As longtime readers of this blog may know my sister really helped foster my love of music. Of course she was way into alternative and wasn’t exactly pleased that I went the Phish/Grateful Dead route but during the early and mid ’90s she exposed me to a ton of incredible music from the likes of The Cure, Depeche Mode, the Chili Peppers and Jane’s Addiction.
We grew up in Monmouth County, New Jersey and our local alternative radio station – WHTG 106.3 – was ahead of its time and always played incredible tunes by up-and-coming bands that went on to be megastars. The top DJ at WHTG at the time was a gentleman named Matt Pinfield. Matt was so good at what he did he went on to work for MTV and was the host of 120 Minutes from ’95 to ’99. A few years back, Matt took over the morning slot at 101.9 RXP here in New York City. The station offers a fine mix of music in which you can go from MGMT to Mellencamp to Radiohead in the span of 15 minutes thanks in part to Pinfield’s brilliant programming.
Gothamist recently visited Pinfield at the RXP studios where Matt waxed poetic on his struggles with addiction, how he became a DJ and what he was most proud of during his tenure at MTV. Here’s a great story about how Matt stood behind Radiohead’s The Bends…
Before you hosted 120 Minutes, you worked in the music department there, picking out Buzz Clips, right? Are there any Buzz Clips that you really pulled for?
Me and Lewis (Largent, host of 120 Minutes at the time) were both really championing Radiohead, all those clips from The Bends and we were getting skewered by the industry. Because Lewis and I were saying these are the greatest videos, this record is groundbreaking and the industry had already written off the band as a One Hit Wonder with “Creep.” But now there was “Fake Plastic Trees” and “High and Dry” and “Just” and these videos were pieces of art as far as I’m concerned. That was one of the ones we fought for as other record companies would give us shit, “What do you mean?! This record’s not selling as much as our record!” But then one of the most amazing and satisfying days for me and Lewis and the Music Department was when Thom Yorke came in to give us gold records for The Bends. It took a long time to get there. But when they came in and handed us the gold records in our music room that day, Thom Yorke walked up to us and said, “I know you guys took a lot of shit for staying behind this and backing us on this record. And I just want you to know how much it means to us.” And Thom Yorke actually broke into tears before he walked out of the room. He was literally in tears.
Alternative radio is dying a slow painful death, so please support Matt by listening to WRXP on 101.9 in the NYC area or over their website.