Interview: Pete Wentz
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 12:16:28
Everyone knows the first video MTV ever aired was the clarion call from The Buggles declaring the death of the radio star at the hands of video. Now, with television music videos seemingly on life support themselves, the medics are returning to ground zero on MTV to try and resuscitate the victim. The channel had begun to take some amount of flack, as they drifted further into the shallow ocean of reality TV and farther away from their music video roots. Enter FNMTV. The new show hosted by Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz aims to return video premieres to the status of pop culture events.
Every Friday night, the show premieres new videos from artists across the musical dial, with fans able to provide feedback online. Toss in live performances from some of today's biggest chart toppers, and you just might have the tonic needed to get videos back up on their feet. As he prepared for another round of VJ duty, Wentz gave a few minutes to ARTISTdirect to discuss his role on the show, changes in the business and why you should always listen closely when you’re in the presence of fresh kicks.
FNMTV is a great concept. Who approached whom? Was it you coming to MTV saying, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea,” or was it them saying, “We have this thing we think you’d fit?”
In this case we approached them about having a show with video premieres and eventized videos. I think it may have been MTV’s concept to have it on Friday night, but it was our idea to do the show.
When you say “our idea,” do you have a regular team of guys you work on television and movie style production with?
No, I have these brains in a jar in the basement of my house, who I consider worthy intellectuals from the past. I go down there and ask them whatever I want and keep their amniotic fluid at the proper levels. I look at them and say, “What should I do? What decisions should I make, Oracle?” Actually, I have friends who I trust on these types of things. In this case it’s my friend Jesse who works at a production company called Den of Thieves.
It’s good to have a squad like that you can call on when the creative juices start flowing.
It’s great. I have this sign I can flash in the sky with a ring like Lionel, and the squad all forms. Then we go and work on whatever we’re supposed to be working on. [Laughs]
Since you came to MTV with the show, does that mean you maintained a lot of creative control over what gets on the show?
I get to control everything that goes on in the video vault. So, if anyone is mad about the video vault, get mad at me. As far as premieres go, there’s certain bands we all champion and want to get on the show. Then, there’s certain one’s where the timing is just going to work out, or it’s going to be a big look for videos. The most important thing about this show is making the video an event again.
When I first read about that, I turned to my coworker and started talking about how it was back in the day when Michael Jackson videos would premiere.
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