When I was a teenager, I looked forward to Sunday night. Sunday night at Midnight (I guess that’s technically Monday morning) was when MTV aired 120 Minutes. 120 Minutes was a weekly music video program that featured Modern Rock* videos and helped to introduce me to a legacy of music that would come to shape my life.
My wife and I just attended the Cure’s San Jose concert for their 4 Tour. It was a great show that was packed full of songs that I have never heard performed live**. It was also a concert packed full of people who did not know much about the Cure or their music. I blame MTV.
When I was growing up, I could count on Dave Kendall (or Dive Kendall, as I used to call him while attempting to mimic his accent) to inform me of when the Cure–or just about any other super-star-modern-rock-band of the time–was going on tour. Each week, we in the audience would be updated with a list of tour dates and exposed to selections from the band’s discography. I remember in 1992 when the Cure toured for their album, Wish, during the weeks leading up to the show, seeing videos for In-between Days, Fascination Street,Never Enough, The Love Cats, etc. That was a kind of education for me. It taught me about this band that had been around for more than ten years, that I knew nothing about. It taught me their songs and inspired me to learn more about the funny man with the big hair and some of the best music that I had ever heard. It also inspired me to go to the show at Spartan Stadium, also in San Jose.
These days, people have the internet and with it they may learn about and discover new things. The problem is that there’s too much on the internet and no direction for the ignorant. I lament*** the loss of 120 Minutes and a generation that will never know the excitement of watching a world premier video at 1:00AM while your parents are trying to sleep, keeping the TV just loud enough to hear the music while not so loud that your sister or brother yells at you for waking them up; a generation that will never see the time warp video, let alone get the “time warp” reference; and a generation that won’t watch Dave Kendall awkwardly interview the idols of your youth (while you secretly realize that Alan Wilder is just as much of a spaz as you are at age 15).
In honor of 120 Minutes (and the Cure), here’s my mini Modern Rock video program:
Here’s a video from Sheffield’s Richard Hawley: Singer, songwriter and former guitarist for Pulp:
Now a live performance by the Dresden Dolls, filmed in San Francisco at the Fillmore on May 18th, 2008:
(Imagine a grainy video montage set to the chorus of Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show)
For more information about the Cure, including their upcoming tour dates, visit www.thecure.com. (Though the internet was still relegated to universities and the like back then, so you probably wouldn’t know how to get to www.thecure.com to find more information. Maybe you would have looked it up on a Prodigy forum, or Compuserve, or maybe even a local BBS).
* I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area and when I was growing up, we called Alternative Music, or Alternative Rock, Modern Rock. I still like the term Modern Rock. To me it’s kind of like a marker that distinguishes the pre-Grunge and post-Grunge era. Modern Rock being the pre-Grunge era and Alternative being the post-Grunge era.
** I’ve seen the Cure live seven times. I thought that by now I would be able to predict their set list with some accuracy. I was wrong.
*** Lament: A word that I learned from the Cure.