With the 2010 edition of Lollapalooza kicking off Friday (August 6), MTV News decided to dive deep into our archives and dig up the greatest/ weirdest/ scariest/ downright rocking-est moments in the fest’s rather epic history. We’re calling it “Lollapalooza Lookback,” and we think it’s a pretty fitting tribute to the granddaddy of American music festivals. We’ve already tackled Pearl Jam’s 1992 afternoon set , Nine Inch Nails’ stage-trashing heroics from 1991 , Ice Cube’s “buck wild” goals in ’92 and Korn’s rather, uh, interesting take on Lolla ’97 . And to cap things off, we’re digging deep, for a chat with a band that’s darn-near synonymous with Lollapalooza: Soundgarden.
1992: Soundgarden Stand on the Verge of Greatness
Aside from Perry Farrell’s various musical machinations (and, since it’s his fest, he can pretty much do whatever he wants), no band has played Lollapalooza as many times as Soundgarden. They’ve main-staged on three different tours, first in 1992 (when they were sandwiched between the Jesus and Mary Chain and Ice Cube), then again in 1996 (on the so-called “Rockapalooza” jaunt) and — now re-formed — they’ll close down 2010 Lolla on Sunday night.
It sort of makes sense. After all, Soundgarden’s career has eerily shadowed Lolla’s rise and fall. They both broke big in the early/mid ’90s, both took extended hiatuses in ’97, and both staged remarkable resurrections in the 21st century (of course, Soundgarden waited until 2010 to do so). Along with, say, Pearl Jam or Jane’s Addiction, Soundgarden are a living bridge between Lolla’s scrappy past and its shiny future, which is why they’re the perfect headliners for this year’s fest.
Of course, way back in 1992, they were just another band standing on the verge of greatness. They had just released their seminal Badmotorfinger album and were still two years away from unleashing Superunknown, which would make them internationally famous. So when MTV News spoke with them at the kickoff that year, they were still sort of trying to figure out where they belong. To them, Lollapalooza was just another opportunity to check out some bands they really dug.
“I’d like to come and see Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E.,” guitarist Kim Thayil said. “I like the bill on the first stage. It’s great. We have [played with a lot of them before], and I’m sure we’ll continue to play with the type of bands that you’ll show on ['120 Minutes'] or the type of bands you’ll show on ‘Headbangers Ball.’ ”
And, in a way, Thayil’s comments were strangely prescient. In 1996, Soundgarden played Lolla with the likes of Metallica and the Ramones. This year, they share the bill with Lady Gaga and the Strokes. All of which goes to show you that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Sort of like Lollapalooza itself.
Lollapalooza 2010 gets under way Friday — make sure to check out MTV News’ Lollapalooza Live, streaming Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5 p.m., right here on MTV.com.