It has been over five years since MTV dropped “Music Television” from its logo and abandoned frequent spinnings of rock bands’ new music videos, but even throughout the years and changes, the channel still retained one of its flagship programs: the Video Music Awards.
Always kooky and unpredictable, the show in its first years tended to celebrate some of the more cutting edge, envelope-pushing shorts, often led by the channel honoring alt bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., and Vampire Weekend.
Those days are much sparser now, with the network now seemingly favoring mainstream pop and hip hop acts.
This is not lost on Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, who watched the VMAs on Sunday night, only to be sorely disappointed by its neglecting of “young rock n roll” bands.
To the award show’s credit, Fall Out Boy took home the award for “Best Rock Video” (for “Uma Thurman”) over Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Hozier, and Walk the Moon, so that category still exists with considerable talent, but the Green days frontman has a point: the show has featured very few rock bands in the last several years.
If you’re not willing to count 5 Seconds of Summer and Maroon 5 as alt-tinged acts, then that means the only rock band to grace the VMA stage since Green Day in 2012 is Twenty One Pilots, who played “heavydirtysoul” this year.
We’re with you on this one Billie Joe.
Alyssa Pereira is a music writer, web producer, and pop culture blogger for CBS stations in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Find her on Twitter at Alyssa Pereira