120 Reasons To Live: Too Much Joy

Nothing did more to further the cause of Alternative Nation-building than 120 Minutes, MTV’s Sunday-night video showcase of non-mainstream acts. For nearly two decades, the program spanned musical eras from ’80s college rock to ’00s indie, with grunge, Britpop, punk, industrial, electronica and more in between. MAGNET raids the vaults to resurrect our 120 favorite and unjustly forgotten videos from the show’s classic era.

#78: Too Much Joy “Innocents Ablaze”

With album titles such as Cereal Killers, Green Eggs And Crack and Son Of Sam I Am, Too Much Joy was, as you might guess, obsessed with 8th-grade humor and all the quirky, smart pop-music tricks needed to make its shtick palatable. Turns out that a major label (Warner Bros.) figured college-rock audiences would eat it up, signing Too Much Joy in the late ’80s to disastrous effect. Google “Too Much Joy” and the second hit is a blog post titled My Hilarious Warner Bros. Royalty Statement—recommended reading for all ’90s alt-rock bands still seething over the voodoo economics of a major-label contract. “Innocents Ablaze” comes from 1987’s Green Eggs And Crack, an album the Scarsdale, N.Y., band recorded during its high school and college years. The ensuing years saw them develop into counterculture clowns—providing much-needed comic relief during 120 Minutes itself—and get into scrapes with the law, including a 1990 arrest in Miami for performing 2 Live Crew songs.