Boob Tube

Besides the normal MTV-video rips and late-night TV appearances, contains a treasure trove of rare music videos of rock stars before they hit the big time. (And no, we’re not talking about Madonna’s legendary appearance on American Bandstand.) Here are a few choice clips we’ve found that we suspect musicians won’t be screening at their high school reunions.

Gwen Stefani

Now: Pregnant pop star and No Doubt diva

Then: Fashion disaster fronting a wacky junkyard-ska troupe that really, really liked Was (Not Was)’ “Walk the Dinosaur”


Unintentional hilarity: Gwen’s Kriss Kross-inspired backward overalls and geek-chic dance moves

Redeeming quality: Her Betty Boop-meets-Cyndi Lauper vox stole the show even then.

Tori Amos

Now: Flame-haired, piano-playin’ mom and storyteller

Then: Trying to make ends meet by “acting/singing” in a TV commercial for Kellogg’s Just Right cereal.


Unintentional hilarity: Where to start? Amos’ creepy, orgasmic enthusiasm for a spoonful of the stuff or the painfully ’80s ad jingle?

Redeeming quality: Mmmm, breakfast cereal.

Maynard James Keenan

Now: The dark underlord of twisted prog-metallers Tool

Then: Intense mullethead fronting a garden-variety new-wave rock band.



Unintentional hilarity: A toss-up between his skintight leotard and the spoken-word slam-poet breakdown in the middle, featuring mic echo on the word free.

Redeeming quality: Makes Keenan seem much less threatening today.


Now: The biggest rock-and-roll band in the world

Then: Skinny rockers roaring through “The Fool” — a blistering early original akin to early Echo & the Bunnymen — on an Irish talk show.



Unintentional hilarity: One of the critics describes U2’s sound as “a curious amalgam of heavy metal and new wave and maybe a Bowie influence in there, too.”

Redeeming quality: Besides the fantastic song? Well, the band’s youthful enthusiasm and bright-eyed energy are impossibly infectious.


Now: Influential alt-poets who still tug at the heartstrings live.

Then: Camera-shy college rockers debuting with their first music video, the now-disowned “Wolves, Lower.”



Unintentional hilarity: The awkward angles, slow motion, dim lighting and artsy freeze frames make the clip appear to be a chin-stroking student’s disastrous senior thesis.

Redeeming quality: Again, the tune. Its burnt-orange jangle and cryptic lyrics still burn with mystery and optimism today.

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