Let's be honest. What's happened to Headbangers Ball is a disgrace and an insult to all those who support the genre of metal. Yes, a new demographic rules, there's no toxic waltzing your way around it. MTV now markets to teens with buns in their ovens or those scraping through sexuality issues. Music videos, the foundation of this network, are so passe it appears MTV, generally-speaking, has surrendered to YouTube, podcasting, iTunes and on-demand video presentations. Sure, there's plenty of video-themed offshoot channels between MTV and its sister station VH-1, but the special in the word "specialty" has long vanished when you mention MTV anymore. Call it sour grapes at age 41, but I'm one of millions who helped make MTV a media sensation, speaking as an original diehard viewer.
I'm proud to say I was there in 1982 when MTV first broadcast. I'm also proud to say I caught nearly every single episode of the original Headbangers Ball back in the day, even if it meant coming home at midnight on a Saturday night and going back out or hijacking the tube wherever I might be at that unholy hour. HBB was religion. Even though the eighties' incarnation of The Ball eventually became a fluff parade designed to hook both the nothin' but a good time pop metal partiers and the serious metalheads waiting for most of the show to see a Mercyful Fate, Overkill or Metal Church clip, it was a mandatory element to headbanger culture.
After Headbangers Ball first blew into the dust once grunge smacked heavy metal aside in North America, I was overjoyed in my adult life to see its return more than a decade ago. Formerly hosted by Jamey Jasta, the new Headbangers Ball had it right--at least for awhile. Interview segments, upcoming release and news blurbs and some righteously heavy videos. Goddamn, it was like a true metalhead got the production and editorial job in one fell swoop.
Then one day, it all swooped and fell, period.
If you've been paying attention over the years, Headbangers Ball has been treated like a commodity with a worn shelf life. Yeah, it attracts people by name and for what it stands for, yet the instability of keeping a proper Headbangers Ball has flushed a genuine institution down the Manhattan sewers from whence it quasi-broadcasts. You likely have to DVR Headbangers Ball now on (random) Tuesday mornings at 3:00 a.m. and it's only for a measly hour with guest artists presenting videos. Seriously, though, where's the passion in it? While packing up my dungeon recently, I came across a generous handful of tapes from the original Ball and the new and something felt even more remiss in my heart than the empty basement I'm leaving behind. I even had enough presence of mind to have taped 24 hours worth of MTV X, you know, the one-time metal channel that was later golfed away into the mainstream fairways of hip hop.
God bless Eddie Trunk and the boys at That Metal Show on VH-1 Classic, or else there'd no be no real commercial sanctum for metal freaks, one of the remaining few sects of hard copy music buyers out there. Metal releases are scattered all over Billboard and yet it only warrants a jackoff pittance in a time slot obviously bestowed as a bitch slap. The least MTV could've done was release DVDs of the original Headbangers Ball and even some of Jamey Jasta's era, because metalheads would buy that shit! Wake up and smell the digi-dollars, MTV!
At this point, for MTV to even hold onto Headbangers Ball in its current state is posturing. The show deserves an overhaul or it deserves death. At 3:00 a.m. at irregualar intervals for a lousy 60 minutes with commercial interruptions, you might as well put up the tombstone and suck up to the faux hawks and their pregnant, pretend-tanned waif wives. Beavis and Butthead are coming back, cheers to that. Why not bring back one of the best game shows ever, Remote Control? Because the only people who want their real MTV and Headbangers Ball as a fan-oriented two to three hour program the way it used to be are now the parents they once rebelled against when MTV actually stood for something.
What are your thoughts, readers? Reboot The Ball properly or stick a Flying V in it?