November 2004 (cover: U2) page 70
“Ask Blender”Q: Is it true that Perry Farrell’s brainchild, Lollapalooza, was actually stolen from Ian Astbury of the Cult and the Doors? Chad Welch, Via E-mail A: Yes, Farrell’s big idea wasn’t all his own. The concept for a cross-genre alt-festival was the brainchild of current Doors frontman, Ian Astbury. In 1990, he put together a diverse bill, including Ice-T, Queen Latifah, Soundgarden, Iggy Pop, the Indigo Girls, the Cramps, and the Charlatans, to raise money for Native-American-related causes.
The Cult leader was inspired by a chance meeting while on a 1989 tour with Metallica in North Dakota. After watching a Native American man fix his truck, he was invited to his house for dinner. During an animated conversation, he found his new friend was about to study resource management at college to help purify his tribe’s drinking water. “Then he asked me what I was doing for my community,” Astbury recalled. “I could only answer ‘Fuck all’ and that came as a bad shock to me….I began to plan the Gathering of the Tribes, which was definitely the inspiration for Lollapalooza.”
The California shows took place on October 6th at the Shoreline Amphitheatre near San Fransisco and the following day at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa. the event was influential but problematic: Astbury believes he lost $50,000 of his own money, and many of the performances lackluster.
Relations between the acts were also strained. At one point, Ice-T paraded ostentatiously around the aisles, distracting the crowd from a set by feminist folkies the Indigo Girls. Singer Amy Ray responded angrily, telling the audience, “The purpose to be here is … not to cause a scene.”
Ice-T claimed he hadn’t intended to cause any disrespect, and this unlikely beef never went any further. [Blender]