Music

Rock Stars of the 1990s: Where Are They Now? 

ClintonJake
Updated March 25, 2020 4.5k votes 906 voters 61.8k views 15 items

List Rules Upvote the rock star who you think deserves to be more recognized.

We all remember riding around on hot summer days, rocking out to bands like Sugar Ray and Creed. But now we're older, and whenever someone plays one of those songs, it's strictly with a grin just to see how long it takes for somebody to complain.

Some of the fellas on this list have carved out a nice career for themselves, like Eddie Vedder or even the Gallagher brothers of Oasis to a certain extent. But for some of the other guys, well, yeesh. Some of these dudes have been treading water for the past decade or so. Everyone loved guys like Adam Duritz and Scott Weiland, but the years haven't kind to either one of these rockers.

But where does that leave the famous names behind those songs? Well, they're kind of screwed.
Perry Farrell is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Rock Stars of the 1990s: Where Are They Now?
Photo: Justin Ormont/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

Regardless of whether you liked Jane's Addiction, if you were of an impressionable age in the 1990s, frontman Perry Farrell had an incalculable impression on your music taste as a co-founder of Lollapalooza. It was also kinda hard to escape his high-pitched screech thanks to singles like "Been Caught Stealing" and "Jane Says." 

Since the 1990s, Farrell has kept himself busy with multiple Jane's Addiction reunions. In 2004, he and wife Etty Lau Farrell formed a music and theater project called Satellite Party, about a fictional band called The Solutions, who try to save the world through music. The project lasted four years. 

In 2001, Farrell traveled, along with other members of Christian Solidarity International, to Sudan, to negotiate the release of slaves. The endeavor was successful, and funded by donations from Jane's Addiction. He toured with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello to raise money for the homeless in Los Angeles and to clean up the Ninth Ward of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He has also advocated for green living and for solutions to global warming.

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Michael Stipe is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Rock Stars of the 1990s: Where Are They Now?
Photo: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

REM was one of the biggest rock bands of the '90s, and one of the most important and influential underground groups of the '80s. Enigmatic frontman Michael Stipe, whose poetic lyrics and emotional voice deeply effected even those who had no idea what he was mumbling about, was a major rock celebrity throughout much of the '90s.

Since REM broke up in 2011, Stipe has grown an enormous beard and kept himself busy with everything from performing REM classic "Losing My Religion" with Coldplay at a Hurricane Sandy benefit at Madison Square Garden to inducting Nirvana into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He also spent some time channeling his creative energy into brass and bronze sculpture, which was displayed a gallery in Manhattan in 2016

After performing tributes to David Bowie in 2016 along with pianist and composer Paul Cantelon, know for his compositions for movies like The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Stipe decided to rededicate himself to music. In May 2017, he debuts an audio-visual installation exploring desire and movement at MoogFest, which contains his first-ever solo compositions

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Krist Novoselic is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Rock Stars of the 1990s: Where Are They Now?
Photo:  Joe Mabel/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Krist Novoselic was the bassist for Nirvana. Of the three members, he's probably gotten the least publicity. Aside from playing bass for punk band Flipper, whose biggest publicity spike was when Cobain wore a homemade t-shirt with their logo on Saturday Night Live in 1992, Novoselic has done little in the music world, focusing instead on politics.

He has fought against censorship, founded a political action committee called JAMPAC, and been elected as a state committeeman.

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Billy Corgan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Rock Stars of the 1990s: Where Are They Now?
Photo:  s_bukley/Shutterstock.com

Remember Smashing Pumpkins? The band that usurped Pearl Jam's crown as kings of alternative rock in, say, 1993, and held it until about 1997? The only rock band besides REM and U2 big enough to challenge hip hop and R&B chart hegemony in the mid-90s? The band that put out a 160-minute opus, followed by a box set of b-sides, in which metal, pop, prog, country, folk, electronica, and glam collided in marvelous ways, and which moved something like 10 million units

On top of all that, the Pumpkins have been called Gen X's Pink Floyd, and, when Rolling Stone asked readers to pick the best albums of the '90s, the band was the only group with two records on the list. Yet the Pumpkins broke up in 2000, and when vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter Billy Corgan and original (and since departed) drummer Jimmy Chamberlin reformed the group and released an album in 2007, the music press began throwing rotten eggs, and hasn't stopped since, despite the strength of its 2010s output. 

So what happened to Corgan? After a co-headline Smashing Pumpkins tour with Marilyn Manson in summer 2015 and a maybe abandoned massive song cycle based on the Tarot deck, he's done an acoustic tour under the Pumpkins moniker, during which he reunited with Chamberlin and original SP guitarist James Iha (in Los Angeles). In early 2017, he traveled around the country by train, talking to various people in small towns and playing songs acoustically in random locations, while documenting his trip on Snapchat and through daily video releases. To celebrate his 50th birthday in 2017, he's playing his 50 favorite songs from his collection, recording them, and releasing them. 

On top of all this, Corgan released a few very well regarded albums with super group Zwan in the early 2000s (it went drastically pear-shaped pretty quickly), put out a solo album, owns a tea house called Madam ZuZu's in Highland Park, IL, and has performed a live, improvised, eight-hour analog synthesizer interpretation of Herman Hesse's Siddhartha, which was eventually released in an edited version as a five-LP box set

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