What musicians that you enjoy today will still be around in 20 years? It’s tough to say. But the good people of 1999 tried to predict just that in an article that might raise a few eyebrows here in the year 2019.
A weekend editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Scott Mervis, made his predictions in the August 20, 1999 issue of the newspaper. Specifically, Mervis imagined who would be playing the local music festival.
Who will be playing the Wings Cook-Off and Music Fest in the year 2019? Hootie and the Blowfish has a shot, if they can hold out that long. Matchbox 20 might be long forgotten. Pearl Jam and the Dave Matthews Band are too lofty, Korn and Marilyn Manson will always be too dark for wing consumption and Limp Bizkit might cause indigestion. But the Red Hot Chili Peppers—you can bet Flea will be there in his undies. And don’t rule out Stone Temple Pilots, if Weiland can stay afloat. ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys? Sure, there will be some 35-year-old women wanting to relive the summer of ‘99.
So, how did Mervis do? We can’t speak for the Wings Cook-Off festival specifically, but his predictions weren’t too far off. Still, it seems he overestimated the longevity of Scott Weiland and underestimated the ability of bands like Matchbox 20 to score points with nostalgia.
Hootie and the Blowfish? They’re still around and playing huge venues on tour with Barenaked Ladies.
Matchbox 20? It appears they did a “virtual reality” tour last summer.
Pearl Jam? They’re still playing sold out venues to Gen Xers and older Millennials. Though it would seem that 54-year-old frontman Eddie Vedder isn’t having the fun kind of drug trips anymore. His most recently described drug experience involved the bad side effects of prescription medication.
Dave Matthews Band? Saxophonist LeRoi Moore died in 2008, but the band is still touring around the world.
And what about Korn? Mervis insisted that they might be “too dark” for wing consumption and, while we have no idea what that means, Korn is still around and still releasing music.
Marilyn Manson? He’s still around, though recently some have re-evaluated the comments he made to Spin magazine in 2009 when we said that one of his songs from that era was a fantasy about his ex, Evan Rachel Wood, and “smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.” Manson also told the magazine about the day that he called Wood “158 times” while blaming his self-harm on her. Patricia Arquette tweeted last week that such acts weren’t love, but abuse.
Limp Bizkit? Apparently they’re still a thing as well, most recently playing the 12th Annual Musink Tattoo Convention & Music Festival, in Costa Mesa, California last March 8-10. Limp Bizkit reportedly even played some Nirvana covers like “Heart-Shaped Box” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” along with their ‘90s hits like Nookie. According to the Orange County Register, frontman Fred Durst told the crowd “he wanted to turn The Hangar into a giant time machine and that we were going to all party like it was 1999.” Indeed.
Red Hot Chili Peppers? They’re still very much a thing.
Stone Temple Pilots? Lead singer Scott Weiland died in 2015 after a long history of drug abuse. But the band is still performing, though tickets to one upcoming concert are now free “with a Sunday race ticket.”
And last but not least, we come to the boy bands of ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. Justin Timberlake created a successful solo career after ‘N Sync split up in 2002, but the band’s website appears to be more of a living memorial than anything. The Backstreet Boys have had a resurgence, and even released a new album in January and debuted at number one.
The Backstreet Boys will be on tour this summer. But while Mervis predicted that “there will be some 35-year-old women wanting to relive the summer of ‘99,” it’s not just women who want to relive the summer of 1999—an era when Donald Trump was only fleecing business partners and not the entire country. Every decent human being who was alive at the time has at least a little nostalgia for 1999, however imperfect it was.