Perry Farrell

Today is the 39th birthday of Perry Farrell, co-founder of the Lollapalooza

festival and frontman for Jane's Addiction and Porno for Pyros. Farrell

is a seminal figure in the early '90s alt-rock explosion, having fronted

a band that bridged the gap between '80 heavy metal and '90s grunge-rock

and having co-founded a yearly multi-genre music festival that has spawned a legion of imitators.

Born Perry Bernstein in Queens, N.Y., the son of a jeweler father and an

artist mother, Farrell moved with his father to Miami following his

mother's suicide. He dropped out of college after a nervous breakdown and

soon began lip-synching and dancing in nightclubs, adopting the name Perry

Farrell as a play on the word "peripheral." His first band, a goth-rock

outfit called Psi Com, formed in 1981 but broke up in 1985, having released

only one album. Farrell was back in the swing of things within a year,

taking his place as the frontman of Jane's Addiction. With Dave Navarro on

guitar, Eric Avery on bass and Steve Perkins on drums, Jane's Addiction

took L.A.'s art-rock scene by storm, mixing the

energy of rockers such as Led Zeppelin with sounds and lyrics that bordered

on the psychedelic. Their self-titled debut, which contained such songs as

"Pigs In Zen" and a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil,"

came out in 1987, and the major labels came calling soon thereafter. The

group signed with Warner Bros. and released Nothing's Shocking in

1988, a classic alt-rock album that spawned such songs as "Jane Says,"

"Ocean Size" and "Up The Beach." The album was a hit on the college

charts and found the group being played on the only mainstream outlet that

would play them in those days, heavy-metal radio.

Jane's Addiction's introduction to the mainstream came with 1990's

Ritual De Lo Habitual. Fueled by the popularity of the album's

first single, "Been Caught Stealing," the album peaked at #19 on the

charts. The always flamboyant and quotable Farrell became

a mouth that the media turned to when looking for insight into Generation X, and the band's popularity continued to soar. Farrell co-founded the

Lollapalooza festival a year later, with Jane's Addiction headlining a day-long show that also featured Butthole Surfers, Rollins Band, Nine Inch

Nails, Body Count, Living Colour and Siouxsie and the Banshees. Jane's

Addiction disbanded at the conclusion of the tour, with Farrell and Perkins

moving on to form Porno for Pyros. Their self-titled debut was released in

1993 and spawned a minor hit with "Pets." The group played the Woodstock

'94 festival the next year and began trying to put together the ENIT

festival to limited success a few years later. Good God's Urge,

released in 1996, was a more acoustic and mystical affair than Farrell's

earlier work, but audiences and critics apparently enjoyed his electric

work much better. Late last year, Jane's Addiction "relapsed" to promote

an odds-and-sods collection entitled Kettle Whistle and toured the

U.S. with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea taking the place of Eric Avery.

Other birthdays: Vangelis, 55; Bobby Kimball (Toto), 51;

Bernard Georges (Throwing Muses), 33; and John Popper (Blues Traveler), 31.