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Lewis Largent, Former Music Director of KROQ and MTV VJ, Dies at 58

Lewis Largent, who helped bring alternative rock to the American mainstream with his work at Los Angeles’ KROQ-FM and on MTV, died on February 20. He was 58 years old.

His death, which came after a long illness and was first reported by Variety, was confirmed by a source close to Largent’s family, who did not specify an exact cause or say where Largent died.

Growing up in Southern California, Largent began his music career in the mid-1980s with an internship at KROQ, the tasteful modern rock station that was crucial to breaking groups like Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bad Religion. . In 1989 he became the musical director of KROQ, but left the station only a few years later for MTV, where in 1992 he took over as host of the video channel’s Sunday night alternative music show, “120 Minutes”. Among the many era-defining acts he interviewed on the show were PJ Harvey, Pavement, Björk and the Goo Goo Dolls.

In 1995, Largent handed over the hosting duties to Matt Pinfield, who wrote on Twitter Friday that he was “completely devastated” by the news of Largent’s death. Largent remained at MTV as director of music programming and was later promoted to vice president of music and arts development at the influential cable network. He left MTV in 1999 for a senior A&R position at Island Def Jam Records, where he worked with Sum 41 and former House of Pain rapper Everlast, among other acts. He resigned from the label in 2004.

According to Variety, Largent, whose survivors include his wife, Atlantic Music Group Chairman and CEO Julie Greenwald, and their two children, received degrees in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College following his career in the music industry.