Perry Farrell is an American singer-songwriter and musician, best known as the frontman for the alternative rock band Jane's Addiction. Farrell created the touring festival Lollapalooza as a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction in 1991; it has since evolved into an annual destination festival. Farrell continues to produce Lollapalooza with partners William Morris Agency and C3 Presents. Farrell has also led the alternative rock groups Porno for Pyros and Satellite Party. He is the only person who has performed at every Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival to date.
Born as Peretz Bernstein in Queens, New York City, New York, he spent his grade-school years in Woodmere, Long Island, and moved to Miami, Florida, with his family during his teens. His father was a jeweler and his mother was an artist who committed suicide when Farrell was three. Following graduation from high school, Farrell moved to California in the early 1980s to live as a surfer.
After playing in various LA bands, Farrell finally found success with Jane's Addiction. The band made its name in mid-1980s LA by building up a rabid fan base with legendary, high-energy shows in small LA rock clubs. Jane's Addiction, prior to their first break-up, released three albums: Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual. A B-sides album from the Ritual sessions, titled Live and Rare was released in Japan. Late in 1991, Jane's Addiction broke up due to internal tensions over differing ideologies mostly centering on drug use, notably Farrell's severe addiction to heroin. In 1997, Jane's Addiction reformed for a brief reunion tour with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass guitar.
Following the break-up of Jane's Addiction, Farrell formed Porno for Pyros with former bandmate Stephen Perkins as well as newcomers Peter DiStefano on guitar and Martyn LeNoble on bass. Together they released two albums, Porno for Pyros and Good God's Urge.
Farrell has sometimes been credited with changing the fortunes of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Following the festival's disastrous first year in 1999, the event was not held in 2000. In 2001, a decision was made to organize the festival again, but just a few months before the festival was set to occur, there was still no headlining group. Farrell, who was friends with the festival's organizers, decided to reunite Jane's Addiction for the 2001 event, which helped draw large crowds and allowed the festival to yield a profit.
Farrell again toured with Jane's Addiction in 2001 and 2003. In 2003, Jane's Addiction released an album, Strays. It quickly became one of their best selling records and was certified gold in the USA and silver in UK. They toured extensively in North America and Europe and brought back Lollapalooza for the first time since 1997, as well as performing at the Big Day Out festivals in Australia and New Zealand. Internal struggles saw the band split up again in early 2004.
In 2006, Farrell performed at Purimpalooza, which celebrates the Jewish holiday of Purim. It was a concert for all ages and presented different Jewish musical groups. It took place in Ruby Skye in San Francisco, and featured bands including Moshav, Chutzpah, and Matisyahu.
Farrell is famously an adherent to the Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah, along with Madonna and other celebrities. In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine in June 2018, Farrell professed his admiration for the writings and teachings of the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Farrell refers to Schneerson as one of his heroes and states that he is
in love with studying the Rabbi's works, clarifying that he
often studies all through the night.