Through The Power Of Television

Powerful Images From 2 Power Pop Bands.


When MTV first went on the air, the channel only had 80+ videos to play. The band Shoes accounted for 4 of these videos. Quick math will tell you that these 4 videos showed up more often than a "Win A Free Play Station 3!" banner. With that kind of exposure it would seem brisk album sales and notoriety were sure to follow. Sadly, Shoes got kicked to the curb.

1) Not everyone had MTV right away (MTV did not get in to Manhattan and Los Angeles until September 1982--a full year after launch) so exposure was light.

2) The album for these videos was 2 years old. Wow! 1979? Who was president back then? Shoes had released another album ("Tongue Twister") as well, a full 7 months before the MTV debut. So the tour that would have supported this newly found steam had most likely seen its last show.

3) By the time everyone had figured out what to do, the channel was invaded by haircuts and bigger budgets.

Other than that, everything was great.

The Shoes "Present Tense" was released in October 1979 and was/is an amazing record. Shoes 1st album "Black Vinyl Shoes" (considered to be the grandfather of DIY recordings) was recorded on a TEAC 4 track machine in one of the band members' living room. Now with a full studio to work with, Shoes created a Power Pop classic that was a hit in Chicago (the band hails from nearby Zion, Illinois) but not really anywhere else. "Tomorrow Night" originally a Bomp Records single, leads off the album. Everything works. The production, the harmonies and the instrumentation, a perfect sonic balance of sparse and vastness. This song has a vital anxiousness that seems to be timeless.

Those that paid attention to these 4 videos were rewarded on the 25th anniversary of MTV's 1st broadcast when the 4 Shoes videos took a long awaited return to heavy rotation.
Watch the video for "Tomorrow Night"

Paul Collins

A few years ago I had a Paul Collins CD that I had put up for Internet auction. During the auction, I received an e-mail from Mr. Collins mentioning the auction and inviting me to view his web site. My first thought was "SHIT! He's watching me!" Then after checking the room for hidden cameras, my paranoia subsided into thinking "Paul Collins just emailed" I wonder what he will say now.

The Paul Collins Beat followed up their critically acclaimed debut album with 1982's "The Kids Are The Same". 1982 was a strange time in music. Punk, New Wave and Roots Rock bands had spent the last few years trying to get back to basics--substance over style. Sadly, however, it had come full circle, style was all the rage. Everything was visual now thanks to MTV.

Not everything was a beauty school student art film. "On The Highway" was a simple, low budget performance video. Why go this direction? Maybe they wanted the song to speak for itself, or perhaps there was no money... Clocking in at 5:46, this song is not like other highway songs. Instead of gunning at top speed it feels more like a long ride through the desert at night in a David Lynch movie. Oddly, once this song started to get some radio and video airplay, the band was dropped from its record label. Not giving up, the band booked their own shows in support of the album and continued recording and touring in that DIY spirit until the late 1980's.


Tommy Kane said...

the mick taylor period of the stones was genius. Sway and moonlight mile, great guitar from the man. Car bomb rules. Love the site.