The CBGB 2013 Music and Film Festival has been moving along quite nicely in NYC. On Thursday, October 10, President of MTV Networks Music & Logo Group at Viacom Inc, Van Toffler, gave a rousing keynote to inspire the next generation of musicians and industry professionals.
If you grew up in the late '80s, '90s, or early 2000s, Van Toffler has probably indirectly helped shape your music taste in some way or another. From the TV show "Alternative Nation," to the debut of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" music video on "120 Minutes," and the alternative bands featured on "Beavis and Butthead" - Toffler has been at MTV to take part in a number of these iconic and pivotal moments for alternative music.
Toffler's keynote entitled, "I Used the Institution and the Institution Sure as S**t Used Me" served to repurpose the alternative mentality of "screw the institution" (corporation). Instead of rebelling the against the machine completely, Toffler suggests "screwing" the machine by using and abusing it to your advantage. He noted: "Speaking for MTV, we've been used, abused, and trampled upon by the best. Madonna played MTV like a mandolin…and we also never know what to expect when Kanye comes through the door, but we know enough to stand back and let him do his thing."
With moderator and ex-MTV VJ Matt Pinfield by his side, Van Toffler played up to the CBGB audience's sense of nostalgia with video reels of classic, unforgettable MTV moments like Jack Ass, the VMAs, MTV News, and Punk'd. He offered a fresh perspective on music and how to pursue it successfully. With bands like Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Foo Fighters, and Nirvana all benefitting from using the system; Toffler inspired and challenged the alternative music crowd to take advantage of the system to get what they want out of it.
After the keynote, Toffler introduced the band Darling Parade who played a two-song, acoustic set. The Tennessee based alternative, buzz band have a catchy, pop/punk sound and lead singer Kristin Kearns' voice is crisp, clear, and radio-ready.
The CBGB Festival continues with a free concert in Times Square on Saturday, October 12 beginning at 10 a.m. My Morning Jacket, Divine Fits, The Wallflowers, and Brooklyn's own Grizzly Bear will be performing.