Day #90: Devo – “Whip It”
I’ve just started reading Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum’s I Want My Mtv: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. Music history just seems much better when it comes in oral history format (and the grunge diaries are next on the reading list). It is a fairly thick volume (albeit an easy read) at nearly 600 pages, which is surprising, considering conversation is mostly limited to the network’s glory years (1981 – 1992).
Some trivia… Mike Nesmith, the moppish guy from the Monkees, had pitched the idea for music video programming for TV around the time Mtv co-creator John Lack was pitching Mtv to Warner’s executives. He was invited to be part of the start-up when they got the okay to create the network, but he declined, saying his vision and their vision for the channel were two different things.
More trivia… Richard Belzer auditioned to be a VJ when Mtv first put out the call that it was hiring hosts. Needless to say, they went with young, fresh faces. Especially young fresh faces that they didn’t have to pay a huge salaries.
Some annoyances… Mike Judge wasn’t among those interviewed!What in the hell is that all about? As much shit as people gave Beavis & Butthead, they were game changers.
Some early favorite quotes… from Mark Mothersbaugh (of Devo) on making videos:
“Whip It” was shot in our rehearsal room. The faux log cabin was made out of the cheapest paneling we could find at Home Depot. We cast a band member’s girlfriend, and when I was at the mall, I saw a girl who was really pretty and really cross-eyed, so I asked if she’d be in the video. It was very casual. My dad’s in about a half dozen Devo videos. Our management and our agents didn’t understand us, and our record company certainly didn’t either.
Ah… TV without money. The good old days.