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The Golden Age of MTV Through Rose-Colored Glasses


Pub Date: July 30th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-250-01747-5
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

One of the original video jockeys waxes nostalgic on her time with the MTV network.

Lisa Kennedy Montgomery was barely 20 when she began working for MTV during an era “when music mattered and time stopped” and found herself “roaming the streets of New York in men’s pajamas and combat boots interviewing rock stars and looking for trouble.” However trivial this “trouble” may appear to readers, Kennedy takes a curious pride in vigorously describing it in great detail throughout a memoir that’s as cheeky and snarky as her former on-air personality. A high school dropout who moved swiftly from an overnight radio internship in Los Angeles to a fill-in VJ spot, Kennedy plunged headfirst into the free-falling, adrenaline-fueled world of music videos, rock bands and rock stars. She shares a smattering of stories from encounters with musical dignitaries like Henry Rollins, Madonna, Dave Navarro, Courtney Love and Gwen Stefani, among others, all enriching an era that embodied a “collision of culture and media.” These vignettes complement pages of interviews with everyone from broadcast veteran Andy Schuon, who hired her at 19 with no broadcast experience, to Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan. After many successful incarnations of the live-broadcasted MTV Beach House segments in Malibu and the Hamptons, the termination of a series of late-night talk show pilots signaled the end of her tenure in 1997. Despite a knack for snappish commentary that reads easily, Kennedy’s memoir doesn’t translate as particularly illuminating, especially when her opinionated commentary nips at the rockers and co-VJs who made her youthful livelihood possible.

Mildly entertaining but superficial and unremarkable.