Is Lollapalooza on its last legs? The target kickoff date is just four months away, but tour organizers admit they’ve yet to sign up a single artist. Rumored headliners Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, and the Cure are all unavailable due to recording conflicts, while potential main-stagers Green Day and Garbage said no thanks. In fact, according to Ted Gardner, who co-owns Lollapalooza with Perry Farrell and the William Morris Agency, it’s reached a point where this year’s festival just might not happen. The odds that there will be a Lollapalooza ’98? ”Fifty-fifty,” Gardner says. ”Someone has to commit to doing the tour as a headlining act. We might have someone come back and say we’d love to do it and bingo, we’ve got a tour. But if we can’t put together what we consider a strong package, then it would be pointless to put it out there.”
Why is the granddaddy of alt-rock fests suddenly scrambling to find suitably big-name bands, even though it was, until recently, the summer-tour equivalent of a Quentin Tarantino movie (everybody wanted in)? Part of the problem is a lingering negative perception of last year’s tour, which suffered from a less-than-adventurous lineup (led by metal acts Tool and Korn, among others) and was overshadowed by the more successful Lilith Fair and Ozzfest. But Gardner says much of the reason is the last-minute pullout of Farrell’s reconstituted Jane’s Addiction, who were set to anchor this summer’s tour but have since left Lollapalooza in the lurch. ”We’ve been put behind the eight ball a little bit,” Gardner says. What happened? ”I don’t know. I’m not Perry’s manager, nor do I talk to him.” (Jane’s Addiction’s management didn’t return phone calls.) Talk about a Farrell-weather friend….