Let's face it. The VMA's are boring. Cast blame as you see fit: the rise of reality television, spawned by Real World in 1992, the addition of Jesse Camp (the [probably] homeless VJ) or possibly MTV's moratorium on airing music videos. No one knows when it happened exactly, but sometime in the mid-1990's, MTV became a bit of a boring crapfest. This boredom usually becomes apparent when a seemingly spontaneous moment by an "edgy" artist wakes us all up from the snoozefest (oh hello, Rage Against the Machine bassist, have fun in Audioslave). As the Twitterverse is all a-farty about by Kanye's interruption of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech, West's not-as-good-as-ODB antics reminds us that the VMA's have become extremely tame over the years.
You know there's some serious market research performed by Viacom on Myspace pages, but even with this information gleaned from social media, couldn't the VMA's be a little less orchestrated? Sure, there's been some highly calculated kisses (oh and, ew.) and PR agency mandated reconciliations, but back in the day, there were some pretty good performances, where musicians actually played live (Lady Gaga, pretty sure you can't play a piano with your foot).
Here's a few clips from VMAs from yesteryear (delivered from this West Coast Sound correspondent's rocking chair), right as careers were about to break (or shatter) and before MTV became a 24 hour iPhone commercial.
Nirvana - Lithium 1992
Choice moments: Stage Divers, Amp smashing, Krist Novoselic hit in face with his bass, Dave Grohl tries to meet Axl Rose
Red Hot Chili Peppers 1992:
Choice Moment: Anthony Kiedis wearing upholstery, Dana Carvey suggesting that the audience puts "socks on their penises," wrong notes all over the place
Neil Young & Pearl Jam - Keep On Rocking in the Free World: 1993
Choice moments: Neil Young's necklace, obligatory guitar smashing, noisy climax
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Madonna - Like a Virgin 1984
Choice Moments: Madonna really singing (not well), veil humping, pre-kabbalah/yoga arms