As career milestones go, Perry Farrell’s alt-rocking Jane’s Addiction can claim a unique one: Having the jagged “Superhero” played in heavy rotation, eight years straight, as the opening theme song of “Entourage” on HBO, at the personal request of executive producer Mark Wahlberg. “But this shows you how ridiculous the music industry is right now,” says the iconoclastic Farrell, 53, who conceived the Lollapalooza festival in 1991 as a farewell to a then-disbanding Jane’s, but is still going strong with an ethereal new album “The Great Escape Artist.” “You’ve got a show on television where they’re playing this song around the clock, every day. And Capitol Records doesn’t think to release it as a single. That shows you my life.”
Only recently has the festival mindset caught on in America. You were way ahead of your time with Lollapalooza, eh? You’re right. I would say the music industry is on its way down, close to crumbled. And never have I had such success with Lollapalooza, and it shows that people still love and need music as an escape. A kid will save up their money now, because they know that as a bang for their buck, they’ll get to see 150 of their favorite groups, go out there, socialize, the whole mating-call thing happens. You can’t download that.
So who is “The Great Escape Artist”? It seems like the walls are caving in on us, and almost 24 hours a day we’re accountable to things, basically tied to our cellphones and our computers. It seems like we have more obligations and less time to escape. But at the same time, the very same apparatus that would enslave you is the very same one you can go into and escape if you wanted to — you can go into these sex rooms, these chat rooms or connect to other people with a video game. So I guess the “escape artist” is anybody who has an escape plan.
You’ve escaped into spinoff groups like Porno For Pyros and Satellite Party over the years. How have you remained so vital? You ever see that video game “Japanese Ninja”? You’re running across the water, stepping on these wobbly pebbles, hoping that you don’t get dunked. That’s what it feels like to be a musician today. Every time I put out a new record on a new label, that label would crash. Just evaporate off the West Coast. I’m lucky that I have no ulcer. I’m lucky I have a sense of humor. Because if I didn’t, I might’ve shot myself in the head, just wondering, “Why, Lord? Why?”
IF YOU GO
Live 105's BFD 2012
With Jane’s Addiction, Garbage, Silversun Pickups, Cake, Naked and Famous, Fun, Pennywise, Angels & Airwaves, Neon Trees, Grouplove, Of Monsters and Men, Fallen in Reverse, Geographer and many more
Where: Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View
When: 11 a.m. June 2
Tickets: $35 to $75
Contact: (800) 745-3000, www.livenation.com