Between 1986 and 2003, alternative music had a permanent home on MTV in the form of “120 Minutes,” the late, great Sunday night program that played host to everyone from the Butthole Surfers to XTC, and gave American audiences their first taste of (then) up-and-coming acts like Radiohead, Blur and the Smashing Pumpkins, to name just a few.
When “120” disappeared into the TV hinterland in early ’03, it left a gaping hole in the hearts of music fans everywhere, one “Subterranean” just couldn’t fill, no matter how hard it tried. And for eight years, we waited for its return, longing for our fix of the latest and greatest in alt (indie? buzz?) hoping against hope that someday, the show would come back to us.
Now, the wait is over. On Saturday, July 30, “120 Minutes” returns with iconic host (and downright obsessive music fan) Matt Pinfield once again serving as master of ceremonies. And if you think you’re excited by the news, well, you can’t imagine how Pinfield’s feeling right about now.
“I couldn’t be happier. I mean, I love the show and, over the years, I’ve heard from everyone from Jack White to the Black Keys, tons of musicians, music fans, people that run some of the biggest websites for music in the country, have all come up to me in the past and said, ’You know, “120 Minutes” and you talking about music is why I wanted to get into the music business.’ And there’s no bigger compliment than that,” Pinfield told MTV News. “So it’s exciting and it’s great to do it again. And who would’ve thought? I stopped hosting the show in 1999 … so that’s 11 years since I hosted, 16 years since I started hosting regularly. So it’s amazing to see things come full circle. Who says hell doesn’t freeze over?”
And if you’re worried that the new “120” may not be the show it once was, Pinfield promises that he’s determined to keep things the way they were. So, yes, there will still be plenty of videos. And yes, there will be off-kilter interviews with plenty of indie acts, both established and new (the first episode features the likes of PJ Harvey, Dave Grohl, Cults and Das Racist, among others). In fact, about the only difference will be the set.
“There will be differences: I am no longer sitting on those road cases, because my legs are too short and I can’t touch the ground,” Pinfield laughed. “I think that the way that people digest music and information now has changed quite a bit … so the difference will be, we will still and I’m very proud to show full videos — at least 12 a show — but there will be a lot more guests and a lot more action and a lot more things will be happening a lot faster.”
And even if times have changed, Pinfield said the mission of “120” remains the same: to shine a spotlight on bands that deserve it, and to turn folks on to new sounds from around the globe.
“I love Joy Formidable, Sleigh Bells, Black Angels, Das Racist, there’s so many cool things, and that’s, for me, the exciting part of it,” he said. “I love the fact that we’re going to show a few of the old classic clips and bring some of the history, but always, the most exciting for me is playing new music for people and being able to turn them on to new things that I’m excited about.”
MTV2’s “120 Minutes” with Matt Pinfield premieres Saturday, July 30, on MTV2 at 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT.