This edition of "The Cutout Bin" departs from its usual format to spotlight a TV show: MV3.
While other cities enjoyed cable TV in the early eighties, Chicago could not experience channels such as MTV until about 1986. Prior to that year, music fans had to find videos wherever they could; one of these sources was MV3, a music video/dance show that aired from 1982-1984. Shot in Los Angeles, the program featured mainly new wave acts, many of whom received little radio airplay. While MV3 may have been short-lived, it exposed me to a variety of bands before they reached mainstream success.
Hosted by Richard Blade, David Maples, and Karen Scott, the show introduced new wave bands that were played on KROQ FM in Los Angeles. Typically an episode would feature the latest videos (frequently shown in the background while dancers, sporting the latest early '80s fashions, showed off their moves), live performances in the studio (often lip-synched), and a rundown of the week's top singles and albums. Curiously, the opening sequence plays the '50s classic, "Ready Teddy," while airing video segments from the J. Geils Band's Peter Wolf, Wall of Voodoo, and the Tom Tom Club.
While MV3 held a particular fondness for British new wave, they would sometimes play top 40 hits. The first time I saw Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" clip was on that show. But it also exposed me to other bands that I never heard on the radio—a young Bangles performed "I'm in Line" and chatted with Blade in 1983, a few years before they scored on the charts with "Manic Monday." Romeo Void created danceable punk with "Never Say Never," the lyrics sounding as blunt and sarcastic today as they did in 1982.
My first taste of the Clash was through MV3, when they played "London Calling" and "Should I Stay or Should I Go." While they attained some critical and commercial success by 1982 (and would have a massive hit with "Rock the Casbah"), the group remained relatively unknown among fans of top 40 radio. Without the show, I would never have heard the Clash's pioneering brand of rock.