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Lollapalooza Diary: Eels Define Coolness

August 5, 2006 3:01 PM ET

>Here's what's hip at this year's festival: beards (see below), flight suits, and a bunch of unexpected cover songs. We know this because today we watched the hairy-faced Eels rock military-inspired flight suits while performing a set that included Tom Waits' "Jesus Gonna Be Here," Peaches' "Rock Show," Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" and Frank Sinatra's "That's Life" — as My Morning Jacket watched in awe from backstage.

The West Coast boys outfits' ranged from strange to stranger: lead singer E (Mark Oliver Everett) dressed as a hairy military bomber, drummer Knuckles wore, as he said backstage, a "racecar driver/rocket pilot/safety inspector kind of thing" and bassist Chet resembled Fidel Castro. But by far the most impressive onstage presence was Krazy Al, who looked like a cross between Mr. Clean and a big-ass mutton-chopped bouncer as he made karate moves and ennacted an incident involving latex gloves, whipped cream and a bit of meditation. We told you they were cool.

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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