Partying with the stars.
At first glance, Perry Ferrell’s Satellite Party’s debut album “Ultra Payloaded” looks destined for the cutout bins. From the cheesy cover, nonsensical title, contrived sci-fi story line and covers of Rare Earth and the Bee Gees, you’d think Ferrell has finally become irrelevant. If you do, you’ll miss one of the most danceable rock cds this side of Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Stadium Arcadium”, some scorching guitar work from Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme) and big time collaborations with Thievery Corporation, New Order, Fergie and members of the aforementioned Peppers.
It’s the perfect cross pollination of Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros and with the wide swings in it’s variety of instrumentation, Ferrell has developed a kind of outer space version of another of his creations, Lollapalooza. His voice has never whined so perfectly above spaced out guitar jams from Bettencourt and on one track, “Hard Life Easy”, Chili Pepper’s John Frusciante. The synths pulse and throb while guest bassists Flea and Peter Hook of New Order add thrashing bottom end. Ferrell reworks a song he did with Thievery Corporation and it becomes “The Solutionists.” He borrows heavily from Rare Earth on “Only Love, Let’s Celebrate” and the Bee Gees’ “Lonely Days” on “Mr. Sunshine.” The Satellite String Orchestra seamlessly fills out many of the arrangements but brings down the album’s only clunker, an Extreme-like power ballad called “Awesome.”
They save the best for last as guest vocalist Jim Morrison sings the final song, “Woman in the Window.” It’s a never heard performance that Ferrell got special permission from The Door’s lead singer’s estate to use. As it plays out over the band’s psychedelic backing Jim, “the heavenly host,” gives the albums its theme: “Just try to stop us, we’re going to love.”
Listen for songs from “Ultra Payloaded” from Perry Ferrell’s Satellite Party all this week on Paul Shugrue’s new music show, “Out of the Box” on Hampton Roads Public Radio 89.5 WHRV-FM and on-demand at www.whrv.org/outofthebox.