We’re not generally given to bouts of nostalgia here, but when Dangerous Minds unearthed a video yesterday of Philly punk icons The Dead Milkmen making an unlikely appearance on Club MTV, it got us thinking about the days when music TV used to be live and thus all sorts of whacked-out things could happen. Those days are largely gone, sadly, outside of various late-night shows — the general decline of live TV, along with a series of high-profile controversies, means that networks like to have a whole lot more control over what goes to air today. Still, we’ll always have the memories, and in celebration of the ongoing experiment in riding by the seat of one’s pants that music TV used to be, here are ten of our favorite moments in gloriously shambolic televisual anarchy. As ever, let us know if you have any to add.
Dead Milkmen on Club MTV, 1988
If the video evidence didn’t exist, we’d probably never believe this happened. It all went surprisingly well, too — even the slam-dancing didn’t seem to perturb anyone greatly — until the band took it upon themselves to handcuff host “Downtown” Julie Brown, an event about which she later said, “I got a bit pissed,” although she handled it with relative aplomb at the time.