Adam Curry, BET, Half-Hour Comedy Hour, Headbangers Ball, Metal Mania, MTV, Podcasts, Princeton, Real World, Remote Control, Road Rules, That Metal Show, USA Netork, VH1, VH1 Classic, West Virginia, WSNC, Yo! MTV Raps
I miss MTV. The real MTV, when it was called Music Television. Now, it’s just Miscellaneous Television. Before reality shows and teenage dramas the teenage drama was through music videos and the stories they told or attempted to fabricate. I learned a lot about music because of it. I, in turn, missed out on a lot of music because of it, too. If it wasn’t on MTV, it wasn’t being heard; at least by me.
I’m from a very small town in West Virginia and when I lived there, there was no MTV. My video exposure was on TBS on a video show that aired on Friday and Saturday nights, called Night Tracks. It was a great thing. And, if the fam went on vacation we may fight Night Flight on USA Network, but that was rare, my fam wasn’t a vacationing family (maybe that’s why I love it so much now?). Now, my grandparents lived in a town called Princeton and they had MTV. I knew of MTV but had to wait until I went to their house to see it. Videos really took off around 1982-83 or so. In 1981, when it was just starting, the concept, while not new, wasn’t the normal marketing tool that it would become. Back to the early- to mid-’80s when videos were starting to become abundant, MTV would “world premiere” videos at five minutes past the hour. It was at said grandparents’ house that I saw, at 1:05am on a Saturday night in 1984, the debut of “Heavens on Fire” by KISS.. I didn’t know the new album had come out and when I heard it was coming on, I tried to stay awake. I had fallen asleep a couple of times but woke up two minutes prior, just in time to see it. It was great (well not so great now, but nostalgia).
I moved to NC and we had MTV as well as VH1, BET (which I watched a lot of) as well as Nigh Flight because we also had USA. I was awash in video heaven. I’d rush home, walking quite briskly from school in order to catch Hard 30 (or Hard 60) which was all about the hard rock stuff that I really loved. Friday Night Video Fight was still going then. Also, Rock Blocks which would feature blocks of videos from one artist or band. Then Headbanger’s Ball came along which has a connection to where I am now in life. Adam Curry, who was the VJ host of HBB (after Kevin Seal and before Riki Rachtman) is now known as the “Podfather” and basically created the format of the modern podcasts. When 120 Minutes showed up, it kind of lost me as I didn’t understand the alternative stuff that was being played. I have learned to love that stuff. I was stupid back then. I did even watch Yo! MTVRaps. That was still when that genre was still fun, too.
Once Remote Control, The Half-Hour Comedy Hour and Liquid Television showed up, I knew it was the beginning of the end. Real World and Road Rules was the end of it. It was never the same and the videos I loved started to be phased out, as was the quality of popular music. Music, to me, while still enjoyable to an extent, is a pale comparison to what it once was, both during and before MTV’s heyday. Then VH1 stopped doing the videos right after. BET gave up early, Night Flight was gone from USA by 1988. MTV2 came along in the 90s and tried the video-only thing. It wasn’t the same. MuchMusic from Canada was a relief for me once I got the BUD (big ugly dish) in 1994. That played videos but then it, too, faded and was bought out to become what we know today as Fuse.
Fast forward to today. I will say that I love the concept of VH1 Classic. I especially liked the way it first showed up: ALL VIDEOS. But, as is par for the course, they have gotten away from that concept and while they still show videos, it’s really become the That Metal Show channel. It seems like they play reruns of that anytime they’re given the chance. I love that show but can only see the same episode with Dee Snider or Eddie Trunk kissing Michael Schenker’s behind so many times. Metal Mania (which is closely named like the show pre-HBB) is basically what HBB was. Rock & Roll Picture Show with movies that have nothing to do with music or videos but do have to do with the 70s or 80s, which I guess is okay, but why do they need them? Play videos! They do play the Behind the Music episodes from VH1 and that’s cool.
The part that bugs the snot out of me the most is that it’s not in HD. I know the videos were not in HD, but HD broadcast would clean that up a bit. The videos would still look oldish, which is okay, I want that. But, SD broadcasts on HD televisions makes everything look fuzzy and blurry. I’ve seen plenty of SD programming broadcast over an HD and the difference is vast. It hurts my eyes to watch it now. They can change that signal to an HD signal. They have the money.
I don’t know, Dear Reader, maybe I’m living in the past? Maybe I’m being nostalgic? Perhaps it’s longing for something long gone? Who knows really? What do you think about all this? Do you feel this way? Do you miss MTV the way it used to be? Drop me a line and let me know. I like the interaction.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“When you get something like MTV, it’s like regular television. You get it, and at first it’s novel and brand new and then you watch every channel, every show. And then you become a little more selective and more selective, until ultimately… you wind up with a radio.” – David Lee Roth