Ongoing History Daily: How did Metallica end up playing Lollapalooza in 1996?

When the 1996 lineup for Lollapalooza was announced, people were confused. Why were Metallica and Soundgarden were picked to headline?

Soundgarden, okay (they played the festival in 1992). But Metallica? How were they a fit with what had become the world’s premier alternative festivals?

Here’s what co-founder Mark Geiger told Rolling Stone magazine:  “Yes, people are scared of the Metallica-Soundgarden audience, and they wonder what kind of signals we’re sending out by having a couple of heavy bands.  ‘What’s happening to alternative?’  I can give you a very simple answer:  alternative is dead.  It’s been dead for years.  It’s been dead since ’93 if not ’92.  It’s dead, it’s over, it’s full of imitative bands and we’re gonna look for great ones, period.  Metallica’s from a genre that’s now verboten—but it’s actually alternative to what’s happening now.  We only wish there were more bands like that kind of credibility around.”

Interesting how perceptions change, isn’t it?

If you missed yesterday’s post, it was about life after music.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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