All Things Music

This evening ended at the Subway Inn, an aptly named dive slightly uptown from where most of my party people would normally find themselves. But by midnight, only a few of the 20+ strong MTV News team remained.

The die hards — Rod, Alyssa, Jem and I — were rewarded by bottle-only beers and a restroom just a notch above an outhouse. Still, our derision of the Usher-heavy jukebox and discussions of All Things Music rocked. Why, you ask? Because these people care. And what else is there?

One tradition has marked my time since joining MTV News in 1996: the record Breaking Party. Every time we beat a record — we measure our successes in unique visitors to the website much as the television network measures it in audience shares — we go out and booze. Tonight was the night.

Somewhere around the tenth bottle of red wine, sometime after the antipasti and before the cutthroat bocci match, I toasted my supervisor, MTV News VP Michael Alex, for the adventure and challenge that is my day job. And then I thanked my teammates for their passion. ‘Cuz one thing I’ll say about what we do and how we do it: we give a shit. No one clocks in and out. No one’s on autopilot. Sure, we all have our off days. But fundamentally, what separates the MTV News & Movies team from its peers is its level of engagement. Everyone cares. Everyone loves music. Everyone remembers what it feels like to be a fan.

It’s trite, but Jack Kuroac’s oft-quoted passage bears repeating:

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…

And my friends and colleagues do. Just as Julia and Todd, with whom I ran Thursday night’s set in record time last night, do. They care. As do I. i don’t care of what I do at work and on stage and on CD is perfect. I care that it’s real. I care that it comes from the heart more than the head. And I care that every day is full, and well-lived.

Sure, I may flame out. I may explode and disappear “like spiders across the stars.” But at least you’ll see me on the way out.

At least you’ll know I meant it.

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