The girl with the most cake
Last updated 9/8/2021 at 2:44pm | View PDF
Actual texts from my high school senior on the day Lollapalooza tickets went on sale back in May.
10:51 a.m.: Do.Not.Forget.Lolla.Tickets.Get.On.The.Website.At.11:58.And.Be.Ready.
11:22 a.m.: DON'T FORGET
11:53 a.m.: I WILL PAY U BACK (*author's note – still waiting)
12:10 p.m.: She called to confirm the purchase, and I gave her a, "Doh, I knew there was something I forgot to do" line (which, due to my prior track record, she gave no credence).
I provided her some quick history. Lollapalooza started in 1991 as a touring festival through 1997. It wasn't until 2005 when it became today's yearly four-day event at Grant Park. Twenty-six years earlier and many dollars cheaper, I attended the 1995 show in Phoenix featuring Sonic Youth, Hole, Pavement, Beck and Cypress Hill, among others. In a then post-Nirvana America, some say that tour marked the indie/alternative scene's peak - and the beginning of its decline.
Sonic Youth headlined, but Hole's Courtney Love, at the height of her celebrity drama, stole the show. Hole guitarist Eric Erlandson referenced that '95 Lolla tour where Courtney allegedly punched a fellow musician in the face in a 2015 Washington Post article.
"That was only 14 months after Kurt's death, and a year after (Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff's) death. We were still in recovery mode. Courtney was obviously stirring up a lot of stuff and going through a lot of stuff emotionally. ... They say after a suicide, it doesn't really hit you 'till one to two years after, so there was still a lot of craziness coming out.
"Courtney's erratic ... but she was somebody who was reasonable most of the time," he added later. "Her violence was more onstage."
My artistic preferences favor the notoriously erratic versus the workmanlike professional. Would you rather own a painting from the Dutch dude that cut off his ear or a Bob Ross landscape? Same goes for train wreck rock stars like Courtney Love and Amy Winehouse. Teetering on the edge of chaos, their unpredictable sets were either deeply flawed or engaging, but never boring.
That sweltering desert summer night in '95, Courtney Love, guitar slung low and stiletto planted high on a speaker monitor, ripped through memorable performances of "Violet," "Doll Parts" and "Miss World." Recently, I Spotified a revisit of these songs, and my daughter's approval speaks to how well Hole's music has aged.
Give them a loud listen and prove me wrong. In late October, the Go-Go's will be in Cleveland, but my vote for a female fronted rock band worthy of RRHOF induction would go to Hole instead.
Post Lollapalooza '21, I asked my daughter who stole the show. Tyler, The Creator, who this Boomer (technically Gen X'er) had never heard of, was her no hesitation answer.
She shared her Tyler playlist that I've been playing at the office (behind closed doors since 52/54 songs came with the "explicit" tag) and I'm liking it. Sharing music with your kid simultaneously makes you feel young (my daughter is taking me to the Tyler, The Creator show at the UC next February) and old (I may be the only person born in the '60s in attendance).
- Bret Conway of Hinsdale is a contributing columnist.
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