MTV and Duluth

Things that bother me about MTV & Duluth

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

First off, why can’t MTV just play music videos? Why when I turn on MTV is it only filled with fake “reality” shows of rich teenage brats, or perhaps a cheap, dating game?

There was a time when MTV played videos, bad ones albeit, but music nonetheless. Nirvana, No Doubt, Michael Jackson, Madonna, and many other Uber-Stars of fame-inity would be nothing without those videos streaming out. It’s true that “video killed the radio star,” but video MADE the video star.

Imagine a world without Korn and the bullet video, or the lameness of REM and their “Shiny Happy People” video.

There is something to be said for not seeing someone as they sing a song… That feeling of someone singing right to you or hearing music like it is a thought in your own mind…

I suppose there are years where MTV has everything right and I get sucked back into popular music; then there is this year.

I was trying to think of what the great rock writers of the 1960s and 70s would think of this modern state of music. Since they are all dead, I can only assume that they wouldn’t want to be here. In fact, Lester Bangs got so sick of music in the 1970s he quit writing about music and started his own band.

Some music snobs will then say that I need to go out and search out some more bands. I still should have some great tunes stuffed down my throat from somewhere though.

Duluth bothers me too…

It bothers me that Duluth has no bar scene where a ton of people go out to live music and pack the venue each weekend. At times people pack Grandma’s Sports Garden for some random DJ, but why not where the bands play?

Seriously, I am asking anyone reading this… Why are people abandoning the bars that play music, opting to fill up instead at trendy watering holes? Why do the students from several large colleges not go out to see bands play up here?

Is it that the bands suck? Is it that the cover charges at the door are too high? Not enough promotion? Please, someone out there write me and tell me why you are not going out to The Tap Room, Bev’s, Thirsty Pagan, The Reef, Beaner’s Central and any of the many other venues around the Twin Ports?

Are there too many bars that have bands? Too many bars period? What are your thoughts out there readers? Is it because if you want to drink at one bar you are automatically obligated to stay within a certain area of town (DUI’s, etc.), when in fact you want to venture elsewhere? Would a centralized “bar scene” create a larger, diverse crowd? Email me at and I will post your opinions here.

There is Homegrown coming up in a few months and there will be talk of the over one hundred bands performing. Magazines will be printed, venues will be chosen, bands will be complaining about the venues chosen, and how they don’t get paid, but it lasts a single week.

Then we are back to a few bands playing and no one out again. Why?

When I was in college the time from 11 pm to close was packed up front on the dance floor. It didn’t matter what day it was, the band’s infectious energy made everyone dance.

Many bars I go to in Duluth don’t have a large dance area, or if there is a dance area, no one dances. I shouldn’t say no one, because the girls are fun to watch. When they get a few brave ones together they head up front for a song or two. If things get really crazy, maybe they will be joined by others. Girls love to dance, but back in my day the guys went up there to dance with the girls. At most bars around town in Duluth the guys hide under their stocking caps or behind their drinks.

So reader, let me know why you don’t go out to live music anymore. Otherwise we men will be programming the jukebox at Dubh Linn’s, standing around and hiding behind our drinks forever.

But if MTV doesn’t start playing music how will we know what to pick on the Jukebox?