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Phil's Reminiscences

These photos are Phil's personal snapshots from the Lollapalooza '92 tour which he generously provided to this website. You can see many more of his behind-the-scenes snapshots on the Lush at Work page.
 
(click on the images for a larger view)

Lollapalooza '92 Tour Diary

Phil's tour diary originally appeared in the November 7, 1992 issue of the NME, which included this preface:

 

 


So what do you do if you're four mild-mannered indie people plunged into the fire, brimstone, rain, cross-dressing, bile-snorting, stage-diving, limb-breaking, male-bonding world of LOLLAPALOOZA '92? You sing 'The Show Must Go On', get your bass player PHIL KING to write a day-by-day diary of events (abetted by your drummer CHRIS ACLAND) and wonder, in all seriousness, if alcohol had any part to play in it all...
 

San Francisco Shoreline Amphitheater, July 18
     It's ten minutes to showtime on the first day of Lollapalooza and the floorboards in the backstage enclosure vibrate with the approach of the humungous Boo Yaa Tribe. They are here to escort Ice-T and to play a short set on the second stage. They pass us en-masse, their Calvin Kleins pulled up firmly outside their pants.
     It's five minutes to showtime and a huge roar goes up as Ice-T announces the acts. I retire to the toilets for the third time in the space of ten minutes. And then it's time to go on.
     After our set Chris Hunter, Lush guitar tech, encounters Otis, the bobble-hatted goliath of a man who's working for Ministry. "Do you know what's wrong with Lush?" he says menacingly. "No, what?" asks Chris innocently. "They don't do 'Thoughtforms'. If they don't play it by the end of the tour I'm gonna shit on your head." Fair enough.
     Luckily for Chris, since we decided not to do this song at all on this tour, Otis disappears from the tour overnight. Not knowing this, Chris tries to take his life later in the day bungee-jumping.

San Francisco Shoreline Amphitheater, July 19
     Weird scenes backstage. Lifto, from the Jim Rose Travelling Circus, is sitting eating breakfast, shaven-headed, wearing stockings, high heels and draped in a kimono. Later on in the day he will be seen hanging unfeasibly heavy weights from various parts of his anatomy, in a freak show where fainting is considered a standing ovation.
     Lesley and Fuzz from Silverfish turn up from New York, where they're sorting out a record deal. They give us and Perry Farrell (who's God in these parts) 'HIPS LIPS TITS POWER' T-shirts which we duly wear on stage.

Vancouver UBC Field, July 21
     After the sun, sea and silicon of San Francisco, this is more how I imagined a festival to be. Especially since Lollapalooza is based on the Reading Festival. It's pouring down with rain, bitterly cold, extremely muddy and so far only half the PA's turned up. We retire to the relative warmth of our caravan. Luckily, by the time we get on stage the rain has stopped.
     There's always one person in the audience who distracts your attention. Even if everyone else is having a good time you tend to end up focusing on the one ASSHOLE! And there he is, down the front with the 49ers baseball capon, purple tinted Wayfarers and an All-American cheesecake grin. "Smile," he mouths, trying to attract your attention. I eventually do "smile" when his cap and sunglasses get knocked off accidentally by one of the security guards. His cool quickly melts as his hand fumble to catch them,

Seattle Kitsap Country Fairgrounds, July 22

     As we approach the site, coming off the freeway, we get caught up in a four mile tailback, as there's only one entrance to the fairground. After waiting 20 minutes, not moving one inch and forced to endure 'Sweet Home Alabama' and 'Rocky Mountain Way' in quick succession, we abandon the minibus and continue on foot. A hundred yards up the road Howard, our manager, has the bright idea (which we pay him for) to ask a local sheriff for a lift. He begrudgingly agrees.
     "I don't like your kinda music." he drawls, turning up The Beach Boys on his car radio. I wonder if this guy is a Republican. Howard sits up front with a shotgun grazing his earlobe, whilst Miki, Emma, Chris and myself are squashed in on the back seat, staring through the grating at the road ahead.
 
    Not only does he take us to the site but he drives straight through the crowd, lights ablazing, to the backstage area. We hide our heads in embarrassment.
Once Pearl Jam start playing we find that we have no choice but to evacuate our Portacabin dressing room. Literally everything in the room starts vibrating to the beat of the bass drum. What's it going to be like when Ice Cube's on? Don't ask

Denver Fiddler Green, July 24
     It's raining again, yet the sprinklers are on the best mown lawns in the USA. They win every year here, so our driver tells us. He's taking us from the airport to what is locally known as the Darth Vader Hotel. This is because somebody wearing the Star Wars character's outfit officially opened it recently, and also because it is a huge black obelisk which sucks the sun out of the sky. As for my room, well, if I was Jimmy Page I would definitely say "Too rococo".

Denver Fiddler Green, July 25
     Waiting to go onstage we watch The Buddy Holly Story in a sub zero air-conditioned lounge. The moment we walk out into the sun to play we all break out into a heavy sweat. Unlike the audience.

St Louis Riverport Amphitheater, July 27
"To riot or not to riot, that is the question," is scratched on the front-of-house mixing desk as a reminder of the Guns N' Roses concert here last year. Early on in their set Axl Rose waded into the audience to pull a camera off someone and then stormed off stage. The crowd then proceeded to tear the place apart. Pieces of Marshall amplifiers were later found in the car-park. But I digress.
     We are all somewhat the worse for wear after a long night in the hotel bar. One hundred and twenty out of 140 rooms were taken up by bands and crew. The tequila didn't last long. Turner, Ministry's heavily tattooed bone tech, was sitting next to me with a small sparrow's skull placed next to his beer on the table. As one does. The last thing I remember is Matt The Tube from Jim Rose's Circus Sideshow getting a loud cheer as he pulled a straw from his nose with a pair of pliers.
     During Ministry's set tonight the earth started flying, along with the bodies. Wrapped in blankets, they're tossed 20 feet in the air.

Cincinnati Riverbend, July 28
     Left soon after we played, but not before Miki and Chris did an interview with Tommy Vance for the Friday Rock Show. Miki managed to slip in a few "wise words, matey."

Cleveland Blossom Music Center, July 29
     Miki's sitting in the corridor of the corner of the bus trying to reassemble her shorts, which somebody tried to pull apart when she stage-dived during Ministry's set. Emma played guitar with them while nine 'dancers' dressed in Blake's Seven bikini outfits 'vogued' at the front of the stage. They had been recruited earlier on in the day after having been spotted out amongst all the mud, pulling shapes. They are along for the duration.
     Anthony from The Chill Peppers was seen hobbling around on crutches today. He snapped his Achilles tendon last night after jumping in the air and landing on his microphone stand. The first of many casualties.

Detroit Pine Knob, July 31
     If Perry Farrell's God, then that must make Eddie Vedder, singer with Pearl Jam, Jesus. Preaching epistle to the apostles and anointing them with water (still, not carbonated). He came back with us, skateboard under-arm, to the hotel out in the suburbs near Troy, after their customary riotous reception. He was annoyed about a cameraman who kept stalking his every move; filming for use on the large video screens positioned on either side of the stage. He said it detracted from the band's performance to focus mainly on him.

Detroit Pine Knob, August 1
     It's kind of eerie. I'm sitting up on a hillside looking down on Lollapalooza, by a ski lodge which is shut down for the summer. It’s so quiet I can hear the ski lifts creaking in the wind and the sound of sand being dragged in gusts over the parked cars. But not for long, as Soundgarden are due onstage any moment.
     En route to Chicago, we stop at a truck stop and come face to face with Al Jourgensen, head honcho from Ministry and disciple of Aleister Crowley - and Dennis Wheatley. Perhaps. Sitting at a counter surrounded by the fulsome figures of the Boo Yaa Tribe, with his goatee beard and black stetson hat, he tells us about a party he's giving at his home in Chicago. Outside when we look at his phone number it's got '666' on the tail end of it. As I say, it's kind of eerie.



Chicago World Amphitheater, August 2
     Only one shower for the whole crew today, and just a curtain divides us from Pearl Jam. It'sa larger seated venue than usual, over 30,000. During our set I notice a lot of pointing in Chris' direction. It must be his famous open-mouthed drumming technique.
     After we finish we have an interview with JBTV; a local cable music show which is broadcast all over the country. It is hosted by a friendly Jerry Garcia-lookalike and a confessed self-publicist. At any available space in the interview he name-checks himself and his show.
     Stopping at the truck stop in Toledo we get the usual "Is there a circus in town?" and the most popular, used by children of allages, "Mummy, that girl's got red hair!" Nice hot fudge sundae, though.

Saratoga Springs SPAC, August 4
     As is the weather's wont, it literally pours down after our set. All the seats down the front are totally wrecked in the crush to get to see Pearl Jam. The crowd are held back by security guards as they try to divert a stream which is running across the front of the stage. From our dressing-cum-locker room we can see the audience hopelessly running around with pieces of plastic sheeting over their heads, trying to stay dry. On the other side of the perimeter fence there are groups of soaked souls attempting to climb over or under it.

Toronto Molson Park, August 5
     A sunny day at last and our first field since Vancouver. Normally playing seated amphitheaters, our audience and the Mary Chain's tend to be up the back on the lawns. That's why the response at these unseated shows is so much more positive.
     Emma took us all on a bumpy buggy ride over to the second stage, until it was confiscated by security. She and Miki took to the stage again with Ministry, Miki sporting a rockerific white flying V. If I can remember correctly, Howard our manager was by this time on all fours with a bottle of tequila clutched firmly between his mitts - but this is what we pay him for.

Boston Great Woods, August 7
     Miki and Chris took up the challenge today from the Jim Rose Travelling Circus to drink the bile. How it works is that Matt the Tube pushes a tube up his nose and down his throat into his stomach. He then pours a concoction of chocolate sauce, tomato ketchup, beer and Pepto Bismol down it... and then he pumps it out again. According to Miki and Chris the bile, a lurid green color, had chunks in it.
     Later, when The Jesus and Mary Chain are asked to perform the same feat, Jim Reid says he'll only do it if members of The Travelling Circus snort his diarrhea. Funnily enough, there are no takers.
The Toxic Twins. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith, were backstage, as were a greater part of the population of Boston. You couldn't move for people.
     During Ministry's set, huge clods of earth started to bounce on to the stage. Off in the distance on the back lawns fires had been lit which the audience were moshing around. Kinda tribal. Kinda Lollapalooza. Kinda figures.
Later on we found out the perimeter fence had been burnt down and the festival is banned here next year.

Long Island Jones Beach, August 9/10
     What a dump! Backstage, it's like Alcatraz. A small concrete dressing room with a paltry view of the sea/harbour. It's a seated venue again.
     The second day here was certainly a lot more 'interesting'. During our set the sky grew gradually darker and darker, until by the last number the sky was as black as the ceiling of the Camden Falcon. And that is black. Before we launched into 'Leave Me Cold', Miki innocently said "This is our last song before it rains”
     The moment we walked offstage there was a clap of heavy metal thunder and the heavens opened. From our dressing room we could see the typhoon winds drag most of the marquees, and the second stage, into the sea. On the horizon there were huge cracks of lightning in the sky. The audience had been told to disperse to their cars to take cover. The stage was by now swimming in a couple of feet of water.
     Al Jourgensen was to be seen running around backstage, shouting out such helpful commands as "Batten down the hatches", and "Spice the mainsail"; stopping every minute or two to proudly show off his new tattoo. It looks like most of Pearl Jam's equipment is ruined. Somebody's been blown off the lighting rig and the road crew are running around trying to get all the remaining equipment covered. Its chaos. Within the hour the show is cancelled and everyone returns to the hotel to drown their sorrows.
     Lush, however, are in a celebratory mood - we were the only band to be paid and boasted all night that we'd actually headlined Lollapalooza

Pittsburg Starlake Amphitheater, August 16

     "ARE YOU READY, LOLLAPALOOZA? I SAID, ARE YOU READY LOLLAPALOOZA?!" Marky Ray, Ministry's guitar tech and Lee their sound guy, are introducing us onstage. And it goes something like this. In fact, it goes exactly like this. "Coming at you at a hundred miles an hour, all the way from the beautiful UK, 4AD recording artistes, LUSH!"
     Bill, Ministry's drummer, has donned Emma's black dress, Miki's fishnets, put on some lipstick and shader, and is going to play guitar on 'For Love'.
     During our set I see someone in the audience wearing a Rush T-shirt. Surely some mistake?
In return for Bill coming on stage with us, Miki and Emma, dressed up as men, looking like the Thomson Twins or as Chris said, Laurel & Hardy, and joined Ministry onstage for 'So What'. It was the dancers' last night so they were doused by Turner, the bone tech, armed with high-powered water pistols, and wearing diapers.
     Ice Cube was spotted backstage playing basketball with members of Pearl Jam

Charlotte, North Carolina, August 24
     There are a couple of guys in the hotel lobby wearing boards around their necks, offering to show anybody from Lollapalooza the sights of the city for a gum. There's talk of a naked volleyball competition involving Ministry. We graciously decline, and instead go to the cinema. Some of us to see Single White Female and others. Well OK, other, to Night on Earth. The only other people in the cinema are Jim Reid and his girlfriend.
     Al Jourgensen is seen running around the hotel foyer hugging a wooden duck, used to frighten off local wildlife. He is closely followed by the local police shouting, 'Drop the duck and put your hands in the air."
     Later he is spotted standing at the edge of the swimming pool, bent double, taking bets on whether he is going to throw up or not.
     I'm kept up 'til early morning by the sound of people in the next room chopping up lines. Snorting. coughing, ad infinitum, until finally... silence.

Charlotte Blockbuster Amphitheater, August 25
     The venue is owned by Blockbuster video. Luckily Chris had his card from the Camberwell branch. Access all areas.
Lots of problems today. Jimmy, our monitor guy, fell asleep on the bus and couldn't be found at the start of our set. So we had eight people huddled over the desk arguing about the sound. The bass was booming, the vocals were feeding back, Emma's guitar kept cutting out. And this was when Jimmy was there. Chris had to stop 'Nothing Natural' as the beater fell off his bass drum pedal.
     The crew left immediately after the show. 1,200 miles to Minneapolis. We're getting on the plane tomorrow.
     Pearl Jam trashed their guitars and threw them into the audience. Who do they think they are, Birdland?

Atlanta, August 31
     It's l0am and the Mary Chain's crew are having a quiet breakfast on the sun-drenched veranda of the hotel. Tucking into buttered scones and a huge pot of tea. Out of nowhere an amplifier, a Fender amplifier to be more precise, whistles past them and smashes into the concrete concourse in front of the hotel. They look up from their table to see what all the commotion is about, and then continue to eat. Another ordinary day on the Lollapalooza tour.
     The owner of the Fender had been Chris Cornwell, singer with Soundgarden, who is a guest located on the 15th floor, They say he expected his tour manager to catch it. Well, that's what he's paid for.
     In the evening we ate at an Indian restaurant opposite the hotel. On the walls were photos of Mick Jagger, The Moody Blues, Ride, The Soup Dragons... and the Dalai Lama. So what band's he in, then?

Atlanta Lakewood Amphitheater, September 1
     Midway through our set there is a fight on the grass at the back. Within seconds a huge crowd gathers, and from the stage we can see the police and security running towards the incident. Everyone in the audience turns round to stare. This must be what it's like to play a variety club on a Saturday night.



New Orleans, September 2
     Expectations are running high. It's the Lollapalooza end of tour party tonight (and there's still two weeks to go!). Judging by accounts of year's knees-up it's going to be a night to remember - a carnival of flesh - a drink and drugs frenzy. There's actually been a gig pulled to give everybody a day off to recover.
     But don't count your chickens. It's a pile of crap. We've had better nights down the Rock Garden. There's some really horrible strippers - which gives it the feel of a really grim hen party or stag night. There's a heavy police presence inside the club, and NO FREE DRINKS!
     Everybody tries desperately to have a good time, but it never really happens. Emma puts her hand through not one, but two windows as a form of protest.
     We retire to the hotel bar early in the morning and are met on arrival by Big Al Jourgensen wearing a George Bush mask and clutching a can of hi-fi contact clear. He rushes up to us, sprays our T-shirts with it and then forces us to inhale the fumes. We all start laughing uncontrollably. So it's come to this; sitting in a hotel bar in New Orleans partaking in solvent abuse.

Dallas, September 6
     It's come to the end of the tour - everybody and everything's getting a bit mad. Ministry destroyed their bus last night. They had a pyrotechnic display in the back lounge and set the whole inside of the coach alight.
     There's a catalogue of injuries - Chris, our guitar tech, has broken his foot playing rock 'n' roll basketball. Cath from T-shirts is on crutches after treading barefoot on broken glass trying to break up a top skinhead brawl. Fritzy, bleerk with Ministry, breaks his hand hitting someone in the same brawl. And Mike from Pearl Jam has fractured his foot in the studio (the mind boggles).
     There's more on the way. Miki then dives offstage during Ministry's set. It's a seated gig, and there's no-one to catch her fall. Alcohol might have played some part in this serious miscalculation. She's rushed to hospital on a stretcher in a neck brace. It looks bad and everybody's worried.

Phoenix, September 7
     Our red-haired chanteuse is propped up in bed. She's got a corking black eye, a nasty gash ... (oops) on her forehead which requires multiple stitches and has temporarily lost the use of her right arm. There's a serious band meeting/liaison and we're seriously thinking about jacking it in and going back to Blighty until Emma sings the first verse and chorus of 'The Show Must Go On' by Queen. There's a swift change of heart.
     We fly to Phoenix and Bill, the drummer from Ministry learns the whole Lush set in a matter of minutes; putting to bed the notion that all drummers are one-dimensional, unmusical saddoes.

Phoenix Desert Sky Pavilion, September 9
     During our set Bill has to play sitting down because he has broken two fingers stage diving during a Lush set. Miki sings guitarless (that's a new song). It's not the greatest gig ever and resembles a scene from Casualty, but it shows Lush to be a band full of spunk and I think Freddy would have been proud

Los Angeles Irvine Meadows, September 11-13
     There are three shows left in the same venue. The curse continues. We're in the hotel bar after the second show, when we hear more bad news. Brad, bass player with The Mary Chain, has fallen down some steps and broken his ankle in three places. We wonder in all seriousness if alcohol had anything to do with it.
     Later that same right Gibby Haynes, singer with The Butthole Surfers, is roaring drunk and proves to Miki that the art of romance is not dead. The silver-tongued fox saunters up to our singer and drops his bombshell. "How about we go up to your room. You can suck my cock while I lick your pussy." Surprisingly enough, Miki is not won over by this subtle approach straight from the Nigel Havers School of Charm.
     It's the last day of the tour, and it's chaos backstage. The world and his wife are here (that's wife + 1) and Uncle Tom Cobbley's got Total Access. Ivo, all the way from London. England, is discussing with Motley Crue the possibilities of working on the next 'This Mortal Coil' project - which will be called 'This Motley Crue'. Miki's mum -alias the hand in the 70s Denim aftershave advert (TRUE!) - is here looking for hairy chests to stroke.
     Unfortunately, neither Chris nor Phil can oblige. The bloke from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (not Keanu, Reeves)... staggers into our dressing room asking if he can use our potty. He is somewhat surprised to see Dave and Stone from Pearl Jam and Bill from Ministry dressed up as men's ladies; female attire and makeup obligatory if you want to play with Lush. Even Al Jourgensen was threatening to. Unfortunately he couldn't find anything large enough in his wife's wardrobe.
     It's amazing how many hard rocking mothers are queuing up to perform this somewhat unrock and weedy indie task as soon as they find out it involves wearing things that girls wear, Still, any excuse to get into Emma's tights.
     Everybody plays with everybody else today. In fact, there's so much bonding on stage that it would make the average punter slightly sick. It's beginning to look like a deranged version of Live Aid.
     The bonding continues after the show, where it's back to the Hyatt for one last booze-up before everybody goes their separate ways. It's all hugging, tussling, kissing and naked wrestling. "You're my best mate, you are - I mean man I love you - Come and stay whenever - Come and live with me-If I'm not there the keys will be under the dustbin." And you really DO mean it.
     Five am on the way to the airport the driver tells us that the Hyatt was evacuated in the small hours of the morning because of a fire scare. We wonder if Ministry had anything to do with it.

AND THAT's it. Regrets? We had a few. We never really got to hang out with Ice Cube, as initial exchanges did not bode too well. (rap it if you like). "Yo you guys ain't really my cup of tea - just a tad too abrasive for me I like the more melancholic and breezy sounds of Slowdive - erm, everybody jump."
     And we never get to see The Jim Rose Circus snort Jim Reed's diarrhoea. Still, you can't have everything. We had a brilliant time and it's a pity you only get to do to it once: Maybe we'll spit up and reform under a different name - so we can have a crack at it next year. Headlining of course.

Want more?

  • See many more of Phil's personal snapshots on the Photos - Lush at Work page

  • See many other behind-the-scenes photos from the Lollapalooza tour on the Lush on Tour page.

  • Miki talks about the experience of touring in Lollapalooza '92 on the Miki's Reminiscences page.

  • A complete list of all the Lollapalooza '92 shows can be found on the Gigography page

 

 

 This website is dedicated to the memory of Chris Acland

 

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