120 Minutes is a show on MTV mostly dedicated to alternative music. It lasted from 1986 until 2000 and only recently came back on the air in 2011. 120 Minutes was a godsend to me. I was always into alternative music and it's amazing when I look back and see the playlists that 120 Minutes had how it shaped my taste in music. South Florida radio was not very diverse, and even less so nowadays, so the radio wasn't a place to really discover new, exciting music. I always wanted to learn about good music. I got into what I would find out was called "college music" because it was mostly played on college stations. Bands like REM, Replacements and so on. I was never into much of the music played on the radio but I always had 120 Minutes. 120 Minutes was the show which would showcase bands such as Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode, Love and Rockets, Catherine Wheel, Slowdive, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure, The Smiths, and later would show bands like Gravity Kills, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson before they became huge household names. These bands had a way to achieve that exposure on MTV. The beginning of the end of the show was in later years when they would play popular rock songs that they played during the daytime hours. I always remember 120 Minutes airing at midnight. When I watched it, it was hosted by Matt Pinfield, a dictionary of music if there ever was one. He was always very knowledgeable about almost any band which would appear on the show and always had something to say. 120 Minutes was my first introduction to bands like Bad Religion, Porno for Pyros, Joy Division and so on.
I was happy when MTV brought the show back in 2011 with Matt Pinfield. He always represented the show to me. There is a lot to complain about when it comes to MTV, but 120 Minutes was the prime example of a show which actually helped expose a lot of underground music to the bedrooms of people who otherwise wouldn't be exposed to it, and ultimately break them into the mainstream. It was also the birth of so-called "buzzclips" back in the 90s. It's easy to bash MTV for how shallow and mediadriven it is, but I will always defend this great show and what it represented to me, and helped me discover really good music and helped to shape the person I am today. Thank you MTV and Matt Pinfield. Here are some of my favorite clips from that show.