With Lollapalooza now ensconced on two continents, Perry Farrell has global domination — or something like it — in mind for the festival he helped launch as a touring attraction back in 1991.
“What I like to do these days with Lollapalooza is the big dream, and the big dream is to be international and that is happening,” Farrell, who’s preparing for this year’s U.S. Lollapalooza Aug. 1-3 in Chicago’s Grant Park, tells Billboard. “One of the things that we can do is we can start to go global. It’s keeping it modern just by the fact that it’s starting to be a globetrotter. Now it has a strange, unique life and identity to it. It’s in Chile and Argentina and Brazil. We do excellent work. We’re excellent craftsmen, all of us, everybody on the team C3 (Presents), William Morris, the promoters (in South America). They’re just really great. They’re excited about their position. They put in a lot of time, and the results speak for themselves.”
Farrell adds that “Canada is one place we’re looking at for sure” for future Lollapaloozas. “It’s just a matter of having faith in an idea and staying with the faith it’s gonna work. So far it’s worked fantastic in all the Americas.” He acknowledges that any expansion into Europe means competing in an a crowded market of established festivals, but Farrell sounds like he’s up for that challenge. “A lot of people are now doing festivals, that’s true, he notes. “But I’m excited about going to and working with these countries and getting slightly different characteristics to the (Lollapaloozas) we do there. It’s almost like having offspring from different cultures, so that makes it go.”
Farrell — who’s become a celebrity endorser for Dobel tequila, which he’s bringing into the mix in Chicago — says he prefers to stay focused on Lollapalooza’s big picture these days rather than operational details. “I’m not even that interested anymore with the booking of it, because I know it’s in great shape,” he says. “I’m not even that interested in the production of it because I know it’s in great shape there, too.” But he still feels that music remains the driving force of the events, amidst all of the lifestyle amenities: “You really have to pick the right music ’cause the right music is going to dictate the people that come to the party and make it a certain type of party. It’s a balance, so the booking agents do a great job of loading it up with just the right talent. You get to select what I think is the best new, young musicians in the world and then the legends that have lasted that are still important and vital, and that’s the recipe.”
Farrell, of course, still fronts a vital concern in Jane’s Addiction, which headlined the initial Lollapalooza tour and is on the road this year celebrating the 25th (actually 26th) anniversary of the group’s debut album “Nothing’s Shocking” by playing it in its entirety at select shows. “I still don’t think that it’s been fully recognized, but that’s okay,” Farrell says. “I mean, 25 years on and still there’s mystery there, so that’s kind of nice and maybe it will last my whole lifetime. Is it still valid and relevant? Yeah, it still is. I don’t think people have fully given it its credit. So we’re doing a little victory lap for ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ this year.”
Jane’s will play the album during August in England as well as in Norway before returning to the U.S. for the Sunset Strip Music Festival on September 20 in West Hollywood, Calif., and The Shindig on September 27 in Baltimore. “I want to just kind of have fun with Jane’s now,” Farrell says. “I don’t want to kill myself with it. Victory laps should be easy and exciting and no stress, so that’s what this year is for Jane’s. But…there’s a lot of good stuff going on down the pike.” That includes his long talked-about Kind Of Heaven project, a live performance concept that he’s still keeping under wraps but hopes to unveil within the next year and a half.
“I can’t talk too much about it,” Farrell allows. “I only just say this about it — I’m as excited about this project as I’ve ever been about anything in my life. It is a brand new experience in live entertainment. the taproot of it is music, and it is bringing people together in brand new ways, brand new experiences for people if they would shut down their computer and their, well, they can bring their cell phone to the experience. I’ve been working on that the last few years and we’re moving forward and progressing all the time.”