Touch The Sky

Downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica in nine minutes, all for Kanye West.

8:13 – Six blocks from the hotel, my cell phone rings. It’s Angela in New York. “We need you to feed the Kanye video again. The audio was messed up.”

This is a big deal. We’re premiering a snippet Kanye West’s video, “Touch The Sky,” on our Grammy pre-show, the tossing to Overdrive for the whole thing. So the whole thing’s gotta be there. That’s my job.

8:14 – I call Ocean. No answer. I call Jim. No answer. I call Robert. No answer.

8:16 – Ocean calls. “The tape is in the truck.” The truck is ten miles behind me. The truck is where I just came from: The Staples Center, home of the 48th Annual Grammy Awards (airing Wednesday, February 8 on CBS).

8:17 – I make a u-turn on Olympic.

8:18 – I call Craig. “Anyone on site?” Craig says yeah, Bill Sloyer’s on site. I call Bill.

8:19 – I call Bill. “Bill, can you check the truck for me? I’m looking for the new Kanye West video. It’s on Beta SP. It should be in the production truck.” Bill says he’ll check and call me back.

8:23 – Bill calls. The tape is not in the production truck.

8:24 – I call Jim. Jim tells me to call Jane. I call Jane. Jane tells me it’s in the TV truck. I call Bill back.

8:28 – Bill calls back. The TV truck (aka Denali) is locked.

8:31 – I pull back into Lot 2, and find Bill in the production management trailer. “The Denali engineers were almost home. They’re into double overtime.”

8:46 – The Denali engineer shows up. We poke around the TV production truck with a flashlight. I find the tape.

8:48 – I find my way to The Ten. I drive eighty miles per hour in the far-left lane. All of the windows are down in my Ford Taurus. And the sunroof. U2’s “In The Name Of Love” blares from the CD player. I feel the temperature drop as I approach the coast. Way out over the Pacific, a line of jets approach LAX.

8:57 – I pull off The Ten, and speed towards MTV’s Santa Monica office. I reach the tape out the window, Matt runs into the middle of Colorado, and rushes into the edit.

9:01 – The video features Kanye as “Evil Kanyevil,” and stars Pam Anderson. It’s cute, and smart, and timely, and funny.

9:09 – The video is digitized and transferred to New York.

Kanye’s video premiere for “Touch The Sky” is just one of a thousand planes on my radar. Until the Overdrive show is built, and live on the site, and the toss comes from TV, it’s still in the air, but it’s nearer its destination.

MTV News’ “All Up In The Grammys” airs tonight at 7:00 ET on MTV. The Grammys follow immediately after. I’ll be working straight through the night, publishing news articles, photos, and broadband video (including the Kanye video) to MTV News Online, straight through to the time I climb onboard the red eye and head home.

I’ve been listening to a Tom Petty song quite a bit in the car. It’s got this lyric, “She wore faded jeans and soft black leather / She had eyes so blue they looked like weather.” That just kills me. But the part of the song that’s really been doin’ it for me is the chorus: “That’s the way it goes / It’ll all work out.” Not quite as poetic, perhaps, but in the chaos of the moment, it’s a well-appreciated, and well-timed sentiment.

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