Material Issue Didn’t Get the Memo About Neon at MTV Spring Break ’91
The alpha-cappa-craphead frat boys in this puzzling clip must have thought Material Issue looked pretty silly in their black leather outfits.
After all, it was Daytona Beach, and MTV generally likes its Spring Break talent to get into the hedonistic spirit and show a little skin. Of course, MTV doesn’t generally book semi-obscure power-pop bands to play these things, and after doing so in 1991, they never tried it again. (Sorry, Posies and Smithereens.)
While the choice of wardrobe wasn’t exactly practical, the Chicago greats land decidedly on the right side of history. Sweating your ass off in cool rock ‘n’ roll clothes is better than looking douchey in neon and spandex any day.
As bizarre as the MTV Spring Break booking must have seemed, it wasn’t the worst thing singer Jim Ellison could have imagined. Speaking with the Los Angeles Times in 1991, shortly before the Florida adventure, Ellison pondered best- and worst-cast concert scenarios. Observe:
What would be your dream gig and your nightmare gig?
Our dream gig would be to play with Paul McCartney or maybe Tom Petty. Our nightmare gig would be to play with Nelson.
Luckily, it doesn’t appear Nelson were in Daytona Beach that year, so no one had to see a sweaty, tank-topped version of this: