If there's one thing about the Internet Movie DataBase, it's got EVERYTHING! I was surprised to find not only an entry for Rockin' America here, but also a few comments! Very nice that I wasn't the only one staying up late on Friday and/or Saturday nights (I think sometimes it was shown on one or both nights) watching this show in 1984, due to not having cable then (and I probably never will, either), which, other than occasionally seeing some MTV (when they actually PLAYED music; what a concept nowadays!) at a friend's house and watching Friday Night Videos and some other crappy video show that came on Sundays (forget the name of it, but they'd cut off a good minute or so of their videos; real nice!), this was pretty much my dose of (usually) hard rock and heavy metal videos.
At first I thought the show was pretty stupid, but then I later got used to the silly humor, and once the (sadly, only) one year of shows reran, I didn't see why I didn't think the early shows were funny the first time around. I guess I just wasn't used to it at first; after all, how many video shows have shown stock footage of things like cats "boxing", with the hosts pretending to be sports announcers, one of which (Frazier Smith) told the other to "take the cotton out of your mouth!", due to the other's stuffing his mouth with cotton in order to better imitate sports announcer (from back then) Howard Cosell?
And speaking of which, a couple of the main players: there was Smith, who was a bit of a rock icon back then, having a small part in Helix' "Gimmie Gimmie Good Lovin'" video and playing duel parts of an angel (I think) and the devil in Alcatrazz' "God Blessed Video" (where the devil character, of course, predictably called the angel character a "cheeseball" :) ). His co-host (I can't remember his name...the black guy -- I'm guessing it's the one that someone else mentioned earlier in a comment as "Magic" -- who would skewer Michael Jackson) would also add to the humor of their skits as well, most notably in the (aforementioned) skit where they, as private investigators, were trying to find Michael Jackson's other glove, which the look on his face was priceless when he found it. They also did a range of characters as well, especially with returning favorite (of mine) of Smith's bonehead metalhead guy of "Barry Metalnow" (how come no one has mentioned THAT character yet?!).
The boys even made fun of themselves from time to time, like when they broadcast a video clip of Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran being interviewed once, which he said that they were big mostly with the thanks to MTV showing their videos, which you heard Smith off-camera say "that's Rockin' America you dork! Oops!" I mean, what OTHER show would freakin' do THAT? Yeah, nobody!
And then there were the videos...of course, they played some of the bigger (well, they were back then), mostly hard rock and heavy metal acts, such as Zebra's "Wait Until the Summer's Gone" and Honeymoon Suite, but they also ran a good selection of the underground as well, as Suicidal Tendencies supposedly had their world premiere of "Institionalized" on the show, which I didn't get it the first time around with THAT one: a very, very heavy tune with vocalist Mike Muir just yelling the lyrics, but still getting drowned out by the guitars. Say WHAT? I sure as hell hadn't heard anything like that before...or since! But the video was funny as anything.
I also remember the very new Red Hot Chili Peppers, which I also didn't get: the drummer was wearing a baby's bonnet (I think) and the vocalist had on some kind of bizarre mask...which, once he took it off, I was like ugh, put it back on!! Their brand of metal fusing with funk (one of the earliest ever, along with Mordred) was also very different (wish they'd go back to their old days and style, it seems all I've heard from them on the radio for years now is these "I'm so bummed"-sounding ballads!) also confused me as well, since I also hadn't heard anything like that at the time either. And there was some video by some punk/hardcore/possibly "crossover" type band where the entire video was shot with the band and people constantly running along a beach, and people were falling over and all as they were trying to keep up with the band (anybody know what the hell video and/or group this was?!). And on and on and on.
Aside from probably being ignored from being on late at night and the amount of underground videos they played, the show should have been bigger than it was (sad it only lasted a year)...but then, I don't really think it was publicized much anyway, maybe not AT ALL. It would be kind of difficult to do, if you think about it: the scary, evil world (as a lot of people stereotype it to being) of hard rock and heavy metal brought to you every Saturday night, in between skits of silly people making fun of the music world, among pretty much everything else...yeah, right. Saturday Night Live, only shorter, but with much more music?
A shame. Hopefully the hosts from Rockin' America are doing OK nowadays, even if the majority of the planet has either forgotten, or was never familiar with, this show.
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