Believe it or not, MTV started off as a media outlet for – VIDEOS!  It was not what it is today.  Music videos were still relatively new and there were not that many out there but they started being produced in numbers once MTV provided an outlet for them. The Chicken or the Egg thing all over again.  I did not own any video equipment, but I was familiar with photography and music, so it was a natural interest for me.  Back then, cable companies were starting to set up monopolies in various cities throughout the US and we were in the Warner Amex territory.  As part of their agreement with the city to provide cable and other services, Warner Amex made some of their equipment and channels available to local citizens. They provided training and allowed non-profit citizens to go through camera and editing training and once completed you could schedule use of their equipment to create content for viewing on their Public Access channels.

I was one of the first (my card was # 000090!!) to sign up for the training classes.  I would borrow their equipment and film bands and live performances, family growing, along with a number of other projects.

My first project was to make a video that introduced the idea and benefits of the Public Access program, (we hoped if we had a complimentary message it would be good for PR and relationships with the people that administered the program, (we were right). and a music video idea we had been working on.  This is by definition low-budget and is dated by equipment and resources available today. But it was a learning experiment and was a lot of fun.  To do a lot of what we did it took a bunch of planning and trial and error.  I had been playing keyboards for a very short time and there are a bunch of mistakes, I was new with the video editing and production, but not this was not bad for the first release.  Usually, I am also the cameraman, but filming my own band required additional operators.  I edited the video from the collection of raw tapes and a live performance of the song.

This video features my younger brother as the narrator and the music is from the duo I was in at the time called, “The Personal Touch.”  The intro theme is a musical piece called “The Big D Jam”.  The video is based on a song the guitar player wrote called “Transaxle“.   We took vague ideas and filmed them all.  Then edited them into something semi-cohesive!  There are a bunch of funny stories that went into the making of Walking Man but I will spare you for now.  The end credits use a song of mine introduced earlier called “The Pleasure Tax“.

As with many of these blasts from the past, there are lots of good memories and a number of painful ones.  Looking at this video again so many years after, I see my youngest brother Chris in his healthy days doing the narrative part introducing the musical video before health problems including throat cancer took their toll.  This is when we thought we would last forever….. there was no end in sight.  We do not last for ever.  For him, the end was so close to the beginning.   We all have our vices, but with legal ones like tobacco and alcohol killing people every day, we all know someone that has been affected by the results. Here is the real message we should be sending; These drugs may not kill you.  You will not lose ten years of your life.  You will survive – and grow old – and suffer – for decades, with a disease that is eating you from the inside out. I am glad I was there to help him a little as he faced the end.  I would have given anything to find another path for him, but he knew where he was going.  It did not stop him and neither could I.

Comments
  1. Hi MidiMike, Great clip! I liked your brother’s feeling when he used the word ‘public’. Back in ol’ 1982 I was fiddling with video on reels. Damn! The young ‘uns don’t know how easy they’ve got it! Best thoughts and wishes, Phil

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Howdy! good catch on your part. We shared a common attitude and I am glad it comes across in the video clip. This is definitely ‘old school’! thanks for the comment!

      Like

  2. Bioman says:

    Wow! That must have been a great time….and treasurable memories for you to savour. Be thankful – my brother’s an asshole whom I have seen once in the last 19 years – he doesn’t understand time at all, competitive wretch that he is. Cheers!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Indeed! People are so used to having cameras on cell phones and go-pro, but back then, no one I knew had anything like this! I do count my blessings and you cannot choose your family! Great memories and adventure in a number of ways just learning by trial and error. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Bioman says:

    Friends are the family you choose…so I look after mine. My family is so weird – it’s like they Hate the internet generation. I love Skype, facebook, blogging and such but you would swear they didn’t exist for my siblings, all 3. Oh well. Such it is! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      That is the best way to look at it! I agree completely. I have a great family so it is not the same thing, but it does not always work that well. In our own ways, all families are weird LOL! Sometimes all we can do is lead by example and hope they come around. Good to know you!

      Like

  4. David Kennedy says:

    What a blast from the past!! It was great to see brother Chris, he was such an engaging and talented person, I never saw this before; nice to see him at his best. As one of your guest cameramen on “Transaxle” I can attest to your skill at explaining how to do it to me. And the fun we had doing it, even though Ric didn’t appreciate it when I zoomed in on the sweat dripping from his nose, but I thought it was a great shot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      I know! Chris was so young, but so were all of us. I am glad we had the opportunity to use the cameras as now we have this gem to remind us of those times and the work we did. Fun, yes: but a lot of work. Back then I also loved to teach but I had great ‘students’!

      Like

  5. DeniseBalog says:

    Thanks for sharing Mike:) MTV caught my eye…yes, I remember watching these “new” videos and being amazed of how they, over time, turned into “mini movies!” Wow, you truly were on the beginning front lines! I was sorry to read about your brother. Again, thank you for sharing your memories and heart:) blessings, denise

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      I am glad it triggered some fond memories for you! When I think about it I realize we were really lucky to have the opportunity to play with all those toys. We ‘volunteered’ a lot of help from our friends, and it turned into a community thing all of its own. I appreciate your kind wishes and thoughts. Thank you for the comment too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. othermary says:

    So sorry about your brother, but it’s great that you have images of him young and healthy to help remember him. I just finished reading Peter Townshend’s autobiography, Who I Am, and I think you might find it interesting. He talks a lot about projects with and apart from The Who that you can appreciate more than I, because I just don’t know enough about the technical aspects of making and transmitting music to fully appreciate them. Anyway, thanks for the visit. I’ll actually write something new one of these days, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Well hello again! Thank you for your thoughts. I look at this video (and a few others) and smile, so you are absolutely correct. I had no idea back then how little time he had, and every moment was special in its own way. Pete is one of my musical heroes so I will definitely check that out (literally as I go to the libraries often!). Good to hear from you again and I hope you do continue to write…. good for you and good for the readers!

      Like

  7. kdavisfanclub says:

    powerful stuff, sir (and well written). Thanks for dropping by my blog, be well. Best wishes from baldy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. tracihalpin says:

    The end made me feel sad for you. You’re right, kids especially don’t think it will affect them. I pick up my daughter from high school and I see kids smoking. They look so stupid and I just want to shake them. I talk to my daughter often about drugs, especially heroin bc it’s such a problem where I live and everywhere else. I’m sorry for your loss. I do believe less people are smoking. My nephew lives in a frat house and he said only 5 guys smoke, that’s an improvement from when I was in college.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      I appreciate that. The media has sent a message for decades that it will take years off your life…… so what to a 19 year old! They think they will live forever. Only now are we showing what their life will be like, and it is not pretty. In my brother’s case, he did not live long and his last two years or so were as close to torture as we can get. Now it is the e-cig and whatever they put into those. That is the cool thing these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. rubiredsaid says:

    The whole sadness of this is expressed, and throat cancer, well. . .. .. !
    It has a severe impact on all who are close to the afflicted person. I know someone who had it(throat cancer), she told no one not even her two adult children or her partner, They were told when she was in the final stages. She did not want the fuss, nor for them to worry. She passed away three days after they found out!
    Too many different cancers and very little reassurances as to what or how the effects will affect loved ones. All I all, the suffering is the end!
    Sad reality, thanks for sharing and remember the good times spent with your brother!

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      That is the problem, we all know someone affected. Each story is different but the end is the same. We should live life while we have it. I appreciate your thoughts, and you are welcome indeed. He was a good kid.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rubiredsaid says:

        Peace be with him! Sometimes memories will make you “blue”, but sift through to the one’s that raise a smile from you, and know that this is the signal to fulfill your own ambitions!

        Liked by 1 person

      • midimike says:

        Thank you so much. Great advice and insight. I think I have seen the signal(s). Most of my memories of my brother bring a clear smile. The end was rough, but even then he was great.

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubiredsaid says:

        Hey, there’s no harm in you thinking of him. From experience I can say it is a good thing sometimes!

        Liked by 1 person

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