CHICAGO — On Lollapalooza eve, festival founder Perry Farrell hosted a happy hour at Double A lounge in River North. In addition to working on the theater production “Kind Heaven,” his side job is being the face of Dobel Tequila — and he even attempted shaking a cocktail or two.
“I’m not a bartender,” Farrell joked. “But I’m a good drinker.”
Here, a Q&A with the Jane’s Addiction front man:
WWD: Lollapalooza is one of the biggest festivals around. Did you ever imagine it would get this big?
Perry Farrell: “It’s the biggest in America. It may end up being the biggest in the world, but I’m looking for the best in the world. I love seeing people in slightly different walks of life and they’re there and everyone is enjoying each other’s company. The only way to do that to me is to be global or international.”
WWD: Where do you see its role now?
P.F.: “I love it right where it is, because it’s about to go to college and get an education. Everyone recognizes its class and attention to detail and the great music it has. We’re putting it in places where it can thrive — Chicago being the very top of that list. It’s pretty much our mantelpiece. They come from around the world now. It’s our 10th year in Chicago. Chicago itself is integral to the experience. Lovely weather. You can walk around the city and it’s clean and gorgeous. There’s flowers planted on the sidewalks. And I love all the walks of life.”
WWD: How did you get the idea to start it?
P.F.: “It was 1991, I was just out of my mind and flying by the seat of [my] pants. Everything I did, it was like when you’re putting a room together when you move into a new apartment. That’s what Lollapalooza felt like to me. It was the last Jane’s tour, so I had nothing to lose. It was just, ‘This is what I want.’ My booking agents, Marc Geiger and William Morris, said to me, ‘Do whatever you want. It’s your last tour. Have a good time. Enjoy yourself.’ So I said, ‘OK, I want a helicopter; I want a hot-air balloon; I want an art gallery; I want seven bands instead of two or one.’ That’s how it happened. It happened because they gave me a license to just be artistic and creative.”
WWD: Why are you playing Riot Fest this year and not Lollapalooza?
P.F.: “There are so many bands that they really needed their time to break. They’re younger people and they want to get out in an audience in front of 40,000 or 60,000. I’ve done it; I don’t want to be considered the house band. If I’m going to do it, I want it to be very special so I don’t do it a lot. I’ll do it in different incarnations.”
WWD: Who are you really excited to see perform this year?
P.F.: “I’m excited to see Skrillex. I hear he’s carrying six trucks. He’s doing things with 3-D video mapping I’m excited to see what he’s got going because I have some other projects that I might use him for.”