Speaking of events and culture, It’s been almost 27 years since the first Lollapalooza concert in Chandler, Arizona*. I went with a bunch of my friends who were also into alternative rock, and it was life-changing.
This is before Nirvana made it big: Nirvana’s “Nevermind” wouldn’t be released in September of that year, and “grunge” was something you scraped off a dirty dishpan. Big hair metal bands ruled the rock world, and the music I listened to, The Smiths, The Pixies and New Order was sequestered to a late-night two-hour show on MTV. Alternative music was still, well, alternative, and just wasn’t being played on FM radio where everyone could hear it.
It was, however, being played on a small low-power AM station, KUKQ. KUKQ was everything to me and my friends, because prior to this, I was the weirdo for listening to cutting-edge rock rather than banging my head to Ratt or listening to old Led Zep or Pink Floyd cuts. With today’s a la carte media, where even the most obscure track is out there on YouTube somewhere, It’s hard for people of this day and age to understand what it was like to have a rallying point for people of like interests to come together and share a common experience.
Lollapalooza was all that, and it was all that on steroids. Me and literally thousands of other people who shared a common passion were all in one place, enjoying our music and all that went along with it. Lollapalooza wasn’t just a concert: There were tattoo and piercing parlors (neither of which were mainstream at the time) and side stages and a host of other events that were meant to compliment the music and reinforce the culture of alternative music.
Which brings me to guns. Pick up everything I just said, and drop on top of Gun Culture 2.0. The closest thing we have to the Lollapalooza experience is the NRA Annual Meeting, but if you listen to something other than country music, you’re kinda (T)SOL when it comes to culture at that event, and it’s the same with the USCCA’s Concealed Carry meeting as well.
It’s not just about guns, it’s about music and sport and life and… everything. Jerome Griffin mentioned to me recently that DropZone Gunner, an event that mashes up 3 Gun with obstacle racing, was designed with Lollapalooza in mind, and I think he’s on to something there. Gun ownership is being pushed to the side of American culture, and anything we can do to push it back to the middle is a very good thing indeed.
* 27 years is also the same amount of time from Lollapalooza to Beatlemania. Egad, I’m old.