It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly makes Perry Farrell so fascinating. It could be the fact that he fronts Jane’s Addiction, one of the first alt rock bands to gain mainstream attention in the early 90’s, or his work with the mega festival, Lollapalooza, which he dreamed up after tripping on acid. Or the fact that he is the only person to have ever performed at all twelve Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festivals to date? Whatever it is, for over two decades Parry Farrell has been changing the course of music. After releasing Jane’s Addiction’s forth studio album, The Great Escape Artist, the band is set to kick off on an intimate tour across North America that could revolutionize the way concertgoers experience live music.
Playboy.com: The Theatre of the Escapists was quite the project for you to develop. What makes this concert so unique?
Farrell: You title it as a concert but what I'm trying to do is push it as far as I can towards theatre. Obviously the main attraction will be Jane's Addiction, but instead of playing in amphitheaters across America, we're going into smaller venues to give more of an intimate tour. I like to think of the venues as also a part of the performance. The architecture and interior decoration that you see in these places really compliments The Great Escape Artists which has a 1920's surrealist with a twist of Warhol pop feel to it.
So Jane's Addiction will be doing the concert while immersive theatre that sometimes juts out or engulfs the audience is going on. The performers are at times going to go out into the crowd and the crowd is at times going to come onto the stage.
Playboy.com: I can safely say I haven't heard of anything like this before. It seems as if every song is a different piece of theatre or, say, an act?
Farrell: In a way, yeah. You know if nothing else it will be music mixed with film but at the very most it will be music mixed with film mixed with theatre performance.
Playboy.com: With a band that has a discography of such iconic songs, how hard is it going to be to create the perfect playlist when you go on such a tour?
Farrell: We have to play our classic songs especially for the people who have never seen us. It may be the first and, you never know, the only time they will ever get to see Jane's Addiction. They would want to see our classic songs and we love to perform them so we're bringing those songs with us into The Theatre of the Escapists.
Playboy.com: Creating the perfect atmosphere for music lovers seems to be something you strive for.
Farrell: To be honest with you, there is an off-Broadway Theatre show in New York called Sleep No More. They rented out a couple of floors of a hotel and you would go down to this place with a group of people where you’re all encouraged to walk anywhere you want in the five or so stories of the place. Every room is dressed as some mysterious thing and throughout the entire time you’re there you’re just completely immersed in this theatre. Every once in a while somebody would come running through and do some kind of performance. I loved the experience of immersive theatre, the dancing and the incredibly gorgeous settings but there was no group, no source, and no musical element there. So I came home really inspired by that and really wanted to bring immersive theatre to music and to bring it to the public.