Jane's Addiction's Perry Farrell reveals how he pissed off David Bowie not once, but twice

Bowie and Perry Farrell
(Image credit: Lester Cohen/WireImage)

Perry Farrell has revealed how he managed to piss off his hero David Bowie not once, but twice.

Jane's Addiction's frontman has long been a Bowie fan - prior to launching his first band, Psi Com, Farrell actually performed as a Bowie impersonator - which made him all the more embarrassed when he realised he'd upset the great man.

Farrell shared the story of his accidental transgressions in conversation with US broadcaster Howard Stern on May 11, during an interview to promote the upcoming Smashing Pumpkins/Jane's Addiction arena tour, scheduled for later this year. 

"It was not like I was talking to him and said something wrong," Farrell clarifies at the outset, revealing that the first incident occurred when he accidentally left his Blackberry phone in a taxi en route to an airport. "The cab driver took it, and went through it, and saw David Bowie's name, so he called him up: 'Yo, David, it's me!' The guy kept calling him, and I had to finally say, 'Listen man, it wasn't me, I'm really sorry that this guy is bothering you, I left my phone in the cab.' So he forgave me, right?"

"But this was also, the same time, the beginning of the internet," Farrell continues. "I didn't know what a blind 'CC' copy was, on an email, so these people reached out to me to see if I would help them save this lake, and I got really excited about it, and I got all altruistic, like I'm gonna help the world here, and I thought, 'I'm gonna see if David wants to do this too!'

"So I sent him this thing and said, 'David, you've gotta help me save the fish in Ontario!'... but what I didn't realise was that there was 300 people on the [email] chain. So again, all these people started hitting him up, and again, he was like [miffed], 'Perry, what are you doing?' I said, 'I don't know what I'm doing, I'm sorry!'"

Farrell goes on to reveal that he hoped to apologise to Bowie in person when he was asked to perform at a 2016 concert Bowie was organising with producer Tony Visconti, but that he never got the opportunity to do so, as Bowie passed away in January that year, two weeks before the scheduled show.

In the same interview, Billy Corgan pays his own tribute to Bowie.

Corgan says, "The thing about David that's so special from the alternative music side is, he could have been Frank Sinatra, he could have been one of those guys, but he chose to just be a weirdo like us. He's like our Frank Sinatra, he's our weirdo."

Watch the interview clip below:

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.