Former MTV Veejay Martha Quinn is now a deejay and blogger for iHeart80s. On Friday, she posted a bunch of holiday videos from her MTV days, including this gem that reunites the Monkees for a weird medley from Christmas Eve 1986. She writes:
This Monkees video is historic for Monkees fans as it reunited Monkee Mike Nesmith with Monkees Peter Tork, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz!
In the world of MTV this video gives a peek into a new era. We’re welcoming VJs Carolyn Heldman and Downtown Julie Brown, but by this time we’d said good-bye to original VJs JJ Jackson and Nina Blackwood which was part of the transformation to MTV phase 2, that would include Head Banger’s Ball host Adam Curry, VJ Kevin Seal, and Yo! MTV Raps hosts Ed Lover and Doctor Dré. This was our last Christmas video.
But guess what…out of the blue along would come something called “The Internet” and “YouTube.” Thanks to them we can enjoy these videos all over again!!
Eighties fans will enjoy following Martha on Twitter. Read the rest
In 1993, Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails composed music for the first station ID for MTV Japan created by the inimitable Shinya Tsukamoto, director of cyberpunk/horror films like Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989). Of course, Reznor later penned the below theme song for Tsukamoto's 2010 film "Tetsuo: The Bullet Man."
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MTV is reviving two of the greatest shows to ever appear on the channel: Daria and Aeon Flux. The latter will be a live action reboot. Daria, a spin-off from Beavis and Butt-head, was a brilliant black comedy cartoon about a misanthropic teen. Aeon Flux was a fantastically strange animated science fiction series created by Peter Chung that aired as part of the seminal Liquid Television animation showcase produced by the pioneering Colossal Pictures for MTV. From Rolling Stone:
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For its reboot of Daria, MTV Studios announced that the show would tentatively be titled Daria and Jodie to reflect its new focus not just on the original eponymous heroine, but also her friend Jodie Landon. Per a description of the show, "These two smart young women take on the world, with their signature satirical voice while deconstructing popular culture, social classes, gender and race."
It's unclear if Daria and Jodie will be a full reimagining of the original series set at Lawndale High, or if it will catch up with Daria and Jodie in college or young adult life. Daria and Jodie will be helmed by Grace Edwards, who has written for Inside Amy Schumer, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and more.
Meanwhile, Jeff Davis (Teen Wolf, Criminal Minds) and Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead, Fear the Working Dead) will oversee the live-action revival of Aeon Flux. The show will follow the titular assassin as she "teams up with a group of biohacking rebels in the not too distant dystopian future to battle a brutally repressive regime and save humanity."
Norwegian band a-ha recently took to the stage to sing an acoustic version of their 1985 hit song, "Take On Me." It's nice to hear that lead singer Morten Harket can still hit those high notes after all these years.
The band will begin an MTV Unplugged acoustic tour through Europe in early 2018, followed by a full-electric tour in the summer.
Previously: A-ha! This app turns your living room into a 1980's music video using augmented reality Read the rest
In 1992, Pearl Jam released director Mark Pellington's fantastically dark video above for the song "Jeremy." (Pellington was also the creator of MTV's incredible avant-garde documentary video series Buzz that I've posted about previously.) Actor Trevor Wilson was only 12 years old when he portrayed the troubled student in the "Jeremy" clip. Most of the world last saw Wilson on screen with Pearl Jam at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards before he totally disappeared from the public eye. Turns out, Wilson drowned last August while on vacation in Puerto Rico. Over at Billboard, my pal Gil Kaufman tells the "Untold Story of Video Star Trevor Wilson's Fascinating Life & Tragic Death:"
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Cinematographer Tom Richmond remembers sitting next to Pellington in the director's Los Angeles home and watching endless VHS audition tapes from New York of kids vying to play the (anti-)hero of the "Jeremy" video. It became pretty clear early into the nearly 200 auditions that the kids they were watching were "typecasty," as if they'd read Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder's lyrics about an outcast high schooler -- based on the true story of Dallas 16-year-old Jeremy Delle, who killed himself in front of his classmates in 1991 after years of torment -- and decided they were had the perfect look and attitude for the part.
"In a cliché movie about junior high it would have been the picked-on kid, the outcast who looked funny or strange, and I could tell Mark was dissatisfied with that idea," says Richmond of the parade of odd-looking and over-acting kids they watched, whose performances felt a little too on-the-nose.
First aired in 1994 as a Beavis and Butt-Head spinoff, Daria was a fantastic animated series about a whip-smart, sardonic, misanthropic highschool girl, her punk friend Jane, and a familiar gang of jocks, dimwits, and cool cats. Daria, the show and the character, was funny, feminist, emo, and awesome. La la la la la. Vice has an oral history of Daria:
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Daria was put together by Harvard-educated Lampoon alum Glenn Eichler and Susie Lewis, who spent her days at Temple University doodling MTV logos on notebooks until a classmate suggested she get an internship at the network. His book smarts combined with her street smarts and pop culture knowledge, in a dynamic not dissimilar to that of Daria and her best friend, Jane Lane. They made their project work without a singular creative mastermind like (Beavis and Butt-Head creator Mike) Judge, who wanted nothing to do with the spin-off and was on his way out the door to bigger (and much more lucrative projects) with Fox anyway.
Daria ended up being the longest-running show to come out of MTV's Animation department, surpassing even Beavis and other cultural touchstones like Celebrity Deathmatch...
David Felton, Beavis and Butt-Head writer and creator of the character Daria Morgendorffer): In my script, Daria was ordered to work with Beavis and Butt-Head on a science experiment because their project was a disaster. It seemed like it would be interesting if they had someone to back them up who was a female, but not a sexual object. They certainly didn't think of her in sexual terms—they'd ask her about sexual things, but they called her "Diarrhea" instead of "Daria."
Enjoy the delightful music video for the Was (Not Was) song "Hello Dad, I'm in Jail" (1987), directed by Christoph Simon. This clip was a favorite of many viewers of Liquid Television, MTV's fantastic animation showcase produced in the early 1990s by Boing Boing's pals at Colossal Pictures. (Thanks, UPSO!)
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On August 1st, 1981 the world changed and MTV launched. With a bunch of unprofessional VJs who could sometimes barely cue up tapes MTV went through a lot of growth and changes, from Yo! MTV Raps to Beavis and Butthead, there was a time MTV spoke to me.
I'll never forget the Remote Control theme either. MTV lost me as soon as the reality tv stuff started...
They also knew how to run a Presidential campaign.
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In 1991, MTV, back when it was edgy and relevant, commissioned Rev. Ivan Stang of The Church of the SubGenius -- the religion, disguised as a joke (or is it a joke disguised as a religion?) -- to make a television spot as part of the network's fantastic Art Break series of short films.
"Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO did the music and the miniatures and masks were created by the late St. Joe Riley," Stang writes.
Above is that video. Below is a documentary that Stang edited into a souvenir for the cast and crew. Praise Bob! (Thanks, UPSO!)
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Happy birthday to singer/songwriter Jill Sobule, and happy 20th anniversary to her 1995 indie hit "I Kissed a Girl." It was edgy enough at the time to play on MTV's 120 Minutes.
Though the song title is associated with the Katy Perry song of the same title at this point, 90s adults will get this. Perry was still in elementary school when Sobule shook things up with her non-binary anthem, which helped pave the way for so much of the women-centric folk and roots music of the 1990s, from Lilith Fair and beyond. It's the birthday gift that keeps giving!
• I Kissed a Girl (1995)
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Whatever you might think of MTV or movies, you can at least count on the MTV Movie Awards to be a pretty fun affair. And the next one will be hosted by the fantastic Rebel Wilson, so there's even more reason to tune in to MTV for the first time in, what, twenty years? The MTV Movie Awards will air Sunday, April 14. (via VH1 Celebrity) Read the rest
MTV is apparently developing a new series called The Experiment that will be shot in the style of The Blair Witch Project and the Paranormal Activity franchise, incorporating the scary, creepy element of found footage. I'd turn my nose up at this idea if I didn't think it was so groovy -- if it was executed well.
For those of you keeping score, NBC will attempt to revive the '90s through sitcoms, MTV will do it with horror. Advantage: MTV. I never thought that would happen. Read the rest