Add another chapter to Perry Farrell's adulterous romance with rock 'n' roll. The Jane's Addiction lead man has always deviated stylistically from the other big names in alternative music, but his recent foray into ambient electronic composition and DJ-ing may be his least shocking, yet most bizarre.
For Farrell, who founded the Lollapalooza festival (one of alt-rock's more notable contributions to pop culture in the early '90s), the alteration from flamboyant lead singer to introverted DJ has been as much a journey of self-discovery, as it has been a musical metamorphosis.
Like many aging pop stars (Madonna being the most notable), Farrell has made no secret of his recent rediscovery of spirituality and the fact that he has wholeheartedly embraced his Jewish roots. In fact, Farrell reverted to using his Hebrew name, Peretz, and began channeling a different version of the same creative spirit that made "Jane Says" and "Been Caught Stealing" (two of the landmark rock songs of the '90s) into a decidedly more eccentric solo album titled Song Yet to Be Sung.
The album features guest appearances from band mates Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins, but the hypnotic, electronic grooves laid down by DJ Peretz would never be confused for Jane's Addiction.
Indeed, the new distinction between Perry's brand of rock and the music of his spiritually inclined alter ego, Peretz, couldn't be starker. Where Perry was known for his rock 'n' roll indiscretions and unabashedly exhibitionist tendencies (such as performing entire shows naked), Peretz seems content to let his new brand of party and club music take center stage.
And yet, even with a fan base that stretches across his entire 15-year career with Jane's Addiction (including the 2003 release of STRAYS), Farrell new sound may, in some cases, fall on different, if not indifferent, ears. The Middle Eastern flavor, derived from his recent immersion into mystical Judaism and Kabala, and the pulsating dance beats that evoke house and trance music, may provide a formidable culture shock for Jane's Addiction fans with a closet full of Lollapalooza T-shirts, but Farrell seems willing to take the chance.
In fact, the move toward the turntables and electronic music may be a way for the aging rock star to make a less desperate transition into middle age where most rock stars (think Rolling Stones) cling fitfully to their sagging, larger-than-life images. Rather than try to keep the now-irrelevant Lollapalooza Festival on life support, Peretz has scaled back instead with a modernized version of the ancient Jewish celebration of "jubilee" -- a kind of party in the name of unity and debt forgiveness. As he says on his Web site, n9negroup.com, the jubilee spirit goes hand in hand with music. And art, for him, is now a reflection of belief.
So where does this leave Perry Farrell?
"I never felt like I died. I just felt as though I was learning," he says on his Web site, at www.n9negroup.com. Maybe being rock 'n' roll is, as the clich goes, a process and not a destination.
On Sunday, Feb. 1, you can judge for yourself, when DJ Peretz, will step behind the decks at 32 Bleu to present a "Magical Mystery Tour of Electronica."
-- Joe Kuzma
Peretz w/ special guest Alex Graham
32 Bleu, 32 S. Tejon St.
Sunday, Feb. 1 at 9 p.m.
$15; Call 955-5664 www.32Bleu.com