An Ode to the Edible King, Perry Farrell

“Me and Mike Pence will pray for you.” – Perry Farrell
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson/Hewitt Silva-Live Nation

I want what Perry Farrell is smoking. More accurately, what edibles the Jane’s Addiction frontman is consuming. “I’m down to drink good wine and do weed,” he explained. “Well, I can’t smoke or it fucks up my voice, so I do edibles. (Dramatic Pause) EDIBLES!” At The Hollywood Bowl, Farrell spouted unconventional and conventional gold during song breaks. Even when music wasn’t filling up the bowl, Farrell didn’t let the show stop for a second.

It was the final stop for The Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction. There’d been a few bumps in the tour, but it all ended with splendid rock and a whole lot of Perry Farrell quotes we couldn’t get enough of hearing, pondering, and wondering, how can we get high with Perry Farrell one day?

“Let’s Go Motherfuckers!” – Mr. Farrell 

The two iconic rock groups delivered more than trips down nostalgia lane together. Yes, “Jane Says” or “Tonight, Tonight” ignited a flood of feel-good memories of bright summer afternoons or lazy school days. However, even the band’s classics are gifts that keep on giving in the present. The two bands gave their fans more fond memories that’ll hit them like soft bricks when their songs hit the radio or, more accurately, Spotify in the future. 

Poppy set the tone for the night well—a mixture of rock and comedy. She’s got a lovely voice, especially when she screams, “Fuck the world, it’ll just fuck you back!” She followed that song with a brief silence and a pleasant, soft-spoken, “Thank you,” which had me howling. She just radiates rock—an artist just doing her own thing.

Jane”s Addiction / Photo Credit: Randall Michelson/Hewitt Silva-Live Nation

“Wine, weed, can’t stop, can’t stop.” – You Know Who

Once Poppy left the stage, it was Jane’s Addiction time. Queens of the Stone Age’s guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen filled in for Dave Navarro, while original bassist Eric Avery was welcomed back with love and Stephen Perkins kept the energy high on drums. Everyone on stage was playing at an 11, but Farrell, he’s just from another planet, isn’t he? 

Farrell was happy to be back home in Hollywood. The city was equally as delighted to have him back. He is a showman of his own making, although his infectious joy on stage did call David Lee Roth. Just an energizer bunny with a graceful voice to compliment his high-wired movements. 

He is almost always on the move. 

Now, I could go on and on about everything Farrell said in between songs, because really, what other frontman says during a show at the Hollywood Bowl: “It’s a good day when you have a fucking hard-on.” The memorable quotes kept on coming, but his voice was just as entertaining. 

Farrell’s voice always had a hypnotic effect.There’s a gentleness to it, kind of an innocence that can clash with or compliment his more hard-edged songs in a way that’s rich in dynamicism. That voice along with the rest of the band can send you down a nice lazy river with “Summertime Rolls,” which I really wish they played, or a rollercoaster of rock, like “Three Days.” It’s a voice and band that knows how to tell a story. 

On the last night of the tour, Perry’s voice sounded practiced, not tired. He was in lockstep with the band. The group kept the electricity on full blast. It was a show. “What goes good with wine?” Farrell asked. “Sex.” He shared this around the time Ferell’s collaborator, wife, and vocalist, the one and only Etty Lau Farrell, danced and rocked back and forth on a plastic horse. The presentation and dancers match some of Jane’s sexually charged lyrics, but there’s also romance there! It was sweet watching a couple create art together and go nuts for one another. 

By the end of Jane’s Addiction loaded one-hour set, Farrell had a bottle of wine in hand and didn’t want to leave from the look of it. The band behind one of the all-time great rock albums Nothing’s Shocking was warmly embraced. As they deserved.

“You guys like spanking? Come see me after the show.” – P.F.

Billy Corgan reminded us all that the band is now about 35 years old. There was a collective sense of, holy shit, it’s been that long? After over three decades, Corgan keeps exploring new pathways with The Smashing Pumpkins. The Pumpkins recently released ATUM – Act 1, part one of a three-part rock opera that is… divisive. Instead of delivering more of the same, why not polarize, right? Flaws and all, at least the Pumpkins are still exploring.

The Smashing Pumpkins / Photo Credit: Randall Michelson/Hewitt Silva-Live Nation

The band isn’t completely focused on the past when they play live, either, but of course, songs from Gish, Siamese Dream, and Mellon Collie And the Infinite Sadness completely rock and sometimes even wreck—in a good way—the crowd. Together, Corgan and guitarist James Iha, who could barely move on stage and yet was so charismatic, do a version of “Tonight, Tonight” on two acoustic guitars that, I’ll say, was moving. 

The Pumpkins are now a well-oiled machine live. The setlists are tight and flow organically. The band knows when to go quiet or, often in spectacular fashion, go big. Whenever Corgan’s voice wailed and Jimmy Chamberlin gracefully bashed the shit out of his drums, the crowd was on their feet. Such a treat watching Chamberlin at work, as well as seeing Corgan, Chamberlin, and Iha together after years apart. It’s special, and Corgan recognized that when he thanked the crowd. 

One Last Word from Perry Farrell

If it’s not obvious by now, I want to walk down the corridors of this man’s mind with a joint and, just in case for protection, a wiffleball bat. Half-kidding aside, Farrell wasn’t all jokes when he wasn’t singing. In fact, at one point he showed more support for the women of Iran than far too many public officials in the United States. Farrell for 2024, am I right?  

“Our hearts go out to them,” Ferell said. “I just want to let you all know, if you look at the world as a paradox, this is a sign. A sign that the Iranian people they’re not going to take that shit anymore. They’re going to go to the streets. One day, I hope we can meet at God’s mountain and celebrate life and humanity.” 

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