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POP EYE

Cash & Clinton? This Could Be a Legendary 'Lollapalooza'

February 06, 1994|Steve Hochman

Will the kids in plaid go for the Man in Black?

Or will they groove on the captain of the Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership?

Yes, country-rock legend Johnny Cash and funk pioneer George Clinton may be along for part or all of "Lollapalooza '94."

Cash, 61, and Clinton, 53, are older than many of the parents of the alternative-rock fans who dominate the "Lollapalooza" audience, but the tour organizers believe both veterans will add an unexpected dash of character and history to a tour concept that many felt was becoming too predictable.

Cash was a Memphis sidekick of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis in the '50s and has been voted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside them, while Clinton's records have influenced virtually every funk and rap artist from Prince to Ice Cube.

They're expected to join such alternative bands as Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, who are widely heralded but are no longer the "discoveries" that the tour once promised to showcase each year.

Marc Geiger, director of A&R for American Recordings and a member of the four-man "Lollapalooza" brain trust, would not confirm any of the acts, but said that the likes of Cash and Clinton would be valuable additions to the tour.

"With so-called alternative acts now selling millions of their debut albums, we felt the need to get more legends involved," he says. "To offset and balance the flavor-of-the-month aspect, we felt we should put in some perspective and history and depth."

Though plans are still tentative, Cash might do only a dozen or so of the "Lollapalooza" shows and then be presented as the star attraction on a new "acoustic" side-stage format that may also feature guest appearances by main-stage headliners such as Nirvana. Clinton presumably would be part of the main-stage lineup.

The notion of Cash--who has just recorded an album with producer Rick Rubin--has received a lot of support within the alternative music world.

"I think it's great," says Darcy Sanders, music director for KROQ-FM. "If Neil Young can play with Pearl Jam and if Tony Bennett can play at our 'Acoustic Christmas' concert, this should work perfectly. Cash and Clinton are real, not second-generation imitations."

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