Notes: Beck brings Midnite Vultures to the ultra-mainstream, performing "Mixed Bizness" on the ABC broadcast of the American Music Awards.
In 2005, Beck did an interview with Filter Magazine, and recalled this show. Amazing: please put this on Youtube someone (note: I put it up myself, it's below):
"We did the American Music Awards, like five years ago." Beck Hansen leans forward in his chair, his face lit up, and tells the story of his favorite moment, a moment which seems to capture something about the odd forces which drive him. "And you know, it was like, Garth Brooks sitting in the front row and 'N Sync was there with Lenny Kravitz."
He'd been told that he could sing but that his band couldn't play-which he found ridiculous. They'd choreographed the whole thing with the producer during soundcheck: when they were going to cut to the horn, when they were going to cut to the guitar-so all of the TV shots were already in the queue.
"So before we went on I told various members of the band to do various things, almost as if it was an art action performance where the performers are given a prescribed series of procedures and things to enact, but the rest of it is kind of random and dictated by chance."
The producers were unaware of the changes and when Beck came on with his band, mayhem ensued as the cameras cut around to find the drummer in a turtle neck sweater and a ski mask, playing his cymbals with his hand. The horn section was in the audience doing sit-ups.
"So the music kept going, because they wouldn't let us play live. They cut to the horns and there were literally three empty mike stands, which was amazing. You know, ABC primetime Tuesday night, cut to the horn section and there was nobody there. And that to me just represented the whole phantom behind the veneer of the whole thing. There's all this movement and action and cool looking stuff and girls and cars and God-knows-what, but there's nobody there.
"I remember at the end, we were sort of whisked away and nobody said anything. I saw it later, and what had happened on the broadcast and within the first 30 or 40 seconds they realized that all hell had broken loose and half the band was in the audience and the rest were just kind of crawling around on stage."
He laughs, his mind momentarily occupied by the farce, by the playground called "culture" that he inherited, suffered through, reveled in, toyed with - then wrapped up in a big bow and gave back to us.
"So they just cut to my face," he says, a bit giddy. "A tight close-up of my face for the rest of the song. But just by my left earlobe, just on the side there, you could see somebody doing jumping jacks or running across the stage with an umbrella. It was just enough to make you feel like the universe, the real universe behind the television, was somehow winking at you."
Bass: Justin Meldal-Johnsen Drums: Victor Indrizzo Guitar (Electric): Lyle Workman Host: Norm Macdonald Keyboard / Synthesizer: Roger Joseph Manning Jr. Other Band: 'N Sync, Brian McKnight, Christina Aguilera, Creed, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Enrique Iglesias, Eurythmics, Eve, Faith Evans, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah Carey, Savage Garden Saxophone (Alto): David Brown Trombone: David Ralicke Trumpet: Jon Birdsong Turntables: DJ Swamp Vocals: Beck Hansen Vocals (Background): Glenys Rogers, Johari Funches-Penny