Perry Farrell could hardly wait to unveil the lineup he had assembled for Lollapalooza 2008 ... but, then again, he sort of wishes it didn't get leaked, either.
So when MTV News caught up with him on Friday — just hours after Chicago Sun-Times music critic (and frequent Farrell adversary) Jim DeRogatis filed a story that spilled the beans on the majority of the Lolla 2008 lineup — Farrell was decidedly less than thrilled.
"My initial reaction? Well ... this guy, he's a stinker, so it was kind of like having a skunk at the party. So what do we do? Well, I think we should make him the stinky mascot. ... That's what I'm going to do. ... Pepe LePew," he hissed. "It doesn't bother me that much. Why? Because I'm really proud of the lineup. It's like saying, 'He just leaked some good news about you!' So what? [We'll just make him] the evil mascot, man. I'm telling you, we've got to just embrace him. Embrace the darkness."
Totally. So understandably, Farrell would much rather talk about the largess of the lineup for this year's Lollapalooza, to be held once again in Chicago's Grant Park on August 1-3. He's done quite the job, for sure, snagging huge names to top the bill (Radiohead, Kanye West, Nine Inch Nails and the re-formed Rage Against the Machine) and a solid corps of acts for the undercard (Gnarls Barkley, the Raconteurs, Wilco). Plus, he's even landed a fresh batch of much-buzzed bands too (the Cool Kids, MGMT, Black Kids). All in all, more than 90 acts have been confirmed for Lolla 2008, including Mark Ronson, Bloc Party, Cat Power, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Girl Talk, Spank Rock, the National, the reunited Love and Rockets, Grizzly Bear and Santogold. (For the full lineup, check out our Newsroom blog.) And the leaker wasn't able to spoil the whole lineup: Farrell told us that he's just nabbed Lupe Fiasco for the bill.
So how did he do it? Why, through the power of conversation.
"Kanye contacted us, and he said, 'Man, I want to do it again!' And so we had some discussions, and we got him on the bill," Farrell said. "And I talk to [Rage guitarist] Tom Morello constantly. He asked me to sing a song on a record that he's doing, and so while we were sitting there eating dinner on the break, I said, 'What do you think about playing my fest?' and he didn't say no. ... And then two days later it got serious, and now it's on."
He's also having a conversation — or, in corporate speak, "discussions" — with Apple, whom he's hoping to team up with to create unique, iTunes-only content, like, say, musical collaborations between acts on the Lolla bill. (A spokesperson for Apple would only tell MTV News that the two sides have had preliminary discussions, adding that nothing has been formalized just yet.) Still, Farrell's plenty pumped to talk about it.
"This year, we have an amazing concept going. For the first time ever, we're going to be working with iTunes, and we're going to be creating unique content, so we're going to have collaborations — people collaborating on songs — and then put them on iTunes, and then they'll perform them at Lollapalooza for a once-in-a-lifetime experience," he said. "These will be recorded in a studio, but of course because we can share files online, we don't have to be in the same place at the same time — we have finishing studios all over the world for the artists to finish the piece off. We'll start to talk with Radiohead about putting them with someone they'd like to collaborate with, tell them how it's going to go down."
And though his enthusiasm was tempered slightly by the lineup leak, Farrell is still counting the days until the gates open at Grant Park. And clearly, so are the fans. Three-day "Early Bird" passes ($175) have already sold out, and the $190 advance passes are going quickly. And if you're still on the fence about shelling out almost 200 bucks for a festival, well, please allow Farrell to convince you (hint: organic food is involved).
"So a three-day pass costs $200. I would say that if you were to go see Radiohead, you could probably buy a pretty good ticket to go see Radiohead for $200," he said. "Well, you'll get to see Radiohead and 119 other groups for three days, with organic foods, and it's a completely interactive festival that's carbon-neutral. That's pretty amazing."
Planning on going to Lollapalooza or any other big music fests this year? Be sure to join the You R Here community, where you can upload your concert photos, videos and reviews. Go there now to check out coverage of last year's Lollapalooza.