It was April 5, 1994. I had just gotten home from high school, and was playing a video game while listening to late great New York alt-rock and new wave station WDRE when the deejay broke in to say a body had been found in Kurt Cobain's home. As the story unfolded, I quickly shut off the video game and turned MTV on. Within minutes, Kurt Loder came on with a special report to break the news of the Nirvana frontman's suicide. Loder -- the voice of my generation in many ways -- remained on the air with industry pros discussing Cobain's legacy and the importance of his music. It eased some of the pain of the artist's death by simply listening and watching the coverage. We need that today, and we're not getting it. MTV used to make music news, cover it, and sometimes break it. It hasn't done that for decades, and it doesn't seem like they will ever again.
When Whitney Houston died a few months back, the network went silent, choosing to show its rebroadcast of the ever-important Teen Mom 2 series in its entirety. I suppose cutting into programming to cover the biggest death in music since the King of Pop was too much for the one-time giant. An hour or so ago, Twitter blew up with news that Adam Yauch, one-third of pioneering rappers the Beastie Boys, had passed away. I found myself looking for someone like Loder to not just tell me the news, but to cover it like the music news story it is. Instead, I had to rely on TMZ to confirm the story, and for Rolling Stone to confirm the news.
When you have to rely on TMZ for news -- that really says something. There has been a huge void in music since the days of Loder and Tabitha Soren, and we need it back. Reality TV killed the music video star. It's time for MTV to return to its roots. The music has been gone long enough. So has the credibility... the revolution? It's dead. I want my MTV back. I want Gilbert Gottfried cutting promos. I want to watch music videos of my favorite artists and new ones I never heard of. I want to mourn the death of an icon by watching tributes on a so-called music station. Yauch and the Beasties were pioneers in the hip hop and pop culture world. This news hurts. I have been a long-time fan of the triple trouble boys ever since I purchased "License to Ill" and saw their "Fight For Your Right" video for the first 2,000 times. I've always admired the group's music, advocacy (free Tibet), and other passion projects. Over the years, I've seen them in concert about eight times -- the last of which was at Madison Square Garden with one of my best buds and longtime Beastie devotee Rich Tarantino in 2004.
Reality TV killed the music video star. It's time for MTV to return to its roots. Cut the crap, cut into your programming now, and discuss Yauch's legacy (SiriusXM's Alt-Nation is as we speak), and how damn influential the Beastie Boys were and are. Return to a time long before Snooki and deadbeat teen moms infested the station like roaches to a city studio and... to MCA, thank you, and rest in peace.
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