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Morrissey talks to nobody on MTV, 1985
11.26.2014
06:27 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Morrissey
MTV


 
I can hardly think of a better format for a Morrissey interview than this: in 1985, MTV’s monthly weirdomusic program IRS Records Presents the Cutting Edge put him in a room alone with a camera and a pile of envelopes each containing a one-word topic, like “fashion,” “money,” “music,” and so forth. The Smiths’ vocalist simply opened the envelopes and expounded the topics given therein (and it’s a goddamn shame none of those envelopes contained the names of any bands he disliked). The results are, unsurprisingly, classic Morrissey. Would it surprise you to learn that he thinks every art form he can name is a dying art, and that the greatest art form is the one he happens to be known for? Of course it wouldn’t.

Allowing that this was probably sourced from someone’s VHS dub of the broadcast, it looks like even by 1985 standards that that was kind of a shit video camera in there with him—the whole thing has the hazy and noisy feel of old surveillance footage. The entire video was broken up into several segments and spread out through the broadcast, but what’s here just contains the edited-out Morrissey segments. Bafflingly, the beginning is labeled “Part 2,” and there’s a lot of needless overlap between the two parts. I’ve set it up to play here in the proper order without the loads of overlap. The alternative was to post a ghastly looking and sounding screen-shot video.
 

 
The rest after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on ‘MTV Live ‘N’ Loud,’ 1997
11.11.2014
05:55 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
MTV
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds


 
In 1997, around the release of The Boatman’s Call, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds taped an episode of MTV’s Live ‘N’ Loud. Since Boatman was a significantly more sedate record than its predecessor, Murder Ballads, the “Loud” part of the title maybe wasn’t such a hot fit for the band’s music at the time, but the broadcast nonetheless featured a superb short set, shot in low-key black and white, of four Boatman songs, plus “The Carny” from 1986.

This MTV taping came less than a year, mind you, after Cave declined his nomination for an MTV music award with one of the funniest refusals of all time. (His problem wasn’t with MTV per se, but with competitions in the arts, though he has plenty of other awards, so who knows what was really up.) The jaw-dropping passage “MY MUSE IS NOT A HORSE AND I AM IN NO HORSE RACE AND IF INDEED SHE WAS, STILL I WOULD NOT HARNESS HER TO THIS TUMBREL—THIS BLOODY CART OF SEVERED HEADS AND GLITTERING PRIZES” would, in a better world, be immortal. The letter is still published in its entirety on Cave’s site, and also here on Dangerous Minds, so if you wish to read it at either of those places, knock yourself out, the video will still surely be here when you’re done.

Here’s the set list with rough start times if you want to skip to something:
00:21 “Into My Arms”
05:02 “Brompton Oratory”
08:51 “West Country Girl”
11:46 “Far From Me”
17:46 “The Carny”
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Beck, Thurston Moore, and Mike D’s ridiculous jam on MTV, 1994


 
Mass culture machines love the status quo—a salesman, after all, is fattest and happiest when he knows what’ll sell and how to sell it. So when a sudden zeitgeist shift catches them with their pants down, it can be illuminating to watch them try to pull them back up. When the reset button got pushed in the early ‘90s and cult figures whose worldviews revolved around aggressive abnormality suddenly became the new rock royalty, things could get pretty damn funny.

One noteworthy moment was when Sonic Youth‘s Thurston Moore guest hosted MTV’s late night alternaghetto 120 Minutes. In the 1980s, that show featured some legitimately outré artists, but by 1994 watching that show was no longer significantly different from listening to commercial radio. Because of Moore’s untouchable underground bona fides, featuring him injected a fresh dose of off-the-path credibility into that show, and his interview with the then newly-rising Beck was pretty hilarious. Watch it here, it’s worth a few minutes of your life.

But weirder still is this bit of insanity from the same broadcast—Moore, Beck, and the Beastie Boys’ Mike D collaborating on a noise jam. This is what happens when you let the freakshow into the big tent—Dada in mass media. Rigoddamndiculous.
 

 
Hat-tip to Mr. Rob Galo for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Vintage MTV: ‘Punks and Poseurs: A Journey Through the Los Angeles Underground’
08.21.2014
09:29 am

Topics:
Music
Pop Culture
Punk
Television

Tags:
MTV
The Dickies
GBH


This kid.

Knowing firsthand that MTV didn’t always totally suck asswater really dates you. When I have occasion to mention how, once upon a time, that justly-reviled network actually played some seriously cool shit, I half wonder if I’m coming off like my grandma used to when she talked about the Great Depression. But it’s true, even before long-running bones thrown to the weirdos like 120 Minutes and Headbanger’s Ball found their footing, MTV broadcast stuff like IRS’ The Cutting Edge and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes, which often rivaled even the USA Network’s mighty Night Flight for genuinely informative freak-scene value.

One jaw-droppingly excellent MTV show was the one-off special Punks and Poseurs: A Journey Through the Los Angeles Underground. A big mover behind its production was Charles M. Young, who, as sad fate would have it, passed away this week after a standoff with a brain tumor. He’s the guy at the beginning of the video, speaking with early VJ Alan Hunter, and while he looks for all the world like an unreconstructed Little River Band fan, don’t be faked out by appearances. Young was one of the first mainstream music journalists to take punk’s aesthetic merit as a given, and for that, we owe him a debt of gratitude. May he rest in peace.

At its core, “Punks and Poseurs” is a narration-free concert film, but it’s cut with terrific interview footage that explores the changing nature of punk, from insider and outsider perspectives. There’s a lot of great footage with writer/performers Pleasant Gehman and Iris Berry, torpedoing the influx into the music scene of neophyte phonies who just didn’t get it, explaining title of the program. (After this first aired in 1985, a bunch of the new waver/Durannie chicks at my high school—which is to say all the girls who were trying their suburban Ohio best to look like Gehman and Berry—started calling everyone “poseurs,” which was pretty funny.) There’s also a hilarious interview with employees at a store called “Poseur,” which sold punk fashions and accessories—people had to get that shit somewhere before Hot Topic forever banished punk to the mall, no?  Also keep an eye out for the kid giving a primer on how to fashion liberty spikes with Knox gelatine.

The performance footage mostly focuses on excellent, high-energy sets by The Dickies and GBH —the latter of whom were quite radical by MTV’s regular programming standards (and British, contra the program’s subtitle, but the concert took place in L.A., so whatever, I guess). There’s also an early glimpse of the excellent and still active Italian hardcore band Raw Power. I harbor serious doubts they’ve ever been spotted on that network again.
 

 
Many thanks to upstanding journalist and total fucking poseur Mr. Erick Bradshaw for this find.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
‘Way USA’: Sleazy punk comedy travelogue is the greatest cult video you’ve probably never seen
The time Ian McKellen jammed with the Fleshtones on MTV in 1987
Debbie Harry, Ramones, Nick Rhodes, Courtney Love and more on MTV’s ‘Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes’

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The time Ian McKellen jammed with the Fleshtones on MTV in 1987


 
Last week, we told you about the short-lived MTV series Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes, a brilliant and unimpeachably hip NYC countercultural olio that the famous pop artist curated and co-hosted for the music network before its final descent into full suck. I combed the Internet for videos from that show in an effort to be as comprehensive as possible. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you how many hours I spent looking, actually. But despite all that effort, OF COURSE I missed something brilliant, and lucky I am that an attentive reader clued me in.
 

 
Just before they set off on their Fleshtones Vs. Reality tour in 1987, NYC’s Fleshtones—a great band who’d combined early psych cool, surf-rock twang, R&B swagger, and shitloads of cheeky, high energy fun—taped two segments for Warhol’s show. This confluence of personalities was a perfectly natural one—Fleshtones singer Peter Zaremba was in Warhol’s orbit going back to the days when he lived in a loft across the street from Warhol’s Factory, and he was, at the time, also the host of his own MTV program, the excellent IRS’s The Cutting Edge. (It’s such a damn shame The Fleshtones never really took off big—back in those days, Zaremba seemed to me like such an unfuckwithable ambassador/avatar of cool.) The band first did a madcap lip-syncing of their song “Return of the Leather Kings.”
 

 
And while that was great fun, it’s the second segment they taped that should be far, far better known than it is. In it, the band jams while Ian freakin’ McKellen recites a Shakespearean sonnet. It’s my good fortune that the reader who tipped me off to this happens to be the man who literally wrote the book on the Fleshtones, Sweat: The Story of the Fleshtones, America’s Garage Band, music writer Joe Bonomo. (Among other works, Bonomo also wrote a dandy 33 1/3 on AC/DC.) I quote here from Sweat, page 256:

The pairing with McKellen was fantastic: as the actor dramatically recited Shakespeare’s “Twentieth Sonnet,” the Fleshtones accompanied him in the background, creating ambient psychedelic music. The kind of marriage of high and low art prized by Warhol, the union provided all concerned with kicks. The guys invited McKellen down to the Pyramid with them after the taping, and he gladly came along for some alternative East Side divertissement. (When the performance was released the next year on the Time Bomb compilation, the Fleshtones were able to enjoy one of the more notable songwriting credits in recent pop history: “Zaremba / Milhizer / Spaeth / Warren / Streng / Shakespeare”.)

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Andy Warhol, wrestling fan?


 

“I’m speechless. I just don’t know what to say.”

At some point during the 1980s, it made sense that MTV would try do something to take advantage of the pop culture juggernaut that was the World Wrestling Federation and some perceived rock/wrestling crossover that probably just boiled down to Cyndi Lauper’s dad being played by Captain Lou Albano in her “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video and little else.

“The War to Settle the Score” was a series of WWF matches with a storyline that involved Albano, Lauper and her manager David Wolff (I won’t bother to explain it in detail, but Albano was a manager and Wolff and Lauper are trying to steal clients.) “Rowdy” Roddy Piper got pissed off about the whole MTV connection and this brought another “feud” into the storyline, but also in real life.

Piper was disqualified from the championship match against Hulk Hogan and a brawl erupted.  At one point, Cyndi Lauper, who had rushed the ring with Mr. T to support Hogan, was kicked in the head.

Since the event was live, MTV had cameras set up backstage to interview Hogan, Lauper, Mr T and Albano afterwards, but Andy Warhol apparently opened the wrong door and was pulled into an impromptu interview with “Mean Gene” Okerlund.

You’ll notice that Okerlund refers to the Pope of Pop as a “one of the greatest wrestling fans” at the end.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Video Killed the Radio Star — but who killed it first?


 
It’s one of the most widely known bits of pop culture trivia—when MTV launched in August of 1981, the very first music video it showed was the prophetic “Video Killed the Radio Star,” a popular single from the Buggles’ Age of Plastic LP. That alone made the cutesy synthpop novelty into the stuff of unforgettable legend, but the telling of the legend typically excludes the song’s origins. Multiple versions of the song predated the one we all know. Buggles Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes had been members of Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club, with whom they originally wrote and recorded the song. There were multiple single versions, like this much more revved-up take on the song than we’re used to:
 

Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” US single
 
This more polished version was the UK single:
 

Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” UK single
 
And here’s a live version from 1979, after the Buggles’ version had become popular:
 

Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club, “Video Killed the Radio Star,” live, 1979
 

 
The Camera Club was quite an incubator for talent. Thomas Dolby was an early keyboardist for the band, and Horn and Downes famously and incongruously went on from the Buggles to join Yes. Later still, Horn became the producer/architect of the radical early work of Art of Noise, while Downes stayed with Yes’ guitarist Steve Howe in the massively successful prog/pop supergroup Asia. Other Camera Club members went on to play in Re-Flex and The Soft Boys, but Woolley himself remained a mostly behind-the-scenes talent as a producer and songwriter, though he has maintained a performance and recording profile—as a theremin player! The man’s CV is actually quite enviable, with credits that include Grace Jones’ Slave to the Rhythm, plus film music for Caddyshack, Toys, and Moulin Rouge.

Motion footage of Woolley in performance is maddeningly elusive—ironically, and kind of comically, no video seems to exist of the original version of “Video Killed the Radio Star.” But on that hunt, I found this clip from 2004—evidently only the Buggles’ second ever live performance of the song, featuring Horn, Downes, and Woolley, plus the original backup singers from the ‘70s single, who still sound just absolutely terrific.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Killer interview: Henry Rollins shoots the shit with Jerry Lee Lewis, 1995
09.09.2013
09:29 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Henry Rollins
MTV
Jerry Lee Lewis

Rollins and Lewis
 
It’s always a treat to see Henry Rollins interviewing anyone, even more so when it’s one of the early architects of rock ‘n’ roll. Hank’s hosting skills are exceptional. Clearly a fan, he’s very proficient in the relevant rock history, and he knows how to keep an interview interesting. But Jerry Lee Lewis? I mean, hey I love Jerry Lee Lewis’ music, but Jerry Lee Lewis is just as well-known for being a dirtbag as he is for his amazing music.

I don’t expect Rollins to give a damn about petty ethics, of course, but he’s a man with a reputation for being just a teensy bit self-righteous and rigidly moral. It’s weird to watch him interview an artist who very publicly married his 13-year-old cousin, as if there’s not a giant pervy elephant in the room. (And before you go all cultural relativist on me, cousin-marrying was not more common in the south than anywhere else in the US, and while marriages average younger in poorer communities, I can assure you, an adult marrying a 13-year-old would still be considered fucking creepy by every old redneck I know.)

Still, Lewis has great stories about Sun studios, and intergenerational rock ‘n’ roll kibitzing is always a fascinating thing to watch.
 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
L7 interviewing Nick Cave, George Clinton, The Beastie Boys & more at Lollapalooza 1994


 
L7 on MTV interviewing The Breeders, Green Day, The Beastie Boys, George Clinton, Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, A Tribe Called Quest and more at Lollapalooza 1994. Poet Maggie Estep is also featured.

This was when MTV still had a connection to music.

The bit with George Clinton is ridiculously cool.
 

 
Part two and some awesome live footage of LZ after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Cornish Acid: Aphex Twin MTV special from 1996


“Come To Daddy” sleeve painted on “SAW2” cassettes by Sami Havia
 
This is a treat for fans of IDM and ambient music - a 70 minute, 1996 Aphex Twin special from MTV UK’s Party Zone dance program. There’s an interview with Richard James, numerous videos, some live footage from the Big Love festival, and an extended extract from the Warp Records’ film Westworld, a collaboration between Aphex Twin and visual artists Stakker.

There’s always been something about James that has struck me as bratty - from the tales of driving tanks through central London to numerous reports from friends of spending relatively large sums on tickets only for James not to play, or not to play properly. This interview doesn’t really do much to dispel that, but it does give a bit of insight into his working methods at the time, and goddamit his tunes are good. So sit back, relax, and zone out:
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Lagos Party: Two days in Nigeria with Africa’s biggest music stars


 
Dangerous Minds pal Rod Stanley, the editor of the mighty Dazed and Confused magazine, and photographer Chris Saunders recently made a trip to Nigeria and returned with a short film about the country’s vibrant musical scene:

At the end of last year, Dazed travelled to Lagos, Nigeria, for the third annual MTV Africa Music Awards, an event that had drawn performers from all over the continent, as well as a few international names such as Chuck D, Eve and Rick Ross. The real stars for me on this trip though were all the African performers that we spoke to, photographed and partied with while we were there – people like Uganda’s party boys Radio & Weasel, Nigeria’s first lady of R&B Sasha, Angola’s colourful kuduro crew Cabo Snoop, and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s fashion-mad Fally Ipupa.

Many of them told stories of how a lack of a royalty system and widespread music piracy are hampering the development of their music industry, and how they see themselves as a pioneers laying the groundwork for the generation that will follow them. This short film introduces all of the above and more, with some of their music videos and the insanely hectic atmosphere of the city of Lagos itself.

Photo gallery at Dazed Digital.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Drew Friedman’s Uncle Louie on MTV’S ‘Liquid Televison’

image
 
Two Uncle Louie segments from MTV’s Liquid Television series, 1994. These were drawn by the fabulous Drew Friedman.

Drew has a new book out ‘Too Soon?: Famous/Infamous Faces 1995-2010’. It’s a collection of scathingly funny portraits of celebrities and politicians.

Subjects (or targets, depending on how you look at it) for Friedman’s pen on the political side include Bill and Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John McCain, and George W. Bush (with an iconic “W. as Strangelove” image) and his gang. Entertainers include Tiny Tim, Barney Fife, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Jerry Lewis, the Three Stooges, Ellen DeGeneres, and Conan O’Brien. And falling somewhere in the gray area between entertainers and political players (you make the call!) Rush Limbaugh (who blasted Friedman’s George W. Bush image as being of “low artistic quality”), Sarah Palin, and Michael Moore.

 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Jersey Shore: Best Show Ever?
12.11.2009
06:38 pm

Topics:
Media

Tags:
MTV
Jersey Shore
Guidos

image

While not a general fan of the reality TV genre, I did catch the first episode of MTV’s new “Jersey Shore” show online recently and have to say it’s some of the best TV ever. Largely because there’s nothing funnier than NJ Guidos. Especially the prime specimens MTV has picked to star in the show: utterly self-obsessed, plastic freaks with names like “The Situation” (in honor of his abs) and “J-WOWW.” Apparently the MTV offices are getting regular death threats from real guidos incensed at the portrayal of their ilk. Amazing. Cracked did a rundown of the show so far here:

MTV?

Posted by Jason Louv | Leave a comment