'120 Minutes': In honor of MTV2's re-launch tonight, host Matt Pinfield reminisces about his favorite 'Minutes' moments

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Image Credit: L. Busacca/WireImage for EMI Music Publishing

An MTV classic is at last being let out of the vault. 120 Minutes, the long-running alternative-music series that spotlighted indie artists and bands not typically featured on the MTV lineup, is set to re-launch Sunday on MTV2 at 1:00am ET, with that chrome-domed font of encyclopedic musical knowledge, Matt Pinfield, back as host.

Fans who’ve never forgiven MTV for abandoning music in favor of reality shows about the attention-seeking, fame-whoring, and alcohol-guzzling, were particular dismayed when Minutes was cancelled in 2003 after a 17-year run. But they can now take heart: the premiere lineup tonight includes Sleigh Bells, the Black Angels, and Das Racist. And future guests set to join Pinfield on the 120 Minutes set at the Lower East Side’s Arlene’s Grocery include Dave Grohl, Lupe Fiasco, Kings of Leon, and PJ Harvey.

To commemorate the launch of the new show, we asked Matt Pinfield to take a ‘90s nostalgia trip and give us his favorite moments from the old 120 Minutes, a list that includes early signs of friction in Oasis, a lyrical tribute from Perry Farrell, and, of course, a drunken Jon Spencer meltdown. Take a look at Pinfield’s favorite memories after the break:

Depeche Mode (March 7, 1993)
“When I first hosted the show, I was filling-in in 1993, and, at the time, artists were hosting. So when they asked me to come in, I was to work with Depeche Mode. Although Dave Gahan was great, Martin Gore the keyboard player was totally out of it. Completely spaced. He was not ready for TV. And for years I’ve always tortured Martin about that. ‘Remember when you made my first shoot the hardest shoot ever?’ I still give him crap about that.”

Oasis (Oct. 15, 1995)
“During that first show I did with Oasis, they ended up fighting over which football team is better in their hometown of Manchester: Manchester City or Manchester United. While the cameras were rolling, they were ready to brawl on the set— ‘City’s the best! No, United’s the best!’—and I just looked at the camera and said, ‘Obviously these guys aren’t going to come to an agreement right now, so it’s time for a commercial.’”

Frank Black of the Pixies (March 17, 1996)
“I always take the music seriously, but it’s important to have fun too. So Frank and I put our two bald heads together, which looked like an ass basically.”

Radiohead (Sept. 21, 1997)
“Thom Yorke invited me to do an interview with him backstage at Radio City Music Hall, and it ended up in their movie Meeting People Is Easy, and the premise of that movie is how miserable it is to be doing interviews all the time. But our interview was the only bright moment in the film. He’s smiling, laughing, having a good time. It’s the one moment of relief in the whole documentary. And also when they came in to play from their album The Bends, they did a whole bunch of songs from that album at 9:00am and Thom’s voice was incredible. A lot of artists came in over the years, and would be jetlagged, or out all night on the Lower East Side drinking before the shoot—and we usually shoot early in the morning—so I was impressed with how polished they were at such an early hour.”

Porno for Pyros (Nov. 2, 1997)
“Perry Farrell got rocked on a bottle of cabernet, and he changed the lyrics of their song ‘Kimberly Austin’ to ‘Matt Pinfield.’  Quite an honor. Imagine that song being about you?”

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (Dec. 20, 1998)
“One of the craziest moments was when Jon showed up to do a pre-Christmas show, and he was so rocked. He was in his Santa suit, but he was drinking a bottle of whisky and almost disrobed in front of the camera. He nearly stripped down! He was out of control!”

Music Mixers, are you planning on tuning in to 120 Minutes re-launch tonight?

The Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix

Read more from EW.com:
MTV brings back ‘120 Minutes’ — my inner Goth is weeping tears of joy


Comments (44 total) Add your comment
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  • Mac

    120 Minutes was the best thing about MTV for a long time!

    • Tom

      When I was a boy they had actual music videos on MTV. That’s how old I am.

      • J.

        When I was in college they still had videos. That is how old I am.

    • SamJ

      Didn’t Kurt Cobain show up drunk one time? All blitzed and horrible to interview? Wasn’t that 120 minutes?

      • Brendan C.

        Nope that was Headbangers Ball. He wore a prom gown as well that day

      • JJ

        He wore the dress and acted difficult to protest the misogyny of hair metal rampant at the time. I believe he and Krist Novoselic may have kissed? I cant remember…

    • LOL

      eMpTyV — It’s useless these days. No music, no life.

      • René De Beaumarchais

        Good pun, if you don’t mind, I will use it too.

    • Sharlin

      They need to bring back Dave Holmes.

      • steph

        but he has such an illustrious career on FX doing the DVD on TV shows…

  • Lauren

    The original was before my time as an MTV viewer, but this sounds like a fabulous concept. I would love to watch if I actually had MTV 2.

  • Rolo Tomasi

    It won’t last, it will be replaced once again with some other “reality” crap.

  • Joe T.

    I’m so disappointed this is only on MTV2. But of course…why would they have videos on MTV? duh

  • sil

    i looooooooved 120 minutes. i have tapes and tapes of videos that i used to record when i was in high school. wow.. i just totally dated myself twice.. but i dont care. 120 minutes ruiles!!

    • AKP

      haha. I did the same thing! And I know I have the Jon Spencer moment up there on tape somewhere.

  • Nick

    “120 Minutes” was my addiction in the mid-to-late 90s. My Monday TV routine was the same: “120” from 12 AM-2 AM, “WCW Monday Nitro” from 5 PM-7 PM (living in Washington state, “Nitro” was live while “RAW” was tape delayed), “WWF Monday Night RAW” 9 PM-11 PM, and then “Silk Stalkings” from there ’till midnight. Ah, the easy, carefree teenage days…

    • Kim

      Silk Stalkings was tha bomb! Best show ever!

      • J.

        I am also old enough to remember (and watched) SS when it was part of CBS’s “Crimetime after Primetime”. I believe the SS was the Thursday night show.

  • Dana

    why can’t they put this on MTV as well

  • Soldier

    Check out orginal MTV on VH1 Classic all weekend in honor of MTV’s 30th! I miss the good old days. Can’t wait to watch 120 minutes.

    • alan of montreal

      VH1 celebrating MTV? Oh, the irony…

      • Elizabeth

        Yeah – it was an 8-hour clip fest run on a loop all weekend… seemed promising when i first stumbled upon it, but that disappeared quickly.

      • Rubinei

        Dorothy Posted on i like the names dorothy, klndael, simone, taylor, anna caroline, elizabelle, miranda and la laine, makensie and shawnmy top 5 are: Dorothy, simone, la laine, klndael and makenzie

  • Ethan

    Sleigh Bells!!! Proof that 120 Minutes is needed. I grew up in a small town in Colorado where 120 Minutes was the only place I heard about indie music that was different from what I heard around everywhere. Now I live in Seattle where you hear this stuff all the time. I just hope it reaches the other young kids who want to hear different music.

    • MissE

      Me too! (Small town Texas) I used to sneak out of bed at midnight when the rest of the house was asleep and watch it on the lowest volume setting with my face 12 inches from the screen.

  • Amanda

    I think it’s incredibly sad that so many people can berate Mtv for not showing videos (myself included), but the younger generation doesn’t fully have a concept of what we’re even talking about. They don’t even know what Mtv used to be. It’s really a completely different channel and it saddens me to see what it has become. It actually offends me that they still do a VMA show since they don’t actually show any videos.

  • lisa

    matt wtf what about talking to dave kendell shame :)

  • crispy

    Dave Kendell > Matt Pinfield

    • Brian Wallace

      Did you ever see the time Dave Kendell interviewed Andy Partridge from XTC? Partridge was either so pissed off at Kendell or had such contempt for Kendell that he completely ignored the questions asked. Just totally talked about other things. Really awkward.

      Also, remember when Kevin Seal, Sporting Fool, hosted “120 Minutes”? And his whole attitude was: “What IS this? Robert Smith? What’s with his HAIR? What’s WRONG with these people?” Funny stuff.

      I’m old to remember these things.

      Brian

      • Mincha

        Ugh–I had successfully wiped Kevin Seal from my memory until just now. He was horrible. That stupid smirk!

  • Lauren

    I would be more excited if it wasn’t airing at 1 am. Maybe they figure most of their demographic doesn’t have to get up early on Monday mornings?

  • darclyte

    I remember a time where Beck and The Beastie Boys were on and they were making music with the oddest things they could find. Was that 120 Minutes? It seems like it would have been. It was interestingly wacky but in a good way.

    • Michael D.

      I think it was Beck and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.

    • Anne

      @maikzaheer MJ was MJ you mean black MJ get white MJ right !!!!!!dont be silly MJ didnt only good things so just shut up and let other pelpoe compare singers with him there are tons of pelpoe( Massari,Menderez,kashif and so on) who got the sam voice as MJ!!!!!! MJ was just the first person wtih this voice thats it !

  • DublDownDrew

    I’m looking forward to it, but as an old fogey I’d probably prefer a show on VH-1 Classic along the lines of “That Metal Show” spotlighting the bands of that era and those who still make great music today. Hoping the new 120 will add some of that in too if they don’t already have it planned!

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