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Thursday, August 07, 2008


I used to be hip, and it was only for a brief spate of time between 1988 and 1994, during the Alternative era. Before that I was either playing catch up, discovering bands after the fact, or keeping current with decidedly un-hip Metal bands. Since '94, I've graduated from being hip to a spot just above. I'm waist.

I've always held the term 'Alternative' somewhat in contempt, as I do most labels. I understand that the Industry needs to pigeonhole bands, and the public likes a shared identity, but to me good Rock music is just good Rock music.

The touchstone for the Alternative generation was Lollapalooza. Of course it's impossible to declare a year zero, but Perry Farrell can be given credit for providing an ethos, a mission statement, for that era, Rocks swan song.

During the mid-eighties I gave up on Metal for obvious reasons. I delved into the past, exploring the back catalogs of classic bands like the Stones and Pink Floyd, as well as discovering what I had missed in the Punk arena. I became a U2 fan, a REM fan, a Replacements fan, a Chili Peppers fan, and a Jane's Addiction fan. I was going Alternative, as were many others.

As the term implies, Alternative was a catch-all for anything that wasn't easily classifiable. If it wasn't Metal, Classic Rock, or Pop, it was Alternative. The crazy thing was, as Perry Farrell instinctively knew, that there was a large portion of the populace that were not limiting their tastes to any one genre. The kids were into Rock, Punk, Hip-Hop, and all points in between.

The line-up for the first Lollapalooza pretty much sums it all up:

The Boredoms
Rollins Band
Nine Inch Nails
Butthole Surfers
Living Color
Ice T
Siouxie and the Banshees
Jane's Addiction

Eclectic, no?

I remember a number of people at that show talking up a band called Nirvana, and passing along the 'Bleach' record.

We all know what happened next.

Where did you see Lollapalooza? I saw it in NJ and mine was a little different. Someone in Siouxsie and the Banshees was sick, so they didn't play that day. And of course I wanted to see them more than most. Body Count played, but I'm sure you just forgot that since you mentioned Ice T. I don't think we had The Boredoms.
We both saw it at Waterloo Village, but you saw the first day when Siouxie was sick, and I saw the second which she showed up for.
I saw it in Illinois without the Boredoms too. Jane's played an incredible set, pretty much flawless, but it seemed like everyone was there to see Nine Inch Nails.
I would have liked to see the Butthole Surfers then.. kinda right before most people knew anything about them (Subsequent "popularity" due to Lollapalooza, no doubt) Gibbys cool.
Funny, the inverse relationship between popularity and credibility.
Such a great band..
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