of each other. And we start drinking. And laughing, and looking at each other in the mirror. And touching. That's my ritual. Then I go to another room, and I start singing with my guys. We just start jamming. So, by the time I go out on stage, I'm all hot and bothered and I feel like rocking. That's it. The whole time I'm drinking. [Laughs.]

Q: What's your ritual like when you play shows with your wife?

Farrell: It's the same, except there's just one hot lady.

EDGEFEST 21

Featuring Weezer, Jane's Addiction, Social Distortion, Seether, Neon Trees, Panic at the Disco, the Airborne Toxic Event and more. Saturday at 11 a.m. at Pizza Hut Park. 9200 World Cup Way, Frisco. $35.88-$78.16. 1-800-745-3000. ticketmaster.com.

Weezer Q&A

Click here for an interview with Rivers Cuomo.

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