Dave Thompson's biography of Perry Farrell traces the performer's life from his childhood in Flushing, Queens to becoming front man for the band Jane's Addiction to his founding of the touring festival, Lollapalooza. Perry Farrell: The Saga of a Hypester sheds light on a man who remains a mystery to all but a few.
For Perry Farrell fans who have read all the articles about him, there isn't any new ground covered in Thompson's account. There are no true confessions here: no pulling back the curtain to find out who the real wizard is. Thompson (Red Hot Chili Peppers) chronicles Farrell's life from his boyhood in Flushing, Queens, to his adolescence in Miami and onward to Los Angeles. This is where he forms his first band, Psi Com, before finding his first fame, with Jane's Addiction. It's obvious that Thompson considers Farrell a man of genius, but the evidence offered only points to a genius for self-promotion. We never get inside Farrell's head, or even close. Thompson has pieced together things that may or may not be true, because Farrell is the first to admit he's lied in interviews. Thompson can't really do any more than scratch the surface of so secretive and ambiguous a person. Even after finishing Thompson's biography, Perry Farrell remains a mystery: which, if the book is any indication, is the way Farrell wants it. Photos not seen by PW.