Beavis & Butt-Head prosthetic models by makeup artist Kevin Kirkpatrick (Photo: AdWeek)
On this day in 1993, two blissfully ignorant adolescents named Beavis and Butt-Head became instant superstars when their Mike Judge-created TV series began its run on MTV. The episodes "Door to Door" and "Give Blood" were the first to air as a series (the notorious "Frog Baseball" and "Peace, Love and Understanding" shorts debuted on MTV's Liquid Television animation showcase).
Some might argue that Beavis and Butt-Head helped shift the direction of society towards the futuristic Dumpocalypse imagined in Judge's underrated live action flick, Idiocracy. I wouldn't go that far, but it certainly helped along the evolution of "snark," the prevailing attitude in so much modern internet journalism and commentary. Coming in at the dawn of the slackerly, often apathetic Alternative music "revolution," B&B echoed the "Whatever, butt-munch" attitude that thrives to this day. Snark is the language of the internet and we can thank Beavis and Butt-Head's dismissive "critiques" of artists, songs and music videos, at least partially, for helping to sink public discourse to that level.
That said, I love those dudes (as much as one can love fictional cartoon characters). The revival run on MTV, featuring new episodes, picked up right where the old series left off. Perhaps like all those old bands that reunite to capitalize on their growing posthumous fame, the freaky, geeky duo returned to the small screen to capitalize on their notoriety as kings of "Whatever."
Here's a short clip from the most recent season, as the boys stumble upon an abortion protest and get psyched to meet some of the "whores" that apparently hang out at abortion clinics. Rush Limbaugh would approve. Hey, maybe he can join their show when he gets cancelled? Beavis, Rush and Butt-Head has a nice ring to it. (Or would it just be Beavis and Two Butt-Heads?)
Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a March 8 birthday include former child actor and "drummer"/singer with ’60s Fab Faux band The Monkees, Micky Dolenz (1945); founding member of Classic Rock bands Poco and The Eagles, Randy Meisner (1946); singer and successful songwriter ("Arthur's Theme," "On My Own," "Nobody Does It Better," "Don't Cry Out Loud") Carole Bayer Sager (1947); New Wave/Electronic music pioneer ("Cars," "Are 'Friends' Electric"?) Gary Numan (1958); the MC who put the "Salt" in Salt-N-Pepa, Cheryl James (1964); singer/guitarist/songwriter for scrappy BritPop lads Supergrass, Gaz Coombes (1976); lead singer for British Soft Pop trio Keane, Tom Chaplin (1979); OK Go guitarist Andy Ross (1979); and singer/keyboardist for Synth/Electro Pop duo La Roux, Elly Jackson (1988).
La Roux's beginnings date back to Jackson and musician/producer Ben Langmaid's first acoustic project in 2006. But when the London twosome dipped its toes into the the SynthPop/Electronica pond, La Roux took off. (Langmaid is half of La Roux, but he doesn't tour or appear in music videos.) Influenced by groups like Yaz, OMD and Heaven 17, La Roux released its self-titled debut in 2009 and became a favorite remix target for burgeoning Dubstep artists like Skream and Skrillex.
The album was an immediate hit and was nominated for the 2009 Mercury Prize and actually won the Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album at the Grammys last year. Jackson also made a fan out of Kanye West, who had her record vocals on his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album, most notably on the hit "All of the Lights." She also appears on the track "That's My Bitch" from West's collaborative album with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne.
La Roux is current working on its sophomore release and reports generally suggest that the duo is feeling the pressure to live up to the quality of its debut. Mojo and Q recently reported that the new album is heavily influenced by early Disco and guitarist Nile Rodgers' work in the field, with Jackson telling Q the release will be "warm and sexy," unlike the debut, which she called "angular and hard." A May/June release time frame has been floated in the press, but there's no concrete word on when the album will ready for the masses.
Until there is, here's La Roux's track "In For the Kill," remixed by Skrillex, in honor of Jackson's 24th b-day.
UPDATE: By special request (we are here to please!), here's the Skrillex-free original version.
Beavis and Butt-Head models by makeup artist Kevin Kirkpatrick; photo and more info here.