Gather ’round, children, and I’ll tell you of days long past, when MTV aired more than just shows about pregnant teenagers and negative ethnic stereotypes drinking until they vomit. A time when music videos were shown – in their entirety, no less – more often than scripted programming. A time when the News division of the channel had not only quick little commercial-break-long blurbs to discuss news of note in rock & roll, but an entire half-hour show on the weekends called The Week in Rock, and it was hosted by a man named Kurt Loder. A little older than most of the rest of the MTV staff (word had it he remembered the ’70s), and possessed of a peculiar if reassuringly lulling monotone and a habit of placing the emPHAsis on the wrong syllABle, he brought some journalistic integrity (he came up through the ranks of Rolling Stone back when that still meant something), a little wry humor, and some much-needed gravitas and authority to the party. And yeah, he was all kinds of awesome (as were frequent co-hosts Tabitha Soren and Allison Stewart, but we’re not talking about them right now).
Anyway, as I said, he used to be a writer and editor for Rolling Stone (among other publications), and this book is a collection of various pieces he wrote for the magazine over the years – interviews and articles concerning people from the rock music world and the greater popular culture planets beyond. And if you’re familiar at all with the man’s MTV appearances, it’s hard not to read sections of this book and not hear his singular voice inside your head. In fact, you may find yourself reading aloud in your best (worst) Loder impression… I dare you to resist the urge!
Basically, if you’re nostalgic for a time when every young man in American wanted to marry Martha Quinn, or just want to read about a particularly unique time in American pop culture as told in a particularly unique voice, you’d do well to check this out some time. And stop back again some time and I can tell you of a particularly wonderful two hours of MTV programming buried late in the evening on Sundays that we used to know as 120 Minutes. Good times.