# # Too Little, Too Late

Brother, I Can See Your Skull.

Brother, I Can See Your Skull. - The Coreyshead Blog

Too Little, Too Late

I watched MTV with reasonable regularity for about 6 months in 1985/1986. Prior to that my family’s home didn’t have cable. After that I was no longer interested.

MTV seemed pretty exciting at first – rock and roll! – but I was already beginning to veer off pop music’s beaten (to a pulp) path so I’d have to sit through a large number of videos I wasn’t interested in to catch sight of one I was.

Yeah, that’s right: videos. Music videos. That’s just about all MTV used to show, if you can believe it. Endless hours of music videos interspersed with faux news. It was like a radio station. Wacky, eh? The “M” in MTV means “music”. The last time I checked in, they seem to have forgotten that …

Anyway, the luster wore off pretty quickly. I found it a lot more entertaining to watch a particular high school buddy of mine, Jim, come over and fiddle with my mom’s television and cable box controls in an attempt to view the Playboy channel, which we weren’t subscribed to. After about 15 minutes of his twinking you could almost make out a neon-like outline or two within the rolling, pulsing, static filled screen that would somewhat delineate the source of the muffled groans emanating from the speaker. Typically, just after getting it as clear as it was going to get, he’d hear my mom’s car in the driveway and have to frantically switch back to something innocuous. I thought it was a laugh riot but Jim would get pretty juiced up over the whole ridiculous affair. He got pretty juiced up about MTV, too, though.

The only thing that kept me checking in to the channel at all, to be honest, was their airing of insane English comedies like “The Young Ones” and “Monty Python”. I owe a debt of thanks to MTV for airing “The Young Ones.” Without them, I may have never heard of the show. The “music” in Music Television, however, was already losing out.

I continued to watch some MTV up into the early 90’s. You almost couldn’t avoid it back then. There were posters and buttons and tv screens everywhere blaring the channel in your face. If you didn’t want to watch it, undoubtedly one of your friends would.

I used to hang out with a guy who was completely obsessed with the rock and roll culture: long hair, bleached and shredded pants, flying V guitar, Gene Simmons tongue, a penchant for young girls and hard alcohol, a record store job; he had it all – and, of course, at his house, MTV was on 24/7.

By this time, however, despite my association with hair-metal headbangers, I was all about alternative and/or other uncool musics. My biggest music video thrill ever was accidentally stumbling over Tom Waits’ “Temptation” video on some funky, late-night, music video program that aired on Denver’s KBDI channel 12. Now that was the stuff.

Worse, MTV’s content was moving from rock to rap and music videos to … whatever the hell they could think to pull out of their collective ass, or so it seemed to me.

I know everyone out there loved “Beavis & Butthead” but I was working at a mall record store in those days and, frankly, I spent all day serving “Beavis & Butthead”; the last thing I wanted to do was to come home and watch them on TV.

All the rock and roll types were shocked and horrified by the swelling popularity of rap. Crossovers by groups like “Aerosmith” and “Faith No More” stunned us with their perceived treachery and it was with a real grudging sense that we would have to admit respect for the work of artists like “The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy” and “MC 900 Ft Jesus”.

It wasn’t a racial thing, at least not a conscious one, but it was definitely a culture clash. I mean, these guys weren’t even playing instruments, they were just flailing, bobbing, and posing while rhyming about how cool they were, how many women they had screwed, how many friends they had lost, how hard life was, up there on stage, covered in gold chains as thick as your wrist. It was baffling to us. This is music? Music is about pouting, headbanging, motorcycles, heartbreak, and how hard life was, up there on stage, covered in girls, rhinestones, leather, and hairspray.

It was around this time, with the proliferation of the “Yo! MTV Raps” buttons and t-shirts, that I came up with “Oy. MTV Sucks” and “Remember, kids: ‘Yo’ backwards is ‘Oy.'”

I thought myself pretty damned witty and, though I was alone in this and aware of it, I so wanted to produce a shirt that said “Oy. MTV Sucks.” Back then, of course, I didn’t have a computer, photoshop, the internet, money for silkscreening, or even oomph, so I was never able to actually fabricate my petulant dig at pop-culture.

Now that I have access to instant digital gratification, it’s too late and honestly, having not been subjected to MTV in at least 17 years, I have no idea if the channel sucks, rocks, or even exists any more – but I’ve finally realized my angry little dream.

Isn’t that special?

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5 Responses to “Too Little, Too Late”

  1. Roger says:

    If there was one rapper I’d ever think you would like, it was MC 900 Foot Jesus.

  2. cae says:

    To be honest, I preferred Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy (though “Falling Elevators” really blew my socks off …).

    I’ve really been wanting to investigate Public Enemy’s earlier work. I don’t know why, but I have.

  3. Roger says:

    Their first album is great, strong and not political at all. It was all downhill after that point.

  4. cae says:

    Cool. I’ll check it out.

    I think my interest is directly related to having been introduced to Gil Scott Heron in the late 90’s (thanks, Shlomo)

  5. Kris Petersen says:

    I’d hold to the fact that while “Fear of a Black Planet” is quite political, it has such deep roots in more avant-garde music and noise music that it circles back around to makes it interesting. The sampling in it is particularly noteworthy.

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