Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Artie Fufkin Finally Gets His Butt Kicked

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Artie Fufkin Finally Gets His Butt Kicked

Remember the scene from Spinal Tap, where Polymer Records rep Artie Fufkin sets up an in-store for the band in Chicago -- and nobody shows up?

“Will you do something for me,” asks Artie, played by Paul Shaffer. “Just kick my ass. Kick this ass for a man, that’s all. Kick this ass. Enjoy. I’m not asking. I’m telling with this. Kick my ass.”

The band laughs off the request. Because they’re gentle Englishmen. Nearly 30 years later, the Artie Fufkins of the world are finally getting the Chicago ass-kicking they deserve … from Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

According to Jim DeRogatis’s Vocalo blog, Madigan is investigating the organizers of Lollapalooza for anti-trust violations. The music festival that camps out in Grant Park every summer forces its acts to sign an agreement that bans them from playing anywhere near Chicago. The crazy:

Sources have said that the most extreme of these clauses stretch from six months before Lollapalooza to three months after it, and that they encompass a 300-mile radius—which would include concert markets as far away as Milwaukee, Madison, Iowa City, Detroit, and Indianapolis.

That means if you love a little band like The Dodos and want to see them in Chicago, you can’t pay $20 for a night at the Double Door -- you have to buy a $90 one-day pass to Lollapalooza.

Doesn’t it always end up this way? When Lollapalooza started, in the early 1990s, it was a rebuke to giant corporate concerts like the Budweiser Steel Wheels Tour. It represented the simple values of the era’s alternative culture: flannel shirts, cross-dressing, onstage nudity, heroin use. The original Lollapalooza was undone by the tension between the need to make a profit and the audience’s demand that the festival stay true to its counterculture roots.

When founder Perry Farrell revived Lollapalooza in 2003, he partnered with C3 Productions, an Austin, Texas, music promoter that struck on a successful formula: make the festival a destination event in Chicago. Unfortunately, that’s killing the club scene here.

“During the summers now, you’re lucky if you have a couple of shows, and you’re just picking up the leftovers that couldn’t get into any of the festivals,” one club booker told DeRogatis.

Whoever thought we’d see the day when the attorney general of Illinois was a better friend to rock fans than the lead singer of Jane’s Addiction. But every music scene is eventually taken over by Artie Fufkins. It’s about time someone kicked their asses.

 

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