Budget cuts and loss of staff and original programming may spell the end of this once proud music video behemoth
If you grew up in the ’80s, ’90s or even early 2000s, and lived in what felt like nowheresville, then you probably spent an incalculable amount of hours watching MuchMusic. True talk.
Ah, the antics of the VJ. The bland sameness of mainstream rock video countdowns. The terrible music-esque related programming of shows such as “The Chris Isaak Show” or “Gonna Meet A Rockstar”. And the occasional chuckle courtesy of gravel-throated Ed the Sock. Embarrassingly, I still remember the time I got to go on Speakers’ Corner to request a video (I may or may not have asked to see Ace of Base’s “The Sign”). Even so, pre-internet, MuchMusic was one of the best ways to soak up an endless babbling stream of music. It was also a really good way to waste a lot of time. More true talk.
But, after a series of budget cuts were announced yesterday, it seems like the music channel behemoth has been effectively ended. According to sources, several shows on MuchMusic are ceasing production, resulting in the loss of scores of jobs. Cue in all the syndicated shows and crap like South Park, which you probably just stream for free off the internet anyway.
Yeah, we haven’t watched MuchMusic in years. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to get a lil’ weepy about it going the way of the flushed turd either.
Here are seven reasons why we fell in love with MuchMusic:
Sook-Yin Lee ruled. At a time when most of the MuchMusic VJs were Steve Anthony, Sook-Yin brought a strong, vibrant personality to the show. She was also in a band that was, at the time for me anyway, hard to explain, but nonetheless compelling. And she seemed to be a part of all the music that I was digging at the time. Also, she was on that show Sliders, which is more than a little bizarre. Eh.
MuchMusic (sadly) was my introduction to So-Cal punk rock
How else would we have known what punk looked like (or acted) if not for the endless cycling of videos from bands such as Bad Religion’s “Incomplete”, Offspring’s “Gotta Get Away” or Green Day’s “When I Come Around”? But the video that really ignited my poseur ass was Rancid’s “Salvation” – it provided the sepia-coloured blueprint for everything my 14-year-old self wanted in life: a cool leather jacket, a mohawk, and a gang of friends who could bail me out when the cops inevitably came knocking. Sigh.
MuchMusic brought us Ren and Stimpy
Billed as one of their first non-music video presentations, MuchMusic began broadcasting episodes of Ren and Stimpy, which in turn spawned dangerous “whizzing on the electric fence” dares and “you eeediot” catchphrases. When the station initially pulled the plug, Much decided to hold a 24-hour Ren and Stimp-a-thon, which meant staying up late and giggling at an emaciated dog yelling at a plump cat. Classic.
Pop Up Video was actually kind of funny
Remember how a lot of those videos that Much would play were actually really cruddy and how you and your friends who just make fun of them even though you were the ones wasting your time anyway? Pop Up Video was one of the few redeeming moments where you could watch something insipid and get a good chuckle out of it in the end. After all, did anyone actually think Lisa Loeb’s video for “Insensitive” was worth watching? Too bad Much couldn’t have just been 95% Pop Up Video instead of the other way around.
Okay, not all the VJs were watchable. In fact, some were downright detestable. But every so often one would come along that changed our minds about the bubble-soft world of music news and journalism. And, in the case of George Stroumboulopoulos, they also seemed to have their own personality and their own musical tastes. And, in the case of George Stroumboulopoulos, they would eventually break off and do their own thing, which would end up being a huge career move.
One of their VJs was in a band called Fucked Up
Damian Abraham rules. Ever see him perform with Fucked Up? Basically you’re getting into some real wild shit. But it’s honest. Now take his larger-than-life stage persona and put it in front what was once one of Much’s best shows, The Wedge. In fact, I’d conjecture that adding Abraham was one of the best things Much has done in a long time. Someone’s gotta teach the kids about punk all over again.
Rick the Temp
Ehhh, maybe? I dunno. But he’s really nice in real life.
– Featured photo courtesy of Flickr user “wyliepoon” – creative commons.