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Diminishing Troops:

April 25, 1999|STEVE HOCHMAN

After last year's hiatus, Lollapalooza is still lacking a lineup for a 1999 trek and now it's losing one of its founding directors. Ted Gardner, who co-founded the event with former managerial client Perry Farrell and former William Morris agents Don Muller and Marc Geiger, has decided to sell his share of the venture back to the agency.

With Muller and Geiger having left several years ago to found their ArtistDirect agency, Farrell becomes the sole remaining founder, with William Morris having full controlling interest.

Gardner says he's grown frustrated with bands and their managers being unwilling or unable to say a simple "yes" or "no" to offers from the tour, a situation that could well sink the venture for a second year.

As it stands, the two biggest names up for the top slots are themselves question marks. Bush is tangled up in legal wrangling with its Trauma Records label and Interscope, while Stone Temple Pilots is returning after a breakup and its status with the public is uncertain.

Hip-hop acts Eminem and the Roots are both said to be interested, but neither is seen as having headline status to carry the tour.

Gardner, who currently manages the band Tool, is still proud of Lollapalooza and believes it can have a healthy future.

"Lollapalooza did wonderful things," he says. "It changed the dynamics of radio, of amphitheaters, changed the touring market and made festivals better. Our stamp will remain. But from my standpoint, William Morris is far better at doing this than I am. I manage bands. This used to be fun, but it wasn't anymore for me."

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