For Christmas this year, I received a book from my brother (thanks, bro) about the history of MTV. Since then, not only have I read the book cover to cover, but I have been thinking, talking and YouTubeing about those golden days of music television. This is not much different than what me and most of my cohorts are usually talking about, when we're not bemoaning gas prices, recounting the day's Facebook drama, or looking down our noses at "dubstep."
The book was very interesting, consisting only of quotes and anecdotes from musicians, veejays and others involved with MTV from the Aqua Net-soaked '80s up until now, arranged into themed chapters covering topics like spring break, "The Real World," How Nirvana Changed Everything, the Video Music Awards, etc. It even included stories from director / Niles native Dominic Sena, who got his start directing music videos. You really learn about how important MTV was in terms of pop culture, the music industry and how much work went into getting - and keeping it - on the air.
Now, you look at the fake tan-smeared remnants of what once was a playground for misfits, musicians and rock journalism, and you can only shake your head (or SMH, in Twitterspeak). Not even the quiet dignity of Kurt Loder can cancel out the human flotsam that is "Jersey Shore." I know, we have "Beavis & Butt-head" back, and it's actually not that bad. But can we ever go back to those salad days of epic music videos, Pauly Shore, goofy game shows, contests you enter by sending in a postcard, Pauly Shore, "The Week in Rock," and Pauly Shore?
While we may never go back, let's just bask in some MTV memories:
Coming home after school on Monday to watch the episode of "Liquid Television" that my dad recorded for me the night before because I wasn't allowed to stay up past 11;
Wearing my "Beavis & Butt-head" T-shirt to Champion Rollerena for a skating party while attending Turner Middle School;
Watching "Remote Control" for the first time at my cousin's house before we were blessed with cable;
Staying up for the "Live and Loud" New Year's Eve special in 1993 featuring Nirvana, Cypress Hill and the Red Hot Chili Peppers hosting in drag;
Watching the MTV coverage of the O.J. verdict during class at Warren G. Harding High School;
Waiting for the world premiere of the latest Michael Jackson video - and then waiting for the inevitable divorce from Lisa Marie;
Being at a party in my friend's rec room when we saw that Pedro from "The Real World" had died;
When Marilyn Manson showed up and scared the ever-loving bejeebus out of my parents;
Being glued to the TV for days after Kurt Cobain died;
When my friends in the band Sift won a Korn cover band contest and got to be on Total Request Live and meet the band;
How Kurt Loder, John Norris and Tabitha Soren classed up rock journalism - they really held their own during the epic Madonna vs. Courtney Love makeup fight at the VMAs;
Headbanger's Ball, especially when Alice In Chains spent the whole episode at a theme park going down water slides;
The coverage of Woodstock '94, culminating in the Nine Inch Nails mud war, and the iller-fated Woodstock '99, culminating in the world wanting Limp Bizkit's head on a stick;
"The State," "Daria," "Celebrity Deathmatch," "Jackass," "The Osbournes," "The Tom Green Show," "Singled Out" and a plethora of other shows.
There's so much more to be said about MTV, and how it influenced Generation X, Generation Y and Generation Snooki. Music television may never exist in that capacity again, because of technology, changes in the music industry and just because it was an era in time that cannot be recreated. But for now, this was a great column, and I'ma let you finish, but MTV was the best music television channel ever.