Lollapa-Cruisin’ With Damian Kulash Of OK Go

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By Rya Backer

In addition to welcoming 90,000 concertgoers this weekend, Chicago, Illinois, can claim many notables as its natives: Oprah, the McCallister family from “Home Alone,” Michael Jordan and even our president. And OK Go, the pop-rock act with a flair for catchy choruses and groundbreaking music videos, also hail from here — so it was only natural for the group’s lead singer, Damian Kulash, to take us for a spin around the grounds of Lollapalooza.

But Kulash was quick to admit that the crowd congestion this weekend doesn’t present an accurate portrayal of his hometown. “The entire city of Chicago is on shutdown,” he admitted.

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Kulash, who attended his first Lollapalooza back when it was a touring event in 1994, has a certain affinity for the festival. “My favorite band at the time was Shudder to Think,” he recalls. “They were on one of the smaller artist stages. I just sat there and worshipped. It was amazing.”

And his admiration still stands, having labeled the three days of nonstop music across eight stages “the American rock tradition in one place.”

Thirteen years after attending as a fan, Kulash and Co. took to the stage themselves. “It’s the second time OK Go’s played Lollapalooza. We played Lollapalooza the first year it was here in Chicago. It was 102 degrees. It was unbelievable!” Less memorable was his choice of dress back then. “I was wearing a wool suit the entire time. I’ve become much more practical in my old age,” pointing out his decidedly lighter, cotton button-down shirt.

The excitement was palpable as Kulash drove the cart (“I don’t play golf, but I know how to drive a cart”) in and around the festival grounds. “I know it sounds crazy, but everybody’s got this ‘I can’t believe it’s about to happen’ vibe!” He pointed to the main stage fields, which were quickly filling up with fans for the evening’s headliners Coldplay.

MTV News is in Chicago for Lollapalooza 2011! Stick with us all weekend as we cover the bands you love and the bands you will love soon.