Perry Farrell’s New Album Was Inspired by Astral Projection and Trump as the Antichrist
Recently, Perry Farrell had a dream in which he was flying through the sky over a war-torn neighborhood. Between shelled-out buildings, he found a young woman pick-pocketing dead bodies. She came to a man with his guts spilled onto the ground and pulled out his fat, brown wallet. She nabbed it and took it back to a curious alley called Walking Street. The place was crawling with wild characters. Prostitutes walked up and down the sidewalk while gangsters, hustlers, and drug dealers milled about restaurants and nightclubs. It was seedy and dangerous and bizarre. Farrell loved it, and soon, perhaps, you will, too—the dream went on to inspire his forthcoming solo album Kind Heaven.
It’s the Jane’s Addiction frontman’s first solo LP in nearly 20 years, a collaborative project that blends doo-wop, angsty rock, sensual grooves, and electronic musings into a politically-charged assortment of love songs to the modern human. Frequent David Bowie collaborator Tony Visconti co-produced the album, which features collaborations with Jane’s Addiction bassist Christ Chaney, The Cars’ Elliot Easton, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins, Dhani Harrison and more.
Farrell recently released the fiery sing-along “Pirate Punk Politician” as the album’s lead single, a song inspired by a what-if scenario with President Donald Trump as would-be antichrist. Today, he dropped “Machine Girl,” the second song to be revealed from the nine-track album. He will also be embarking on a summer tour of America to showcase the new album before taking the show over to Europe for a short run of dates. Spin caught up with Farrell, who just turned 60, by phone, where he was, in his words, positively “spinning.”
It’s been more than a decade since you did a solo album. Were you just waiting until you had something to say?
You know what was going on was, I had Jane’s Addiction. We were climbing up to 25 years together.
Congratulations, that’s quite a milestone.
Thank you. I really wanted to honor that, and Lollapalooza as well. So, I did it, 25 years came and went, and after that, I started getting some really great ideas and wanted to start to develop this project that became titled Kind Heaven. I just loved it. I mean, I love Jane’s Addiction, and I’m always going to be in Jane’s Addiction. We’re all brothers for life, but for now, I just really am enthusiastic. I’m so enthused to be building Kind Heaven and the community behind Kind Heaven; the building in Las Vegas that’s Kind Heaven and the orchestra that’s Kind Heaven. It’s really been fun. I feel like I’m a reef, a beautiful reef that fish can swim upon and green coral can grow out of it. I’m having the time of my life.
What was the genesis of what has become Kind Heaven? Was there a moment or did it come to you in a dream?
Yeah, it really did come to me in a dream. I believe completely in astral projection. I also believe that a spirit can come and talk to you when you’re sleeping. I completely believe that in that moment, more subtle energies are allowed to mingle. We can learn things.
I wrote it down, and I went back to thinking “did I astrally project? Was I spoken to by a spirit.” I thought about prophecies and prophets, and then I thought about the Prophet Isaiah and how he got his information about a returning Messiah. I put all those things together, and well, he hasn’t returned yet, right? But what if he was living now or in the future? He’d have to deal with the CIA and the FBI. Putin is out there. Trump is out there. How wild would it be if the Messiah came around now? All of that made me laugh, and I got excited by it, and I thought like “oh man, I can’t help myself. I just gotta do this.” I wrote “Pirate Punk Politician” about the Antichrist. The Antichrist is supposed to be a guy who’s really popular. Okay, I’m looking around, I wanna play artist here for a minute. Artists always reflect life, right? So, off we go, “Pirate Punk Politician.”
You’ve called it a protest song, but it’s also playful.
Well, that’s my way. If you were to be a lecturer or a speaker, there’s a lot of things you could do and say. You want to get your point across, and I’ve found through my 35-plus years of entertaining people that you can you can shut people down really quickly. Their ears can close up really quickly if you try to just project at them things that you’re thinking. I find that one of the things that keeps ears open is humor and excitement and music. That goes down their ear holes. I want to smile right here, because I have guys that tweet me.
Yeah, I was looking at your Twitter conversation with a guy named Brian.
Yeah! He says to me, “Perry, is this is going to be an anti-Trump rally if I go [to your show?]” I said “Brian, I’m not that focused on the guy. I am focused on getting the world right, though. So I’m not gonna shut my mouth about things, but really this show is artistic and sensual. It’s about explosiveness, and just trying to shatter the mundane.” And he writes back, “I guess I’m going to keep looking for a QAnon safe house,” like he’s not going to show up. I really want the guy to come.
I get frustrated when people think the answer to someone’s differing opinion is to just never talk to them about it. That’s not how you grow.
I was looking at the guy’s Twitter feed right, and he’s sitting out in the forest. The funny thing is, he and I could start out by just talking about how much we love being out in the forest and the fields, because I love being in the forest and the fields. So I hope that guy shows up. If he showed up, he would be taking a bold step.
That’s one way you can help the divide.
You can’t do it by pointing a finger and saying “bad guys.” What you can do though is, you can change the bad guys. That’s what I think, and I don’t want to call them “bad guys.” They’re ignorant. You can inform the ignorant, and you’ve got to leave them dignity, because you’re not looking to destroy people and their hearts. That’s why I don’t talk bad about people. It’s very bad for their soul, and everyone’s a child of God. Nobody’s perfect. So I kind of laugh along with this guy. I bet he’s gonna come to the show.
You should just tweet at him, be like, “Dude, I’ve got two tickets for you at box office.”
I do! I’m going to tell him “if you come to your show, you’re coming backstage and we’ll have a drink.”
What should we know about this show?
When I first started, I would play these punk rock places, and they were some of the best shows I’ve ever done. You’ve got the intimacy of the audience right there, you can mess around and get better at your craft. Now, we’ve got these handhelds, and they’re an amazing addition to the world and mankind. I do love the internet. It’s the ultimate message sender and receiver. There’s never been anything like it. Now nobody can stop us. We can talk, you and I, we’re talking straight and shooting the breeze, man. We’re saying exactly what we want to say and no one can get in that way. The old guys, whatever they think they’re going to do, no no, we’re going to uncover you brother. You can play ball, get right, die and rest in peace, or you can go to hell!
It’s awesome, but I still maintain nothing beats face to face communication; kissing, hugging, and living it out now. We’re starting very humbly in small venues doing residences. I hearken back not just to the punk rock days, but even the 1960s when the Beatles were playing at the Rathskeller. How much fun must that have been? I bet they were all single and met girls. They were going out and taking a piss in the alley and comin’ back to have a drink and practice a new song. That is is fertility right there, and I want some of that fertility for this orchestra.
No two show are ever the same the same anyway, but when it happens in the same room a few times, that will create its own energy, too. You can live inside that space and get to know it, but still have different moments.
The bigger concept is community. I want to bring global community, but the way to do it is you start at the City Winery, starting really small. Don’t worry about it, because we have the handholds. Those guys will go home, and it will start to reverberate, and if it’s good, it’ll get louder and louder. That’s the only way it can happen. You cannot cut the line. And, I just turned 60. It’s not easy to be an entertainer. it’s not easy to be a singer, with your back and your knees and your throat.
And I’ve seen you. You don’t just stand there sweetly. You’ve thrown yourself around for some decades.
If I wanted to just cash in, I could have done that years ago. I just can’t get myself to do it. It doesn’t even interest me.
You worked with a lot of collaborators. Are they there with you?
The main collaborator was Chris Chaney, my bassist with Jane’s Addiction. He was on all the tracks. I got back in touch with Tony Visconti. It’s the first record ever to be mixed in Atmos 7.2 surround sound. It’s the latest mixing technology that they use for movie theaters. Because I have the place in Las Vegas, I don’t want to be a flat stereo mix in there, because I have 100,000-square-feet. I went and remixed here with this fellow Mark Binder. We mixed it at Dolby studios, remixed the record in surround sound for Las Vegas. In the meantime, there’s no venues in the world other than movie theaters right now on Dolby studios, and maybe three other locations that are for like dance music.
Let’s talk more about “Pirate Punk Politician.”
This is just spilling out from my heart. I love to to hear about great ideas, possibilities, the real deal and what really went down. I dig Rachel Maddow. I think she’s awesome, and Lawrence O’Donnell, that follows her. They make me feel better, like everybody’s not being fooled. I don’t have that much time. I get home, put it on for an hour or two, and then I’m going to take a shower and get in bed with my girl. Tell me that Adam Schiff is on it. Tell me that people aren’t getting away with destroying Democracy. I wanted to say my piece, because I love those guys, but I wanted to also chime in and say “All right, now I’m going to change bad guys, too, but I’m going to do it slightly differently. You guys do it through your intellect and education, I can do it by singing and dancing, and I can make it fun.”
The first song on the album is “Red White And Blue (Cheerfulness).” It’s really a tip and a nod to the modern reporter and newscaster. It used to be we had that great old uncle, Walter Cronkite with the handlebar mustache. He was such a great guy, you believed everything he told you. We were square, right? But today, it’s on, man. You have Rachel Maddow, and she’s just this incredible intellect dropping knowledge on us, but she does it with a smile, right? Because they didn’t get away with this. It’s almost like, do you believe the nerve of this guy?
Other people have nerves, too.
Yeah, we have the nerve, too, and guess what; we all see also the populace. Now all we have to do is have the organization, and we are set.