The final episode of 120 Minutes from its original 17-year run aired on MTV2 the night of Sunday, May 4, 2003, from 1 a.m. until 3 a.m. ET. Jim Shearer hosted; he was joined by two former 120 Minutes hosts, Dave Kendall and Matt Pinfield.
It was a great event featuring some of the best videos, studio moments, and other memories from the history of the series. MTV2 never promoted or repeated the episode at the time, so not many people ever saw it, and it got lost in time – until now, that is. We’ve surfaced the video and complete transcript of the finale.
[120 MINUTES OPENING THEME]
Jim Shearer, host: Hello everyone, welcome to 120 Minutes. Since this show premiered on MTV back in 1986, it’s gone through many changes, and tonight, we are celebrating the continued evolution of the show as 120 Minutes becomes Subterranean, when it premieres at its new time slot, next Friday at midnight Eastern. And to help us through the transition, I’m joined by two very special guests, and when this show’s remembered years and years from now, these two guys’ names will be name-dropped. I’m talk –
Dave Kendall, former host: No, no, it’ll all be you, Jim.
Jim: No it won’t! [laughs] I’m the one that drove it into the ground! I’m talking about Dave Kendall, who created the show, right?
Dave: Way back in ’86.
Jim: Created the show, produced the show, and was the host, was like the first solid host of 120 Minutes. And then the predecessor, Matt Pinfield, who I – that’s who I grew up with, watching you.
Matt Pinfield, former host: Thanks, thanks. It’s been a long time, right Dave?
Jim: And this shirt right here? This holy shirt? This is the one that I used to watch 120 Minutes in. So that’s why –
Dave: It smells like it. [laughs]
Matt, Jim: [laughs]
Jim: So that’s why I brought it out. And you guys actually picked all the videos that we’re gonna show today. And we’re gonna start off with a block of videos that you picked, Dave. And it’s – we have Nirvana in this block, and we have Nine Inch Nails in this block. And those are two important bands because they kinda like took the music from the underground and took it to the mainstream in the early ’90s.
Dave: Yeah, definitely, I mean Nine Inch Nails was really the breakthrough band for industrial. You know, industrial was the form that started back in the late ’80s with Cabaret Voltaire, with Throbbing Gristle, bands like that, but it wasn’t until Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor came out that industrial really went into the mainstream, and “Head Like A Hole” was the video that did it.
Jim: And then Nirvana –
Dave: Nirvana, yes!
Jim: Tell us about Nirvana.
Dave: You know, when Nirvana came out, they really turned alternative into a brand. I mean, that’s when alternative music became a brand; crossed into the mainstream. The various forms of music that had been played by 120 Minutes prior to then really gelled into this angry rock sound. And prior to that, I think, there were so many different types of music on 120 Minutes, you had some of the goth bands, and you had the jangle-rock of R.E.M., you had sort of novelty bands like They Might Be Giants. There wasn’t any single form of music that alternative represented. Just more of an attitude that we want to do something different, we don’t wanna do the cookie cutter clichés –
Dave: – and the pop mainstream. But with Nirvana, you know, that sound of grunge began to represent alternative and started to make real money.
Jim: I think the great thing about those two bands was that they appealed to the people who took their music seriously and then to the kids who are walking around the mall, like, they love them too, so that’s kinda connected both worlds together. And this is like the video that probably did it. From 1991’s Nevermind, here is Nirvana with “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
[120 MINUTES RETURNING THEME]
[CLIP FROM 1992]
Dave: Why don’t you guys go on tour together, with a full planned tour together?
Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead: Because nobody appreciates us enough to buy enough records of ours, and then, you know –
Dave: Oh, come now.
Lemmy: – sort of suffer –
Joey Ramone of The Ramones: I mean, that definitely would be an event, know what I mean?
Joey: But, uh –
Lemmy: There you go.
Joey: There you go.
Lemmy: There you go. We don’t care, do we, Joe?
Joey: No. [laughs] We weren’t invited to the MTV awards last month.
Lemmy: Yeah, to hell with them, eh? MTV awards. Not a bloody mention of Motörhead or The Ramones, right? Makes me sick.
Joey: That’s right. And where would they be without us?
Lemmy: Where would they be?
Jim: Everyone, welcome back, as we celebrate the evolution of 120 Minutes; next week it becomes Subterranean. Same concept, little new spin. Sort of like, 120 Minutes is, I guess, the caterpillar and Subterranean is the butterfly.
Dave: Friday at midnight, right?
Jim: Friday at midnight.
Dave: Cool time slot.
Jim: And for those who don’t know, I’m here with Dave Kendall, Matt Pinfield. And of course, the old school 120 Minutes fans are like, “Whoa, this is – is my TV right?”
Matt: Yeah. [laughs]
Jim: Talking about Joey Ramone and Lemmy, they were saying, you know, no one pays attention to us, no one invited us to the VMAs, but it seems like a lot of bands or many bands on 120 Minutes, during their career they really weren’t that popular, and when they were done, they became these huge influences on everyone. So can you guys think of any other bands like that?
Matt: Oh there were tons. Pixies, obviously, is one.
Jim, Dave: Yeah.
Matt: Just a huge influence on, not only Nirvana, but so many bands that came, I mean, the whole structuring of their songwriting and, I mean, you know. Them and Sonic Youth, I would say are two really influential bands.
Jim: Because if you go back into history, it seems like all these influential bands were, you know, nothin’ when they were around. ‘Cause I was talking to Brian Baker from Minor Threat, and he was like, “Eh, when we were around, no one gave a crap about Minor Threat.” And now, you know, everyone who’s into punk is about Minor Threat. And Matt, we’re gonna get into your block of videos. You picked one from The Verve, and then you have one from Blur. And these guys, I mean if you look at it, they pretty much have one major U.S. hit, but overseas, you know, very popular. So why don’t you think these bands caught on here in the states?
Matt: Well I think one of the things about alternative music and 120 Minutes is, I’m sure Dave would agree, is that it was really a showcase for a lot of British bands, when they would first come over. And the bands would come and they wouldn’t play everywhere, they wouldn’t really do the roadwork they needed to do, because of tour support reasons, or just because it was such a different world to them. So they would come over and just play New York, L.A., Chicago, Boston, all those cities. So the only place where they really got the exposure were alternative stations, but it was spearheaded by 120 Minutes. And Blur, one of those bands who’ve had a long career worldwide, I mean, they started with The Happy Mondays, and Stone Roses; all the baggy, you know, Manchester bands, and then they just continued to do different things and go on.
Jim: And does it surprise you that “Song 2″ was their major U.S. hit?
Jim: ‘Cause it seems like “Girls and Boys” would be the poppy hit for the states here.
Matt: Well that was from their biggest record ever, called Parklife, and it was definitely influenced by the old new wave stuff. They were listening to a lot of Blondie at the time and things like that. But “Song 2″ was their most American sounding song; it was influenced by Pavement, but came late enough that bands like Pavement and the Pixies had already influenced a lot of rock bands that had come out, so that was their breakthrough song and radio gave it a shot, and it’s, you know, they’ve always been a staple for 120.
Jim: So they timed it right. And now we’re gonna travel back to 1995, and I actually remember when you debuted this on 120 Minutes.
Matt: Yeah – A Clockwork Orange.
Jim: So here’s Blur with “The Universal.”
[120 MINUTES RETURNING THEME]
Jim: Hey everyone, Matt Pinfield and Dave Kendall hanging out with me as we pay tribute to 17 years of 120 Minutes history before it evolves into the new show, Subterranean, which premieres next Friday night [sighs] at midnight. And right now [points to Dave] we’re gonna play a block of your videos, which includes Sisters of Mercy, the Pixies, R.E.M., and there probably wouldn’t be 120 Minutes without these bands. So can you explain to the kids out there why these bands are important?
Dave: Well, R.E.M. are important simply because they defied a lot of the usual expectation for brash, loud, exuberant rock music at that time. They were very understated, very passionate, really quite depressed; and this video, “Driver 8,” was remarkable because it was also kind of an anti-video. You know, it wasn’t like the pop stars doing their thrusting motions on stage. It’s just very kind of passive, quiet, ethereal. And R.E.M., of course, went on to be absolutely a mega-band. Pixies, the most direct precursor of grunge. I mean, their sort of angry, garage style thrash rock was really – gave birth to grunge a few years later. And who else are we talking about?
Jim: Sisters of Mercy.
Dave: Sisters of Mercy, that’s right. [laughs]
Dave: Definitely, Sisters, one of the original British goth bands. One of the types – very different types of music that 120 Minutes used to play. And “This Corrosion” was just this great bombastic video, you know, awesome riding stallions through the desert.
Jim: It may be a tough question for you, but if you can pick out one 120 Minutes memory that sticks with you over the years, what is it?
Dave: Probably the first time I interviewed someone on 120 Minutes, which was Hope Nicholls of Fetchin’ Bones. I was just so nervous, I turned to her, and I just said, “So, Hope –”, I just froze. [laughs]
Jim, Matt: [laughs]
Dave: And it was all downhill from there.
Jim: Come on! No it wasn’t. The producer, the creator. And then Matt Pinfield. We’re gonna be hanging out, so stick with us. But right now, we have R.E.M., one of those important bands we were talking about. Here is “Driver 8.”
[120 MINUTES OPENING THEME]
Jim: We are back with the second half of 120 Minutes. Next week, this show will have a new name, Subterranean, and a new time slot, Friday nights at midnight Eastern. Former 120 Minutes hosts with me, Dave Kendall and Matt Pinfield. And right now [points to Matt] we’re going to get into a block of videos that you picked. We have Porno For Pyros coming up, we also have Radiohead with “Just,” which we say is probably the best music video of all time.
Matt: Yeah it is definitely one of my favorite videos ever, because it’s just – really is a piece of film, a piece of art. You know, it invokes things like The Twilight Zone does, or X-Files. It’s really an intense video. And at the end of the video, you know, you don’t know what the guy says. He’s laying there on the ground. People may have theories, someone on the web might even know, you know people really dissect Radiohead’s career and everything they do. But it really doesn’t matter what he says!
Matt: Because it’s just so intense, it’s so effective that all of a sudden you look at the end of the video and there’s the payoff, everybody is laying on the ground, and it’s – to me, it’s just one of the most unforgettable videos ever from one of the greatest bands of the last 20 years.
Jim: And right now we have a clip when you interviewed Porno For Pyros, and anything you remember about this 120 Minutes?
Matt: I remember that Perry was – needed two bottles of cabernet sauvignon – [laughs]
Matt: – before he went out on stage to get primed. And you know, it was really cool, because I was such a big Jane’s Addiction fan, and I loved the Pornos stuff. We were asking about “Tahitian Moon,” which was the new single at the time, and thought it must have been great to go to Tahiti, and he told the story; it wasn’t as great as you might think it was.
Jim: Alright here’s the clip.
[CLIP FROM 1996]
Perry Farrell of Porno For Pyros: First of all, I had this horrible bronchitis I caught on this boat that was being driven by this guy, his name was Captain… uh… Bob, who looked like Jesus Christ, but was the devil.
Perry: Tried to hump Peter the first night in the captain’s quarters, ’cause Peter was seasick, and he goes, “Oh, lay down here.” Anyway, you know, we tried to come up with draw–painting the album cover, very hard to do when the boat’s rocking.
Matt: [laughs] Yeah.
Perry: We got dry– we shipwrecked on a reef, a dry reef, because the guy fell asleep, because somebody gave him a valium that he had been carrying with him. And by the time we were eating our chicken dinner, Captain Bob was eating dinner like this [collapses in chair] and throwing the bones out like this – [flails arm wildly]
[120 MINUTES RETURNING THEME]
[CLIP FROM 1998]
Matt: Let’s talk a bit about the holidays coming up, man. I know that you’re gonna –
DJ Lethal of Limp Bizkit: [beatboxes to the tune of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas"]
Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit: [singing] We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas, and a happy new year.
Matt: That’s right.
Jim: Everyone, welcome back to a very special episode of 120 Minutes –
Dave: The best sex Matt Pinfield ever had, right there.
Jim: [claps, laughs]
Matt: That’s right, absolutely! And it was dry-humping.
Jim: As you can see, I’m joined by Dave Kendall, and Matt Pinfield, the “two pillars,” I would say, of 120 Minutes. And we just saw you with Fred Durst, DJ Lethal. Before that, we saw you with Porno For Pyros. What is your most memorable interview on 120 Minutes, if you had to pick one?
Matt: Well there were a lot, I mean, there’s people I interviewed that were icons, people I loved, like Lou Reed, but you know, I gotta remember the first two I did, because the first one was when I was filling in. David left the show, artists were hosting the show, and I filled in in ’93. And although I’d done radio for years, it was the first time I was on camera, so I had Depeche Mode. Martin Gore was like [imitates] acting like he was in a coma, and –
Matt: Dave Gahan was great, he was being really friendly, and I’ve given him a lot of crap – Martin – for that over the years.
Matt: But you know, I was like a deer in headlights. I was a little bit nervous. And then I came back and ended up doing it after I joined the music department here and did Oasis, and I just figured, “You know what? I might never host the show again, so I’m just gonna have a good time.” So I just started, you know, interviewing the guys, and started a fight between “Bonehead” and Noel Gallagher over, like, their favorite football team. And it ended up being a great experience, and so those first two are the most memorable to me. The one that was scary and the one that ended up being alright.
Jim: It’s odd that you say that ’cause I actually have that one at home on VHS; the one with you and Oasis. And I remember you throwing to the Girls v. Boys video, “She’s Lost Control.”
Matt: Yeah; really good video.
Jim: And then speaking of Depeche Mode, we’re going to see a Depeche Mode video right now, and Massive Attack also, because [points to Dave] this is your picks now. And why did you pick these videos? Because it seems like you sort of have that European edge – and it’s not just the accent either!
Jim: And you also brought the dance and goth edge to 120 Minutes.
Dave: Yeah, I mean, I’ve always loved both the American and the European acts, but Massive Attack, we kinda took a risk with this one, because back then, 120 Minutes wasn’t really playing any hip-hop or trip-hop. And I remember some of the goth types that watched 120 really didn’t like the fact that we were playing a trip-hop song. And then of course by the third album, Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins joins the band and now Massive Attack’s the favorite goth band of all time.
Dave: But that’s great. “Personal Jesus” was quite a controversial song at the time; attack on televangelism. And Depeche Mode, of course, if you look back at the whole electro-clash and new wave revival now, very influential.
Jim: So here it is, Depeche Mode with “Personal Jesus.”
[120 MINUTES RETURNING THEME]
Jim: Everyone, we are back with former 120 Minutes hosts – Dave Kendall and Matt Pinfield, and what a run it’s been, 17 years. Once again everyone, next week we morph into Subterranean, Friday night, midnight Eastern Time, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs will be our guests. And we’re gonna play, I think, some picks from you, Matt. We have the Descendents coming up.
Jim: And then do we have any more of Dave’s picks left?
Off-camera: Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Jim: Siouxsie and the Banshees.
Matt: Very cool.
Jim: So, this is it. The final segment of 120 Minutes.
Dave: [fakes crying]
Matt: It’s amazing.
Jim: Is there anything you guys would like to say? The future of music like this?
Matt: Well, for me, I think if we’re gonna play the Descendents, it should be known that here’s a band who influenced Green Day, Blink 182, all the punk-pop – Good Charlotte – that’s out now, this is a band that rose out of the hardcore scene and literally are so influential that, you know, Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 [points to leg] has that tattoo.
Jim: The Descendents.
Matt: Right. So I’m really excited that I got to do that interview with those guys and – late in their career, when they got back together to do an album, so it was good to have ‘em. But hey, it’s been an honor to be a part of this show, you know what I mean? And to follow in Dave’s footsteps there, and then you know [points to Jim], it’s just great. It’s been fun. You know?
Dave: Yeah, and good luck with the new show.
Jim: Oh, thank you. And before we go, let’s mention the other hosts. There was Kevin Seal –
Matt: Lewis Largent.
Jim: Lewis Largent, Chris Booker did it for a little bit, Jancee Dunn –
Matt: Dave Holmes.
Jim: Dave Holmes did it for a little bit.
Matt: Right. Yeah.
Jim: So – and I wanna just shake your hands. [shakes hands] This is very surreal, very sad for me. But I’m gonna leave, because I’m not worthy right now, so I want you guys to send off 120 Minutes, so, thank you. [walks off the set]
Dave: Alright, Matt, go for it.
Matt: Alright don’t forget, next week, 120 Minutes becomes Subterranean at its new time.
Dave: Friday night at midnight Eastern.
Matt: With special guest the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Dave: Excellent band.
Matt: Check ‘em out. It’ll be followed by Subterranean UK, an hour of videos that are more popular in the UK than they are here in the U.S.
Dave: That’s right.
Matt: Subterranean UK, once a month, don’t forget it. Dave, thanks a lot, it was great to do this with you. [shakes hands]
Dave: Thank you, Matt.
Matt: And with Jim. We had a lot of fun over the years! Here’s Oasis with “Supersonic.”
Dave: He ran away. [laughs]
Matt: Jim, where’d you go?! [laughs]
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After the cameras were turned off, Jim Shearer stuck around to ask Dave Kendall and Matt Pinfield many more questions about 120 Minutes, never seen on TV, but available exclusively here. Jim’s article is titled Exit Interview.
Learn more about the history of the entire series, its transition from MTV to MTV2, and its cancellations and reincarnations, by reading About 120 Minutes.