Is Perry Farrell’s Greatest Legacy A Suffix?

Jane’s Addiction frontman, Lollapalooza founder and flash mob enthusiast Perry Farrell has been in the business of rock music for over 20 years. In addition to Jane’s, he has also fronted the supremely underrated Porno for Pyros and has worked on a number of other collaborative projects. He was the first person to provide a high-profile stage for many of alternative music’s elite (including Nine Inch Nails and Pearl Jam) and basically invented the idea of the touring festival that was later copied by Warped, Ozzfest, Lilith Fair and a half-dozen others. But despite the fact that he’s the guy who sang “Ocean Size” and introduced the world to Dave Navarro (which, in turn, gave us “Till Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave”), Farrell’s greatest legacy is probably normalizing the idea of taking any word and putting “-palooza” behind it.

I’m neither a linguist, an etymologist or an anthropologist, but when Farrell first introduced the word “Lollapalooza” into the lexicon during the first tour in 1991, he not only opened up the use of the word (which generally describes any sort of vaguely chaotic gathering) but he also inspired variations. CNN referred to last year’s presidential race as “Campaign-apalooza” dozens of times a day, and though it looks stupid in print, it sounded something like normal on TV. In my home town, our first recycling program was called “Recycle-palooza.” A basic search for the term “palooza” turns up events like “Pet-A-Palooza” and “Polar-palooza.” All of this seems perfectly normal, which in turn seems utterly insane. Shockingly, the word isn’t in the dictionary, despite the fact that it gets used far more often than Homer Simpson’s frustrated grunt.

So here’s to you and your ‘Palooza, Perry. MTV News will be on the ground blogging and tweeting live from Grant Park in Chicago all weekend. In the meantime, enjoy the video for Porno for Pyros’ “Tahitian Moon.”

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