re/VIEW: Perry Farrell
A fresh look at a longtime favorite
This fascinating discussion with Perry Farrell, the founder of Lollapalooza, covers his career and his spiritual life.
When the L.A.-based alternative rock band Jane’s Addiction climbed to fame in the late ’80s with the album Nothing’s Shocking, few people would have suspected that behind the alien stare of the group’s singer—a dreadlocked eccentric named Perry Farrell—was the brain of a religious scholar. “I’ve studied comparative religion my whole life: black magic, Book of Mormon, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism,” says Farrell, now 60. “I can sit down with anybody of any religion and enjoy an afternoon conversing.”
In 1991, Farrell created Lollapalooza, the massive music festival that still takes place each year. “We get invitations from around the world [to bring Lollapalooza to new areas], and it really stokes the fire in my heart to continue on, to keep on living, to see the world improve, refine, and thrive,” Farrell states. “The more requests we get, the better the signs are that we are drawing heaven down to earth. I think that is what our purpose in life really is: We’re trying to create a Garden of Eden so that God will return to us.”
It was in 1993, when Farrell was at the worst point in his well-publicized drug addiction, that he had what he calls “a vast visitation of energy.”
“Most people would write me off as a kook or a drug addict, but it happened nonetheless,” he says. “I have come to believe that whether people like it or not, if there’s a spiritual awakening in you, you should never let people make you feel embarrassed or stupid about it.”
By Farrell’s account, he was contacted by a group of spirits. These included his mother, who took her own life when he was a young boy. “The first thing my mother said to me was, ‘We’re very proud of you,’” he recalls. “Why would they be very proud of me when I was at my worst as a drug addict? Does that mean that they don’t care I’m a drug addict, or does that mean that they might know the future more?
“Through meditating about it, as I do every day, really, I started to think that when we die, we remain conscious souls,” he continues. “When I asked my mother if I could speak with God, she said I couldn’t. I said I wanted to help her get out of the place she was in, because she told me she was in a place where she traveled around the world, and she was very tired. It really hurt me, and I wanted to help her. I asked her, ‘Who knows, then? Who can I speak with? How can I help you?’ She said, ‘Your soul knows.’ So, that’s what I want to impart to you. Your soul knows.”
Farrell’s newest output is one of his most explicitly spiritual works. Released in June 2019, Kind Heaven finds him collaborating with producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T. Rex) and a diverse team of musicians that includes Farrell’s wife, Etty. The album is designed to be the soundtrack for a Las Vegas attraction of the same name. Set to debut in 2020, this immersive theme park will use sound, film, and holograms to simulate the streets and sacred temples of Nepal, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Thailand.
The project is based on Farrell’s belief that 2020 will kick off the Second Messianic Era as foretold in the prophecies of Abrahamic religions. “Heaven is supposed to descend back on earth, and we will live with God in our hearts; we will know God first and foremost, without any middlemen,” he explains. “I’m just having a good time combining the prophecy and what I see today to create the story of Kind Heaven.”
“Let’s All Pray for This World,” Kind Heaven’s closing track, offers a welcome message of hope in chaotic times. “Opening prayers to cleanse the mind,” Farrell sings. “Reach out, find out we are all divine. Pray for safety in the night. Aim your vessel toward the guiding light.”
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“Know that you’re important, because you have a vote. We are this beautiful world orchestra, and you’re [part of it], even if you’re the triangle player. You’re trying to make a beautiful orchestral song and draw heaven down. Even if they hand you the triangle, pick it up and just wait your turn.”