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it was the summer of '96 & i was into the second year of my first ever job. i was fortunate enough to be working with one of my best friends at the same job when he told me about Lolla & how we should really go. i said cool, make it happen. i remember we were at work on a saturday & he happened to have the keys to the office so he went upstairs & called ticketmaster to see when the next show was coming to our area. tennessee. cool. now to come up with the way to pay for the $45 tickets via credit card. hmmmm, who did i know with a credit card? ah, my sister who just happen to carry american express, never leave home without it! after begging her to order the tickets for me & my buddy, oh yeah & my girlfriend at the time, a few other of my pals heard about it & wanted in too. hah, this next part is so insane, my parents heard us overtalking about & decided they wanted to make the trek as well. my parents were really cool, so i didn't mind. so after seven tickets being purchased on the ol' AE, we were ready. my buddies left the day before the show & decided to camp there overnight (it was in the middle of a HUGE cornfield down by the river with train tracks nearby). my parents & my girlfriend set out the night before the event. we drove for probably about close to 170 miles to get there only to find out you couldn't get a room anywhere. so we slept in my parents chrysler new yorker in a gas station parking lot. i remember when we got there it was so damn HOT! after meeting up with my buddies, we rode around the campgrounds in his nissan sentra with the hatchback popped open stopping at various campsites to partake of a cold beverage or two. then it was showtime. it was the greatest thing i ever witnessed. they stopped my buddy at the gate with loaded down pockets full of beer. the guard told him to either dump them or chug 'em. he chose the latter. after making our way inside & witnessing rancid open followed by the screaming trees, i remember telling my girlfriend how hot it was. we decided to find a place to sit down & the last thing i remember is passing out while the Buddhist monks performed on stage. i was awakened by the sound of Joey Ramone wailing "I Wanted to Be Sedated". but the messed up thing was my girlfriend was no longer beside me. oh well. i ventured out to see if i could find her & in the process ran into my parents by the gigantic inflatable gorilla entrance. my mom was sitting leaned up against it & my step-dad was passed out, a victim of far too many cold ones. it was hot & my mom was worried about my step dad's long hair making him hotter so i pulled out my pocket knife & cut a small section of the string the gorilla was tied down with & made us some pony tail holders to tie our hair back with. so as the evening progressed with performances by Rage & Soundgarden,(it finally rained as Cornell performed an acoustic of "Black Hole Sun"), i gradually made my way to THREE ROWS UP FROM THE FRONT just in time for the Metallica performance. it was everything i thought it would be. my chest felt like it was going to cave in as they done sound check on Larrs' drumset. then they opened with "Stone Cold Crazy" & the rest was totally insane from that point on. i remember some guy in a wheelchair being body surfed right into the waiting hands of security at the front of the stage. after about an hour & a half into the performance i decided i should probably go find my girlfriend. i remember making my way away from the stage through the crowd & thinking that this really sucked. i had her to blame. right in the middle of " Nothing Else Matters". so when i finally did find her, finding my parents first, i asked where the hell she'd been! she never would tell me, so i was naturally pissed. it was a very distant 175 mile ride back home. it wasn't until the next day at work my buddy who's idea it was to go told me what happened. he arrived back at the campsite where my other buddy had parked his nissan. he said that he tried to open the car door but it was locked. meanwhile after about 15 to 20 minutes worth of protest, he & my girlfriend finally emerged from the car, sweaty, red-faced, & out of breath. oh well, they were together for almost two years & while he was at army basic training she wrote him a letter telling him she was dumping his ass. now she's married to an ex-felon & has sixty million kids. i myself am making my plans for my next Lollapalooza memory.
My experience with Lollapalooza started with a radio contest I entered with a local radio station in Dallas, Texas about a week before the start of Lollapalooza'96. I had to listen to Q102 and make a list of every Metallica, Soundgarden and Jonny Polonsky song they played over the three day weekend of June 14, 15 & 16. The song list ended up being 25 in number, with many repeats from Metallica and Soundgarden. The completed list was to be faxed to the radio station and 25 entries were to be chosen from all the correct ones. One entry from the 25 was to be chosen for a trip on the whole Lollapalooza tour. Q102 advertised this contest as "The LollaPolonsky Tour" because aMERICAN Recordings was sponsoring this promotion. One winner from Dallas was going to be put on a tour bus and travel with Lollapalooza for the entire summer. I decided to take my list, and with the aid of my trusty PC, make the song list with graphics of a tour bus and assorted fonts for the text. After several drafts, I settled on one with the help of my wife and faxed my completed entry to the radio station before the deadline, which was June 18, with a winner to be picked on June 19. I listened to Q102 (which is the home of Redbeard-you know, the DJ that does that "In The Studio" program with interviews of bands and how they made a particular album, all the next week, waiting for the announcement of the winner, but none was made. I figured that they already had their winner and went on to listen to my other favorite stations to play the "radio game" and win other goodies. A guy named John Volmar from Q102 called me on June 20 and told me I was the winner of the whole tour! I was sweating bullets and shaking a bit while I was trying to write down details of who was going to call, along with an unconfirmed rumor that MTV was possibly interested in doing a piece on what would soon be known as The Party Coach. Redbeard remembered me from when I won a contest in 1994, when I rode on Pink Floyd’s "The Division Belle Airship", which is another story in itself. Actually, Redbeard remembered me as "the guy with the painted leather jacket". That, coupled with the fact that I went to the trouble to make my entry look good with my PC, is what won the contest for me. Later that same day, Chris Payne from aMERICAN Recordings also called to congratulate me on winning and to confirm that a 31 year old married man would be able to tour with Lollapalooza 1996 for the approximately seven weeks scheduled thus far. It turned out that I would be the oldest member of the Party Coach Crew, not counting our illustrious road-worn coach driver. After signing a standard release form from aMERICAN Recordings on June 24, I was issued a plane ticket later that day to Kansas City, Missouri for June 26. Our chaperon from aMERICAN Recordings, Devin Klein also called me that day to touch base and answer any questions I had. The only question I had was, "can I bring my video camera?" to which Devin replied, "I’m bringing mine". So I was off on tour with Lollapalooza with hotel accommodations on "off" days and a per diem of $30.00 for meals, all on aMERICAN’s pocketbook! Devin also confirmed that myself and 5 other "winners" would all be flown into Kansas City to start the tour together. That gave me less than 48 hours to get my shit together, pack and say goodbye to my wife and child at the airport. I ran around on June 25 like the proverbial headless chicken-shopping for video tapes, batteries for my CD player, a new travel bag and an extra battery for my video camera. So I filled up my bags with concert t-shirts, jeans and shorts. How does one pack for a over a month on the road? My seat on the plane was two rows from the rear of the jet. One of my carry-on bags had to be flight attendant crammed into the overhead bin. After landing in Kansas City after noon, I just waited until everyone cleared off the plane before attempting to extricate my bag from the bin. On the receiving end, Devin was anxiously wondering if I had missed the flight, because of the long pause between the last passenger and me, the real last passenger and the first to arrive out of the other 5 "winners". After meeting Devin for the first time in person, we gathered our bags and proceeded outside the airport and waited-for what, I wasn’t quite sure at the time. It was then that I had a sneaking suspicion that our official aMERICAN chaperon was winging this as much as I was. We set our bags down on the median that separated the loading zone lane from main thoroughfare. I saw that Devin was digging through his big duffel, a monstrosity that I could probably fit my two bags and video camera bag into with room to spare. I remembered that Devin, in our phone conversation two days ago said he was bringing his video camera, so I got the draw on him, extricated my camera from the video bag and started my documentation of the beginnings of....LOLLAPALOOZA 1996 TOUR-THE REAL BOOTLEG-THE PARTY COACH TAPES. (That's just the first title that came into my grey cells.) Originally, I purchased 8 Sony T160 tapes, figuring that would be enough to last for the whole tour. I ended up with 14 tapes and over 25 hours of footage from the tour. Devin and I took a little tape of standing outside the Kansas City International Airport-waiting. Devin asked around to some of the drivers lounging about the cab stand to see how much it would cost to get us from the airport to our first hotel. After a few quotes from some of the commercial cab drivers, we ran across a bootleg cabbie. Devin liked the price, and off we went across the state line into Kansas. After Devin paid the bootleg cabbie, dressed in torn blue jeans and a black t-shirt with a Jaegermeister decal, peeling around the edges, we laid eyes on the tour bus that we would be living in for the next 38 days. The bus was metallic green in color with chrome trim accents. On the front of the coach was one of those rotating signs, with banners on an acrylic roll. Tommy Clifton, our driver for the tour, appropriately picked a sign that announced we were riding on the "Party Coach". When Katy Lang started touring many moons ago, this was her first bus. After determining from the hotel staff that we would not be able to even get into a room until after 3:00 pm, it was decided that we would head back to the Kansas City Airport in our freshly cleaned and fueled Party Coach and pick up the rest of the "winners". From around 2:00 pm on, we went from terminal to terminal and picked up Rene’ Smith from St. Louis, John Larosa from Philadelphia, Troy Lang from Minneapolis, Ann Ritchie from San Diego and Barbara Yang from Baltimore. Since Barbara missed her original flight, we were all at the airport until after 9:30 pm. Waiting... Somewhere in one of the interim periods of picking up our new "crew", we made a beer run to stock the ice box directly behind Tommy’s chair. Some videotape was taken of our first opening of a Lollapalooza Brew, which started us down the road to the nonstop party of our lifetimes. From estimates taken at different points during the tour, we figured we averaged at least three cases of beer per any given day we had a show, plus bottles of liquor to change the pace, plus other "party favors" that some of us brought with us and some of us bought, begged or borrowed along the way. After picking up the original crew complement of 6 winners, 1 chaperon and 1 driver, we headed back to the hotel in Kansas to get settled in our hotel rooms and get to know each other for the first time over some drinks and snack/junk foods from the convenience store across the street from the hotel. Also, later that evening, there was to be a visit from Marc Geiger, one of the original Lollapalooza Gods that started this American concept of a European styled festival when "alternative really represented an idea more than a genre of music". Marc was to bring us our laminates to get us access at the venues and to provide Devin, now dubbed Camp Counselor, with operating capital to pay our per diem and other related expenses. Marc Geiger hung out with us for a little bit and answered any general or specific questions with the tour or with aMERICAN, he was mellow and appeared excited that we were all into doing this spontaneous life on the road with five other complete strangers, traveling around the country and having to coexist for more than a month. This little pet project of Marc Geiger's would turn up some rather curious, if not interesting developments as the trip wore on. I gave Marc my winning entry for Q102 and a copy of that day’s local newspaper, which had a picture of Pat Briggs from Psychotica on the front page. None of the other Lolla production crew had seen or picked up a copy of today’s local news. The fact that I went to the trouble to pick a newspaper up seemed to impress Marc a little. I know that it got his attention. From that point on, I made it a point to track down local newspapers and collect them as we toured North America on the "Party Coach". That was only the beginning. To Be Continued...
I was 16 years old at the time, and it was my first Lollapalooza. I'll admit I didn't really know much about the Ramones but I was pumped to see Rancid, Soundgarden and Metallica. We made the trek out to Compton Terrace on the outskirts of Phoenix, and since it was the middle of summer we knew it was going to be a blistering hot day. The one thing that's important to the story is knowing that the Phoenix area is prone to sudden onsets of extreme weather during the summer months called a "monsoon storm". And seeing how Compton Terrace at the time was near a race track and pretty much nothing but desert, we knew the potential the weather could have. Well, the day started off innocently enough and the vibe was pretty nice throughout the day until the clouds started forming and the wind started blowing throughout the afternoon. It was around the time of Sponge on the second stage that we got a little rain and a lot of blowing dust. Sponge barely played their set, afraid of the repercussions of playing in such weather. The main stage also stayed quiet while the storm sat on top of us for awhile. While it did cool things down for a bit, it also made the natives restless. I recall images of bonfires being set, and an epic battle of water bottles/jugs/cans being tossed from the front of the crowd to the back of the crowd. It was around this time that Devo was ready to finally take the stage. Excited as I was, and a little nervous at the ensuing chaos around me, I tried to take it all in. I must have looked away for a brief moment which let my guard down. The next thing I know I'm being whacked in the side of the head by a half-full gallon jug of water. Stunned at first, I composed myself as best as I could. The damage was minor, maybe a cut, but it stood out in my mind to this day as one of the first music festivals I went to and was injured at. I toughed it out like the brazen 16 year old I was, and enjoyed the rest of the evening. It was amazing to see Soundgarden live but not necessarily appreciate what I was seeing. Metallica was a unique headliner for Lollapalooza, but I was excited to see them. After the weather settled down, the near-riot calmed and music became the focus of the day again, it turned out to be one of the more memorable festivals I've been to. Well, that's my story. I survived Lollapalooza '96 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Hi, I was at the Lollapalooza 1996 in Quebec City with all my freinds wile in the lineup we were all exited to get in and the local news camera came by to film the line-up and ask some questions for the late info news. We've watched all shows (Rancid, Ramones Metallica and more...) all day and nigth big party and fun. The next morning everybody was calling us to watch the news we were film in the line-up high up in the rails looking like shimpanze in a zoo. Poeple are still bringning this from time to time. Best party ever Lollapalooza 1996
i'm 25 yrs old(in 1996) and me and my wife are party'n hard prior to leaving for the concert. The chemicals are flowing freely thru our veins as we hit the road and head for West Virginia. The drive will take us approx. 2 hrs and we're wide open, havin fun the entire roadtrip. We close in on our destination, our directions say one more turn and we'll ride straight for parking. My wife is sittin shot-gun singin and laughin, and all of a sudden space opens up to accomadate the festivities we're about to partake. There is freakin people everywhere, thousasnds and thousands of people. Helicopters are flyin above us, there is uniforms and brass everywhere. Suddenly the singin and laughin stops. I look at my wife, no smile, no words comin from her mouth. Finally she says, "nope, no fuckin way i'm goin in there." She was freakin and paranoid but there was no doubt in her voice. She dropped me off near the gate, and all i saw was tail lights. Thousands of people and not one familiar face. I spent the entire day and night playin with myself. We have now been married 20 yrs and i still find myself playin with myself. Thanks J&J "legalize it"
Once again fearlessly courting controversy, Lollapalooza 96’s positioning of Metallica in the tour’s headlining slot marked a ballsy break from the festival’s “alternative” roots. Due in part to difficulties locating venues (some communities feared the face-melting rock of Lolla’s heavy-metal headliner), the traveling festival mounted its shorter tour, playing only 22 dates. Alt-rockers still represented, though, with several artists from past years reprising their appearances including Soundgarden, the Violent Femmes and Rage Against The Machine.
With the Metallica booking grabbing headlines, it went largely unnoticed that a third “Indie” stage had been added, featuring under-the-radar acts like Korn, who would go on to shake up the world of modern metal. Beside the kickboxing Shaolin Monks on the main stage, Lollapalooza 1996 actually featured one of the most varied lineups in the festival’s history, putting artists as different as Devo, Soul Coughing, Cornershop, and even country legend Waylon Jennings on the bill.
Playing host to the end of an era, punk rock legends The Ramones blitzkrieged their second-to-last bop at the festival’s August 4th date in Irvine, California.