Anniversary, Festivals, Milestones, Video — July 18, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Milestones: Lollapalooza debuted 20 years ago today; watch MTV ‘120 Minutes’ coverage

Twenty years ago today, the Perry Farrell-spawned Lollapalooza festival — which, in retrospect, joins Nevermind as perhaps the best historical encapsulation of “the year punk broke” — made its debut in the sun-baked Arizona desert with performances by Nine Inch Nails, Living Colour, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Jane’s Addiction.

To mark the occasion, we present this 10-minute reel from YouTube user capeshokusa of coverage by MTV’s “120 Minutes” of that first tour stop on July 18, 1991, at Compton Terrace in Tempe, Ariz., just outside of Phoenix.

The footage features venerable host Dave Kendall interviewing Trent Reznor after Nine Inch Nails’ set was cut very short by overheating equipment, and there’s a dash of Henry Rollins and some face time with the Butthole Surfers (Kendall actually proclaims, “We’re cuddling up with the Butthole Surfers!”).  Plus, for some reason, there’s also a video by the band Poopshovel.

After that first year, Lollapalooza crossed North America six more times in the ’90s before going on hiatus until the revived Jane’s Addiction resurrected the trek in 2003. The following year, a two-date traveling fest — with Morrissey and The String Cheese Incident headlining their respective dates — was canceled due to poor ticket sales.

And, in 2005, Lollapalloza was reborn yet again as destination festival in Chicago — the ultimate of ironies, since Farrell’s original concept was to turn Europe’s summer destination festivals into traveling roadshows. Lollapalooza returns to Chicago for its seventh year Aug. 5 through 7.

Got any particular Lolla memories? Share ’em in the comments below.





  1. I hated those years in the concentration camp! Sure glad that’s over!

  2. I thought it debuted in Enumclaw, Washington. I was at that show and thought it was the first. Maybe it was the last show of the first year…IDK.

  3. Great lineup in Washington. Butthole Surfers, Henry Rollins Band, Ice-T & Body Count, Fishbone, Violent Femmes, Siouxsie, and Jane’s…wet day though, of course.

  4. Marc: Yes, the Washington show you saw was the end of the ’91 tour.

  5. Nice high school memories – The ole Compton Terrace and KUKQ the best radio station AZ ever had – AM1060!

  6. Great show, right in the heart of summer. NIN started up “Sin” and “Terrible Lie”, getting through about a minute of each song before the band finally knocked over their gear and walked off (of course I was looking forward to their set the most, argh). Siouxsie & The Banshees’ abbreviated ‘Superstition’ set was great (would catch the full show at Mesa Amp months later). Ice T performed with his band Body Count (“Cop Killer”), and of course Jane’s set had the onstage fight between Farrell and Navarro resulting in Navarro throwing his guitar into the crowd during the encore. Fun times!

  7. jon white

    Lollapalloza dallas 95,,i believe, great set on side stage by Mike Watt, mike left stage and began seeling his own t-shirts and giving change ack and all, i met Nels Cline over by a fence by tourbus and Nels signed my shirt, later Watt signed everyones shirt, to this day i still have the shirt. and remember how some stars remain true to the fans and even though the our icons in music history they still are keeping it real

  8. Heat! Sweat! No free water! I wore all black in honor of Siouxsie (and because that’s pretty much all I wore at the time) Missed that Sinead backed out of the deal. The Siouxsie show was great! We had lawn seats and ran down to the stage when she came on. The whole cup throwing episode was fun too. Janes was awesome as well. Glad I was there for an historical show, but vowed to never do it again. Then came Curiosa…

  9. I went to Lollapalooza 1997 in Chicago and was excited to see Tricky, Snoop Dogg (back when he had Doggy in his name), Skeleton Key, Failure and Tool. Two things happened that day that left a huge impact on my life. One was seeing Devo for the first time which made me a huge fan and happy to hear their other songs that weren’t “Whip It.” The second was meeting Danny Carey of Tool while watching Failure on the second stage. I watching them and he just walked up to check out the band. I noticed him but wasn’t sure. Then I finally went over to ask him if he was who he was and he said yeah and signed my ticket stub.

    I honestly miss the old Lollapalooza setup. The new festival is just too big and doesn’t feel as special as having two stages and dudes hanging irons off of their junk.

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