Before I was a transit geek I was a runner. After my freshman year in high school, I became a real runner and actually trained for it, logging around 45 miles a week then and working my way up to a few 90-100 mile weeks in college. During that time in the summer when you were on your own to train, I would run late at night. During the day I was a lifeguard at the local pool but at night it was my job to run. But at times it could get lonely on the streets under the lights at about 10-11pm at night and a few times I was followed home by police officers who thought I would break midnight curfew.
Because it was such a solemn undertaking, I often brought along my walkman sports. Because running was bouncy, I made mix tapes using my stereo from CDs at home and had a few favorites at the time. It varied based on my tastes but this was officially the time when I started to make music a part of my life. Many of the songs that I have in my itunes now were from that era, and I can often remember the part of the run when Depeche Mode came on or Gravity Kills.
But when I would get home from my run at midnight or so it would be about 80 degrees out still and I needed some time to cool down. So after I had hosed off (yes I said hosed, one of the reasons why I can't stand humidity and live in San Francisco) I would come in the house, get a glass of water, and turn on the TV. More often than not, every day but Saturday was MTV which would play videos late at night or show Beavis and Butthead/Daria. Saturday nights was time for SNL if I could catch it. Those were the glory days with Chris Farley, Adam Sandler and Phil Hartman.
But Sunday nights were 120 minutes, which basically got me introduced to alternative music that I ended up liking much more than what everyone else seemed to be listening to at the time. Top 40 or country was prevalent and while I did like some Top 40, alternative was more my style. So when I heard 120 minutes was coming back I was elated.
When looking up the old 120 minutes show archive, I was amazed at how much the show did actually shape my tastes. Going through the videos played during each of those shows was like going back in time. I don't have all of them on my ipod but I do know that I liked most of them. Just going through 1995 made me smile. Bands like Catherine Wheel, the Toadies, Jeff Buckley, Blur, and the Rentals just to name a few were on the list. If you're a lover of alternative music from the early to late 90s, check out the archive just for the names alone. Instant memory flashback.
I don't have cable these days but I am going to watch the show online and hopefully Matt Pinfield will bring back its former glory and introduce me to the music like I remember, with back stories, associations, and random information. That's something you can't get from Pandora or other music sharing systems and it's one thing I think that has made finding new music much less enjoyable over time.
So even though MTV doesn't play videos and got lame, if you love music, check out the first episode.