Lewis Largent, a pivotal figure in the world of alternative music, passed away on February 20, 2023, at the age of 58, following a long illness. He began his career in the mid-1980s as an intern at KROQ, a Los Angeles alternative-radio powerhouse, where he quickly rose through the ranks to become a DJ and music director by 1989. He was then offered a position as the Vice President of Music Programming at MTV in 1992, where he hosted the iconic show “120 Minutes” until 1995, interviewing many influential artists along the way, such as Cocteau Twins, Björk, Juliana Hatfield, Pavement, PJ Harvey, Andrew Eldritch, David Bowie and Trent Reznor, and more.
After leaving MTV, Largent continued to work in the music industry, becoming the Senior Vice President of A&R at Island Def Jam Records until 2004. He also returned to college and earned a BA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2011 and an MFA in 2015. His friend and former colleague, Matt Pinfield, expressed his sadness on Facebook, stating that he was “completely gutted” and “at a loss for words.” Doug “Sluggo” Roberts, another former KROQ colleague of Largent’s, recalled how welcoming Largent was when he first joined the station and even personally introduced the debut of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on air. John Norris, a former MTV News correspondent, also expressed his sorrow on Twitter, stating that Largent was always “cool, chill, humble, and kind.”
Lewis Largent is survived by his wife, Julie Greenwald, who is the CEO of Atlantic Music Group, and their two children.
To remember his contributions to the music scene, fans can watch some classic footage of him on “120 Minutes” below.