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Farrell's Pet Cause

As he tries to launch a social movement that encourages people to address global warming and throw parties at the same time, Perry Farrell, usually chipper and optimistic in interviews, doesn't mince words about the gravity of the crisis the human race now finds itself in. New Times caught up with the former Jane's Addiction frontman and Lollapalooza founder, who is on tour with his new band, Satellite Party, to discuss the environment.

New Times: How did your recent meeting with Tony Blair go?

Perry Farrell: Well . . . I mean, look: Tony Blair looks at me like, 'What is this guy gonna do? He's a musician.' And I look at Tony Blair like, 'Well, he's a politician,' which means, 'What is he gonna really do?' Politicians cater to big business. But Tony Blair was leaving office at that time. I feel like, today, politicians as private citizens can actually accomplish maybe more than they can as politicians. He can move on now and — who knows? — maybe really do something for the environment. It was an initial meeting. You make a friend and, hopefully, you make one for a long time, if not a whole lifetime. I look forward to running into him again sometime down the line and working together with him on something. I can tell you one thing: He liked the music. He's a big music fan. That did a lot to make us at least aware of each other and, perhaps, look to connecting again in the future.

NT: You've got to invite him to one of your parties.

Farrell: I definitely will. There may be an opportunity I can't even talk about right now, but I might be seeing him in a few months in a foreign country. I'm looking at this list of people who support this certain cause, and his name is on it. So, you never know.

NT: You're working with the organization Global Cool. If you look at films like An Inconvenient Truth, The 11th Hour, or Manufactured Landscapes, there's this underlying suggestion that we can do something to reverse the course we're on. You feel that way as well. But it's really daunting also. How do you recommend that the average person maintain optimism when we're contributing to the problem?

Farrell: I have almost two lives. I have a Lollapalooza life where I put together this big festival that generates kind of a lot of money. In that regard, I can do a lot. Lollapalooza is a completely carbon-neutral festival. We used biodiesel generators and recyclable products for all our vendors. At the same time, here I am with Satellite Party, and I can't afford a biodiesel bus, for example, because I'm playing small clubs. But there's a zillion things you can do on a small level. You know, the world needs to really come together and think about this, but the major, major things that we can all do, I think, have to come from boycotts and putting your money into corporations and stocks that promote the environment and taking money away from people that destroy and harm it.

NT: There's definitely a paradigm shift happening. Everybody's talking about this, but at the same time, it's terrifying, too.

Farrell: It is terrifying because it's critical-mass time. We'll either bust apart at the seams or do something major and amazing. It's like a game. Let's say we're a sports team: It's the two-minute drill. It's exciting because we have a chance to win a very close game. But we also have the potential to lose this game. That's not gonna feel so good, and it can happen very easily.

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Saby Reyes-Kulkarni