Throwback Thursday: My Audition with Perry Farrell

Auditions are never easy and rarely fun. I haven’t done a lot of them in my 30+ year career, but the few that I did do were a bit ridiculous and, in retrospect, kind of funny.  So, in the spirit of Throwback Thursday, I thought I’d tell you about one particular audition I had, back in the mid 90’s, for Perry Farrell, of Jane’s Addiction.  If I’m not mistaken, Tim Commerford of Rage Against the Machine recommended me to someone from Perry’s “camp,” and they later called to give me the details. I was told to show up at Cole Rehearsal Studios (now LA Rehearsal) in Hollywood with my bass and they’d give me further instructions once I got there.

I went in having no idea what I’d be doing or which songs I’d have to learn on the spot. The only thing I’d heard was that Perry Farrell was doing some kind of dance music, so there was a chance I’d have to double the synthesizer lines instead of actually playing bass. I was already used to doubling synth lines for hip hop gigs, but I didn’t know how this would work out for dance music. So basically, I went in almost completely blind.

I arrived at the studio early so I could get a read on what I was supposed to do, then walked in the building and asked the girl running the auditions what was going on. First, she lets me know that Perry Farrell wasn’t there, nor was he coming later. She then tells me that I wouldn’t be learning any music at all, so I think to myself, “Great! This shouldn’t be as hard as I thought!” That feeling of relief quickly subsided when she revealed that I would instead go into a room where Perry’s music would blast through a PA, and I’d have to dance in front of video cameras while wearing my bass, while they recorded my “performance.” Perry would watch the footage later, then pick out his favorite bassist.

I was shocked and started to laugh while this woman continued giving me instructions, as if there was nothing amiss. I responded, “You gotta be kidding me!” and quickly turned around to bounce. She seemed surprised and asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to audition?” so I reassured her that I was not their guy.

I can’t remember who got the gig, because I didn’t really care enough to follow up. Even though I was pretty broke at the time, I would have rather gotten a root canal then put myself through that kind of audition. I'm all for playing different types of music, but you have to be true to yourself!

And with that, I wish you all a happy Throwback Thursday!