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Fridays Music
January 8, 2010 8:35 PM   Subscribe

The late night comedy show Fridays only lasted from 1980 to 1982. The show provided many bands with their first wide exposure to U.S. audiences with some of them making their television debuts. Here's some of the up and comers (and a few established acts) from Fridays: The Clash, King Crimson, The Jam, Rockpile, The Boomtown Rats, The Pretenders, Devo, The Cars, The Plasmatics, Graham Parker and the Rumour, and The Stray Cats.

They had bands like Quarterflash on too.
posted by marxchivist (46 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome, marxchivist. I still remember what it was like to hear The Cars for the first time, back in the late seventies/early eighties day. And The Pretenders, and King Crimson, and The Clash...

Thanks.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 8:39 PM on January 8, 2010


Exactly what I was thinking about when I made the post. That show was my first exposure to that incarnation of King Crimson, and the first time I saw The Jam and The Clash. I was a junior in high school and everyone else was listening to JourneyREOSpeedwagoStyxKansas. It was awesome to see stuff like this on TV.
posted by marxchivist at 8:49 PM on January 8, 2010


In addition to the music, Fridays also had The Andy Kaufman Incident.

From marxchivist's Wikipedia link:

"On the February 20, 1981 episode, Andy Kaufman was the host. During a sketch about couples at dinner sneaking away to the bathroom to smoke marijuana, Kaufman, who was known for causing trouble on live TV, broke character and refused to read his lines (saying "I can't play stoned"). Michael Richards got up from the table, grabbed the cue cards and threw them down on the table in front of Kaufman, who responded by throwing a glass of water on Richards. Some of the show's cast and crew members became angry and a small brawl broke out on stage. Since the show was broadcast live, home viewers were able to see most of these events transpire until the network cut the cameras off. Kaufman returned the following week in a taped apology to home viewers. This incident was planned by Kaufman and meant as a prank. Kaufman concocted the event with Bob Zmuda. The only staff members aware of the plan were Richards, Melanie Chartoff and producer/announcer Jack Burns. This incident was reenacted in the 1999 film Man on the Moon, starring Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman, Bob Zmuda as Jack Burns, Norm Macdonald as Michael Richards and Caroline Rhea as Melanie Chartoff."
posted by netbros at 8:55 PM on January 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Don't forget the epic performance by The Pretenders.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:55 PM on January 8, 2010


Dammit!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:55 PM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow, fantastic. My brother and I discovered DEVO on Fridays (and the Cars) and taped it and listened to the two songs they performed over and over again, in mono on one of these things. And be bouncing off the walls like little pre-pubescent psychos.

Now grab that whip....
posted by Skygazer at 8:57 PM on January 8, 2010


Andy Kaufman incident previously.
posted by marxchivist at 9:06 PM on January 8, 2010


Dig the clothes.

(Also, while I think Kuafman was hilarious, he must have been a real pain to work with.)
posted by oddman at 9:10 PM on January 8, 2010


Funny how the utterly weak Mad TV has managed to survive while Fridays went down like a punch-drunk palooka. I guess standards are lower today.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:23 PM on January 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Clash literally brought tears to my eyes. Awesome post.
posted by njbradburn at 9:26 PM on January 8, 2010


Remember, MadTV was on Fox where high standards are a liability (but hey, it finally ended last year.. I think...).
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:40 PM on January 8, 2010


Pretty sure the bass player and lead guitarist in the Pretenders clip would OD not long after this performance.
posted by bardic at 9:43 PM on January 8, 2010


Not to be pedantic, but you couldn't really describe any of those bands as "up and comers" in 1982. Awesome post, though. I've never seen Devo's Fridays appearance, so thanks for that.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:49 PM on January 8, 2010


Considering King Crimson hadn't released anything since 1975, and that lineup brought out their debut album in 1980 (the year of this appearance); and the Stray Cats first album came out in 1981 (the year of this appearance), I think you could make the case there were a couple "up and comers" there. American TV debut of The Clash also.
posted by marxchivist at 10:04 PM on January 8, 2010


part 2 of the clash on fridays, featuring "guns of brixton" and "working for the clampdown"
posted by pyramid termite at 10:08 PM on January 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


OMG, I remember watching that Clash performance...I completely misremembered it as being on SNL, though.

If I remember right, my father complained throughout the whole thing.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:32 PM on January 8, 2010


I have extremely vague memories of this show, and bizarrely enough the only music I remember seeing on it was a Randy Newman video (this must be where I saw it). I figure this must be because the bands played close to the end, and I was probably asleep by then, since I would have been in about second grade when it was canceled.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:50 PM on January 8, 2010


The Stray Cats performance is so curious.

"Well, it's not swing. But it's kinda rock-n-roll. But it's 1982. So we don't really remember how to dance to that."

Cut to 2:11 where they show the crowd being kept multiple feet away from the band. No contemporary TV station would dare to use that sort of footage.
posted by lholladay at 10:53 PM on January 8, 2010


If I remember right the Stray Cats didn't yet have an American release at the time of their appearance on Fridays.
posted by ericthegardener at 10:53 PM on January 8, 2010


I don't want the last 45 minutes of my night back. What a great set of performances.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:56 PM on January 8, 2010


Excellent post. Not just the bands, which were great, but the cast! Many fond memories of this show.
posted by fixedgear at 4:54 AM on January 9, 2010


Nice work. More Devo Fridays.
posted by jeffen at 6:02 AM on January 9, 2010


Wow, that Clash performance is amazing! I don't know if they were "The only band that Matters" at the time but they were pretty fucking awesome. Love that purple suit that Mick Jones is wearing.

What a great time the early eighties were for music before MTV came and killed off rock-n-roll for good.
posted by octothorpe at 6:02 AM on January 9, 2010


Just to add a different note, I vividly remember watching this show as a little kid (I wanted terribly to see Saturday Night Live and was thrilled there was a "version" of it on early enough for me to watch) and I didn't remember there was music at all! I remember the comedy being anarchic and weird and I liked it without getting it.
posted by escabeche at 6:18 AM on January 9, 2010


e.g. this with Michael Richards in a very "proto-Kramer" role.
posted by escabeche at 6:21 AM on January 9, 2010


Or this weird bit of meta.
posted by escabeche at 6:26 AM on January 9, 2010


Thanks for reminding me how awesome the Plasmatics were.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:10 AM on January 9, 2010


Wow. "Private Hell" is the Jam at the top of their game, just slashing Rickenbacker sound.
As to the Clash--they were never that great of a band and have not worn well. Frankly, they couldn't write, sing, or play that well--not that this is necessary to be a great rock band. The only album that survives is the first.
posted by supremefiction at 7:43 AM on January 9, 2010


This is timely. I was just hunting for some Nat E. Dred (as played by Darrow Igus) for some recipes I vaguely remembered from way-back-when.
posted by mikelieman at 7:43 AM on January 9, 2010


Oh yes, Zombies! "Diner of the Living Dead"

Now, post Shaun of the Dead, everyone sees them as cute and cuddly, but this was really edgy back in the day. IIRC caused all sorts of agita.
posted by mikelieman at 7:49 AM on January 9, 2010


As to the Clash--they were never that great of a band and have not worn well. Frankly, they couldn't write, sing, or play that well--not that this is necessary to be a great rock band. The only album that survives is the first.

I have just about zero interest in the Clash - who needs their lame bluster when you could be listening to This Heat, Television Personalities, or The Fall? - but "Train in Vain" is a perfect pop single that I listen to every day.
posted by porn in the woods at 8:17 AM on January 9, 2010


I was impressed with the production values. It looks like they actually rehearsed with the cameras and crew, as opposed to SNL, which usually looks like they're just winging it on live TV.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:35 AM on January 9, 2010


As to the Clash--they were never that great of a band and have not worn well. Frankly, they couldn't write, sing, or play that well--not that this is necessary to be a great rock band. The only album that survives is the first.

I really could not disagree with this statement more.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:36 AM on January 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is totally awesome. Between Fridays and Friday Night Videos, no wonder I turned out to be the freak that I am today. Thanks for a wonderful stumble down memory lane!
posted by CitizenD at 8:37 AM on January 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


That Clash segment is classic. Topper looks like he knows that he's there, and Paul looks like he has a central nervous system disorder.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:40 AM on January 9, 2010


What a coincidence!

I was just up in Seattle for the holidays, hanging out with an old band mate. At a Boxing Day party that a DJ friend of ours was throwing, we talked about the time we were in college. Got back to his place one Friday night, and he konked out before The Clash were on.

"Wake up! Wake up! you've got to see this!"

As he told me just a few weeks ago: "Man I was never so glad to be woken up in my life."
posted by Relay at 11:11 AM on January 9, 2010


As to the Clash--they were never that great of a band and have not worn well. Frankly, they couldn't write, sing, or play that well--not that this is necessary to be a great rock band. The only album that survives is the first.
posted by supremefiction


Eponysterical.

What a rush of memories this post is. I briefly became my swooning 22 year old self once more watching Chrissie Hynde, and was back again in the Commodore (summer of 1982, perhaps?) watching King Crimson tear up the place in front of an ecstatic and hysterical audience. The kind of holy circle of art rock back then-- at least in my world-- was King Crimson, Talking Heads, XTC, Laurie Anderson, Peter Gabriel, Gang of Four, with proper reverence paid to London Calling. It all still wears well, imo.
posted by jokeefe at 11:56 AM on January 9, 2010


Loved, loved, LOVED "Fridays". From the opening episode, I was hooked - the very first skit was a self-deprecating jab at how derivative the show was of "Saturday Night Live". In addition to the bravery of that sketch as a lead, it was 10x funnier than anything SNL was doing at that time.

Became a huge fan of Michael Richards; wasn't surprised at all by his huge success later on "Seinfeld" (except at how long it took).
posted by IAmBroom at 12:18 PM on January 9, 2010


As to the Clash--they were never that great of a band and have not worn well. Frankly, they couldn't write, sing, or play that well--not that this is necessary to be a great rock band. The only album that survives is the first.

Well you have a right to your opinion (KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!), but, I'm afraind this is prime grade A Horse Shite.

The Clash sounds better and better with time, andthe loss of Joe Strummer grows heavier by the years., the Clash were truly special and in this footage you can see how creative, great songwriters they were, it was all about the energy and the message, which remains valid and vital to this day.
posted by Skygazer at 1:29 PM on January 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


My favorite favorite segment of Fridays was Michael Richards blowing stuff up.
posted by Skygazer at 1:33 PM on January 9, 2010


The Clash sounds better and better with time, andthe loss of Joe Strummer grows heavier by the years., the Clash were truly special and in this footage you can see how creative, great songwriters they were, it was all about the energy and the message, which remains valid and vital to this day.

very true - we have a couple of plaid wearing hipsters with beards for a counter culture now.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:29 PM on January 9, 2010


Transphibians
posted by evilelf at 6:10 PM on January 9, 2010


quoted by netbros: “This incident was planned by Kaufman and meant as a prank. Kaufman concocted the event with Bob Zmuda. The only staff members aware of the plan were Richards, Melanie Chartoff and producer/announcer Jack Burns. This incident was reenacted in the 1999 film Man on the Moon, starring Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman, Bob Zmuda as Jack Burns, Norm Macdonald as Michael Richards and Caroline Rhea as Melanie Chartoff.”

This is just another example of history repeating itself – the first time as farce, the second time as tragedy.
posted by koeselitz at 10:33 AM on January 10, 2010


Hey, marxchivist: thanks for this awesome post. This makes my morning.
posted by koeselitz at 10:49 AM on January 10, 2010


I'm pretty sure I saw Sparx on that show too, and maybe Gary Numan? Thanks for this post!
posted by jessamyn at 2:25 PM on January 11, 2010


pyramid termite, thanks for linking to the second part of the Clash appearance. I can't stop watching it, particularly Clampdown. They're pretty loose by that point.

And then they just walk off the fucking stage.

I'm glad folks enjoyed this post. I threw a video of the Head's doing "Psycho Killer" in some huge Meta thread, and started thinking, "Weren't the Talking Heads on that Fridays show? No...but that's where I first saw King Crimson, man I haven't heard 'Elephant Talk' for awhile", and it just kinda went from there.
posted by marxchivist at 8:19 PM on January 11, 2010


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