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Octa-Gone Lollapalooza represents hip hop like politicians represent their constituents: The biggest cash cow gets milked. For the last seven years, Lollapalooza has filled the hip-hop end of its lineup with acts sure to draw crowds and line Perry Farrell's pockets. Independent hip-hop acts, being less lucrative, were wholly absent. Lollapalooza '96 was the worst yet for hip hop, with not one act on the main, second, or third stages (unless the Shaolin Monks were really rappers in robes). Lollapalooza '97 promised to be the year this changed -- the original second-stage bill contained Dr. Octagon (aka Kool Keith) and the Invisibl Skratch Piklz. DJ Shadow was even scheduled to spin for Dr. Octagon on a few dates. Meanwhile, on the main stage, Snoop Doggy Dog would fill the expected commercial rap slot. Well, wouldn't you know it: Lollapalooza choked. Dr. Octagon recently backed out of the deal, and in turn the Piklz and DJ Shadow pulled their respective plugs. A recent interview in BAM cites Keith as saying he left the tour over unprofessional handling of finances and itineraries by Lollapalooza management. The Skratch Piklz -- consisting of DJs Mixmaster Mike, Shortkut, Q-Bert, Disc, Yoga Frog, and D-Styles -- had arranged to share accommodation expenses with Dr. Octagon, and were therefore forced to bow out. The loss of these three acts leaves hip hop at Lollapalooza in the hands of a reigning potentate of commercial rap: Snoop. Surprise, surprise. (R.A.)

Confidential to Jeff McDonald, Singer and Guitarist for Redd Kross Well, no, dear heart, actually it wasn't any asshole over here who said you sounded like Vince Neil. (We're referring to an outburst from McDonald at a recent Slim's show.) One of the critics here once compared the recent round of Redd Kross haircuts to those of Metallica. Vince Neil's not in Metallica, and hairstyles are a different (though by no means less important) aspect of rock than voices. Maybe you were thinking of some other SF Weekly. Interesting that you brought it up, though. A friend of ours confides that you and your brother Steven took voice lessons from the same person who polished Vince Neil's vocal apparatus. And considering that the latest Mstley CrYe album just debuted at No. 4, you wish you sounded like Vince Neil. (M.B.)

Selvin Watch: The Double Feature The tryout is over and the stats are in. Last week Chronicle Pop Music Editor Joel Selvin returned from his six-week vacation, effectively ending temporary staff critic James Sullivan's tenure in the critic's chair. For those six weeks, Sullivan's job ostensibly was to do Selvin's job -- write about music in San Francisco -- but the gig looked a lot like an opportunity for the 31-year-old free-lancer to show the Chron brass that he had the chops to fill the paper's second pop-critic position -- the one that's been vacant now for 21 months. Color Riff Raff impressed. We appreciated Sullivan's thoughtful, breaking review of the Sleater-Kinney show at the Bottom of the Hill in June, and his story about psychedelia wonderfully bypassed the aging performers and cliches we've come to expect from the Chronicle. Actually, we liked almost everything Sullivan did. (One exception: His article on the rise of women rockers, tied to the Lilith Fair concert. We quit reading that one after we ran into the phrase "First there was Alanis Morissette." And there, frankly, we smelled bad editing.) We felt such a personal connection that we even squirmed for Sullivan when Entertainment Editor Liz Lufkin embarrassed him in a marveling Datebook editor's note. (A recap: Sullivan listened to a CD, he liked it, and he went to a show. The process was apparently unfamiliar to Lufkin after years of editing Selvin.) Anyway, it sure seemed like Sullivan was working hard. In the past, Lufkin has assured us that Selvin is a veritable hive of journalistic honey-making. We didn't believe her. Now, with the help of the Chron archives on the Web and way too much free time, we offer a comparative analysis. Sit back. Since the beginning of the year -- that's six months plus the vacation -- Selvin's pumped out 19,750 words. What did the young Sullivan produce in just six weeks? Hold on to your socks: 14,202 words. (J.S.)

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