Perry Farrell Remembers Adam Yauch - Rolling Stone
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Perry Farrell Remembers Adam Yauch

‘He was such a part of our party vernacular – our musical vernacular’

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Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction performs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images

I first saw the Beastie Boys when they came to L.A. and played an afterhours party. A couple of the guys from Jane’s Addction, Dave [Navarro] and Stephen [Perkins], were with me. They were playing instruments in those days – they were kind of punk rock, and they had a reputation when they came out. We checked them out, and then of course when they exploded I remembered them.

They came up together with us, in a way. They were on the East Coast and we were on the West Coast, but they came from Brooklyn – my family comes out of Brooklyn, too, and they’re Jewish, so that was another connection. I saw they were wild, but they had a side to them that was very intelligent and I wanted to befriend them. So we had them play Lollapalooza in ’94, which might have been, before Chicago, the best Lollapalooza we’d ever done. They went out on the road with George Clinton and the Smashing Pumpkins were there, too, and it was definitely one of the highlight years of Lollapalooza.

Through the years, I kept in touch with Adam. When they did the Tibetan Freedom Concert, they invited me to perform with Porno for Pyros and again, I got to know them a little bit better. I remember we would have these relay races through the hallways in the hotels with just our friends, and a bottle of wine as the baton. It endeared me to him and to the Beastie Boys. I kind of felt like they were family, but once removed.

When I saw Mike D a couple of weeks ago, I asked about Adam and how he was. And people don’t know this, but I’d been trying to connect with Adam to get him to come out and do another Lollapalooza. After a while, I just stopped hearing back from him. And of course they hadn’t performed since 2009, so not hearing anything wasn’t good news. I would ask him about on the fringes, and I didn’t really hear great things.

The last time I saw Adam, they invited me to play Rock the Vote to get Obama elected. I brought out Etty [Lau Farrell, Perry’s wife] and we performed as PerryEtty. That’s a happy memory where we hung out for a really good cause. From there, I would text him every once in a while, see how he was feeling. He would text me really kind of sad things. He would say, “We’re giving up our studio. If you want to use our studio, you can use it.” I hung out with Tim Leary before he died, and he was giving away his clothing and stuff like that. It’s really a very sad feeling; it’s kind of like an estate sale.

He’s probably in a great place, and I’m thinking about him and everybody’s prayers are with him. But there has to be a period of mourning, and now is the time.

We have a show tonight in Alabama, and I’m just kind of thinking to myself, “How do I bring that Jane’s Addiction party to these people when I feel so sad right now?” They were the Beastie Boys – they were all about life and fun and partying. Their songs are played when people want to get up and get out and have energy, and this band is now silent. He was a good guy – that’s the thing that kind of strikes a really bad chord. He was a really good guy trying to help people, and all about being innocent and wild, and even immature if you want to be. He was really such a part of our party vernacular – our musical vernacular. That’s where it gets me. It’s a very gray day.

As told to Steve Baltin


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