Food Fight

The Ghost Of Lollapalooza Past

Jim Morrison read "The Doors of Perception" and named his band The Doors. I read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and named my band Gumption Trap. We were doomed. Even worse, when you put Jim Morrison in leather pants, he became a lizard king. When you put me in leather pants, I became a bow-legged Jew.

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I ran Lollapalooza in the summer of 1996. It was my band's big break. Within a week, we broke up. Don't worry, this isn't a sad story. Actually, it would have been sad if we stayed together.

Lollapalooza gave my band, Gumption Trap, a glimpse from the top of the mountain. From the top, my bandmates saw fame. But I had a different view. I saw the dignity in walking away.

Lollapalooza was a turning point in my life. I haven't been back since the summer of 1996, when my band, Gumption Trap, the worst named band in rock 'n roll history, took over The Chill Tent on Randall's Island in New York City.

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I probably wouldn't have gone back, since it's not really fun confronting ghosts. But this year, I heard Perry Farrell was putting back together Jane's Addiction, the band who created Lollapalooza as a farewell tour in 1991. 

There was something about the circle of Perry, Eric, Stephen and Dave - my generation's John, Paul, George and Ringo - coming back together, as a new beginning, as bandmates, as friends, which drew me to the site of my dream's last gasp.
"I love them whores they never judge you. Now what can you say when you're a whore?"

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We're  a culture obsessed with fame. People want fame. But they don't know why. They want the result. But they never stop to think about the process, or how much work goes into making it look easy. 

They want to be hot; they want to be quirky; they want to be vice president of The United States of America; and if things don't go their way, they want to quit. I'm sorry. Did I say quit? I meant resign.

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In 1987, I was at The University of Florida. I began writing letters to the editor of the school paper, The Florida Alligator. Soon enough, the editor called to say they were getting letters of complaint about my letters. Then they asked if I wanted my own column.

I asked how long the column would have to be. They said 200 words. I said, "200 WORDS! Are you kidding? That's a lot of words." Then I said dumbest thing I have ever said in my life, "Yes."

"Save The Complaints For Party Conversation. The World Is Loaded. It's Fit To Pop And Nobody Ever Gonna Stop!"

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Once I got hooked on words and ideas and putting myself out there, I craved a bigger hit. A friend of mine, Steven Hymowitz, played piano like nobody I had ever heard. He told me he liked my writing in the school paper. I told him I wanted to sing over his piano playing. Then he said the dumbest thing he ever said in his life, "Okay, Greg."

They say flattery will get you nowhere. They were wrong. Flattery will get you a band which will get you nowhere.

"Idiots Rule!"

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We played music together for 9 years, moving together from Florida to New York City, before getting invited to play Lollapalooza in the summer of 1996. Gumption Trap was an overnight success story. Even with a decade of work, we didn't think we were ready. Truth is, you never really think you're ready.

There's always some idiot who wants to scare you into thinking you're not ready and you'll never be good enough, like the bass player who tortured me in Gumption Trap. The trick is to keep the idiot in your band, treat him like a friend, push through the exhausting doubts, and jam.

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God damn it, JAM!

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13 Comments

Joey Morelli said:

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What the hell does Gumption Trap mean anyways?

Greg Morelli said:

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Gumption Trap means, "Someone Please Notice How Smart I am." Unlike Food Fight, which means, "Look What Happens When 2 Idiot Brothers Open A Restaurant."

Babs said:

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I think maybe 1996 was your (to quote a wise black man)teachable moment!!!

Greg Morelli said:

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Teachable Moment would have been a much better name than Gumption Trap.

Walnut said:

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Teachable Moment would look awful on a t-shirt.

Joey Morelli said:

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Teachable Moment was the name of Greg's follow up band. They played hip hop. Is there anything worse than a north shore boy thinking he can rap?

vinvegas said:

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You bands name should have been "a nickle short."

vinvegas said:

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Perry, Dave, Eric, and Stephen were magical. Only a few people ever get the chance to be so utterly whimsical and truely themselves. Greg, you were just that at the show. It was very cool to watch you hit the pit and bash with the bashers.

Greg Morelli said:

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Got a black eye in the mosh pit. Never in my life have I felt sexier.

vinvegas said:

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You brought a trophie out.

Greg Morelli said:

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I needed to get punched in the face. It was the right kind of hug.

Joey Morelli said:

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If a punch in the face is the right kind of hug, is a kick in the nuts like a pat on the back?

rainbow said:

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greg morelli you need to go to lallapalooza with vince more often

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