Tuesday, March 13, 2018

"Who Is The #1 Artist In B&B History?" and other fun stats

B&B's notoriety for controversy and remaining consistently funny often unfairly overshadowed its musical canonization. The show deserves more credit for rescuing at least 100 bands from complete obscurity. Mike Judge's perfectionism enabled him to dig past the hits, not only for unexpectedly odd low-hanging clips that were easy to shit on but also visually memorable videos that he personally dug. The show was also re-run very often, while 120 Minutes and Headbangers Ball were not (and had far less viewers).

The #1 Artist In B&B History
The musician who has appeared on the most episodes of Beavis and Butthead might be Flea, who appeared in RHCP videos 4 times. B&B also enthusiastically reacted to Flea's cameo in Butthole Surfers' "Who Was In My Room Last Night?" The 1996 line-up of RHCP charted with their cover of "Love Rollercoaster," from Beavis and Butthead Do America. They also submitted an excellent cover of The Stooges' "Search and Destroy" for The Beavis and Butthead Experience LP.

It's possible that Red Hot Chili Peppers deserve the award for the #1 Beavis and Butthead artist of all time.

White Zombie notably express gratitude to B&B who they claim hugely contributed to their success after the show's enthusiastically positive reaction to "Thunder Kiss '65," "Black Sunshine" and "Welcome to Planet Motherfucker" throughout 1993. They returned the favor contributing "I Am Hell" to The Beavis and Butthead Experience comp and "Ratfinks, Suicide Tanks and Cannibal Girls" to the Beavis and Butthead Do America soundtrack.

Along with RHCP, other artists who appeared four times include Beastie Boys (whose "Looking Down The Barrel Of A Gun" was covered by Anthrax on The Beavis and Butthead Experience comp), Biohazard, Danzig (whose "Mother" is the only song to receive commentary twice for both studio and live versions), David Lee Roth (solo only, never appearing on B&B in a Van Halen video), Faith No More, Pantera, R.E.M., Soundgarden, The Ramones and U2.

Motley Crue appeared three times, including once without Vince Neil, who also had a solo video in one episode.

Les Claypool appeared on the show in two Primus videos and also once in the band Sausage, who Butthead referred to as The Seminifreous Tubloidial Buttnoids. Primus recorded "Poetry and Prose" (a song literally about watching Beavis and Butthead) as their contribution to The Beavis and Butthead Experience comp.

Dave Grohl appeared in two Nirvana videos and one Foo Fighters clip.

Along with White Zombie, other artists to appear three times include AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Alice In Chains, Bjork, GWAR (who are prominently featured in MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head: The Game for Sega Genesis and SNES), Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, PJ Harvey, Rollins Band, Salt-n-Pepa and Ween.

1994: The Year B&B Broke Bands
Not everyone had the Columbia House catalogs, which was probably the OTHER major reason (besides B&B) why average high school kids might have been familiar with Matador band names like Helium, Pavement, Chavez, Pizzicato Five or Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. For a certain MTV viewer, Helium is immortalized as the band whose lead singer was dragging a hoe through a garden, while Pizzacato Five is remembered as having a band member who looks like Eddie from My Three Sons. (Hugely underrated Butthead impression: "Hhhhhey Uncle Charlie. Seems like a lotta work to me.")

Multiple show appearance from King Missile, Babes In Toyland or Quicksand arguably gave those bands a larger promotional push than a one-time appearance on Letterman.

In either case, Seaweed might have been remembered as that band whose video began with the disclaimer "Over 5 Zillion Bikes Are Stolen Every Year," but re-runs on Beavis and Butthead continued to air the "Kid Candy" video long after its shelf-life on 120 Minutes had ended.

Ween were a grower band. Butthead's initial reaction to "Push Th' Little Daisies" was "These guys got no future." A year later, their reaction to "I Can't Put My Finger On It" mostly focused on gyro restaurants until its outro when Beavis says, "But yaknow, it IS kind of a good song. If you listen to it, it is pretty cool." They upgraded Ween's status again a year later while catching the "Freedom Of '76" video, singing along to "Freedommmm" and calling them out by name: "Check it out. It's Dean and Gene Ween. Ween kicks ass."

Despite their fandom of hard metal, they did not enjoy deathmetal bands like Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel or King Diamond nearly as much as early '90s hardcore metal like Pantera or Crowbar or the louder end of the grunge spectrum like Soundgarden or Alice In Chains. They notoriously hated late '80s pop metal and were unjustly blamed for ending the short-term careers of bands like Winger and Poison whose popularity had already been disintegrating by 1993.

Three Times B&B Watched The Entire Video
The structures were left untouched since they're all pretty short songs. Even if Beavis wanted to shout "change it!" he simply didn't have enough time.

1. Gary Young "Plant Man" (July 1995)
We suspect that Beavis's "heyyyyyy Butthead" might have been a vague reference to You Can't Do That On Television.

2. Elastica "Connection" (September 1995)

3. Del Amitri "Roll To Me" (January 1996)

(bonus) Nine Inch Nails "March Of The Pigs" (May 1994) also came close. A short section from verse 2 was cut.

(bonus) Not available on Youtube, their two commentaries from the Thanksgiving special in November 1997 unusually allowed commentary to continue past the 2:30 mark. Almost all of Marilyn Manson's “Long Hard Road Out of Hell” and Fiona Apple's “Criminal” were shown.

Videos We Wrongly Assumed Were On B&B
Our B&B trivia was not a sharp as we originally thought.

1. Van Halen "Hot For Teacher"
We're surprised to discover David Lee Roth's solo videos were shown four times and yet the only Van Halen video shown was "Can't Stop Loving You" from 1995's Balance (a Hagar video which they correctly assess as resembling one of those really horrible early '90s country videos from TNN).

2. Gilby Clarke - any video
Gilby Clarke had no solo videos on B&B. We probably got this confused with Izzy Stradlin and Slash's Snakepit, both shown once each, while GNR's two videos were "Garden Of Eden" and "Paradise City."

3. Snow "Informer"
Huge during Spring 1993. Low-hanging pop. Many 9-year-old fans. But somehow, Mike never threw it into the rotation.

4. Smashing Pumpkins "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"
5. Alanis Morissette "Hand In My Pocket"
6. Alanis Morissette "You Oughta Know"
Video commentary quietly ended by the time these videos blew up in September '95. We'll discuss this more in a future post.

Three Videos B&B Shockingly Enjoyed
1. Bee Gees "Jive Talking"
"Is this The Black Crowes?" "No way! These guys are cool." (P.S. It also seems odd that they never watched a Black Crowes video.)

2. Wilco "Box Full Of Letters"
Not on Youtube. Butthead has trouble understanding his enjoyment: "Uhh. Something about this sounds different."

3. Bon Jovi "Something For The Pain"
While they were watching "In These Arms" in late '93, Beavis asks, "Remember when these guys were cool?" alluding to some secret guilty-pleasure Jovi fandom. Butthead laughs and responds, "You probably like these guys, wuss." It took over two years for Beavis to finally stand up for himself during the "Something For the Pain" video in January 1996, hinting that Mike Judge felt guilty whenever fans would misinterpret B&B's in-character criticism as a serious taste-making alternative. Granted, they usually had pretty great taste in bands, although Beavis was kinda wrong in this case; "Something For The Pain" is terrible.

We'd like to think Mike Judge didn't actually pronounce Nirvana's name incorrectly IRL. His bit for "Heart Shaped Box" was recorded pre-death but eerily first aired post-death in May 1994. It wasn't until "I'll Stick Around" in November 1995 that NirvaRna was acknowledged one last time.

Beavis's "channeling of a rock critic" sequence was pretty amazing, and we wish Mike Judge had tried this more often.

No comments:

Post a Comment