Inside the MTV Woodie Awards 09: Interviews from the Red Carpet
Jess Shaffer | Monday, December 7, 2009
The 2009 MTV Woodie Awards’ Red Carpet brought out publications ranging from Rolling Stone to daily college newspapers, like yours truly, The Observer. While lights flashed and a long parade of absurdly thin, marginally famous starlets posed for pictures and answered questions, indie music’s male stars blended into a mob of shabby, almost vintage-looking clothing and identical thickly rimmed glasses.
Ironically, many of the night’s nominees and attendees, either dropped out of college early on or never even attended. Alexa Chung, who did on camera interviews while playing Never Have I Ever, admitted that she had never even heard of the drinking game before that night, never having attended university. As Zooey Deschanel admitted, “I was only at college for nine months, but I enjoyed college actually. Leaving college was nice too. There were some good ‘bonding sessions.'” 30h!3 declared that college “teaches you a way to work, a work ethic. And to party.” Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz called college “A thing I didn’t go to for very long.”
Other talent strongly held that college, and college audiences were crucial to their careers. The eloquent and bold artist, Janelle Monae, accredited her start to her fellow college students. “It’s because of the college student word of mouth, giving me that confidence. They wanted to hear what I had to say and what I was thinking about was important to them. It empowered me.” Jamie Tworkowski also praised that “on college campuses people are really open and willing to talk.” College students and the Facebook/MySpace phenomena are largely responsible for Tworkowski’s charity’s, To Write Love on her Arm’s, success. As he explained of college student’s favorite medium, the Internet, “we kind of look at it as a stage. But what’s even more interesting is what you put on that stage, and it’s used with story telling and communication.”
While Asher Roth declared his affections for university life in his hit “I Love College,” he wasn’t planning on returning to the birthplace of his success any time soon, “We’ll see, right now I’m going to keep the snowball rolling and see where it goes. I really do have a passion to teach, and I know I need that piece of paper to do that.” He later confessed, “I don’t want to be rapping at 35.”
Though all acts were being honored for their popularity on college campuses, not all had had the best experiences with university audiences. Friendly Fires laughed that “The last gig we played in a college in America, it was possibly the most depressing experience of our lives. It was midday, and people were at lunch, and many people were eating sandwiches. Well there was just about 10 people there.” Paradoxical to their Woodie recognition as a college favorite, the band didn’t seem to give much credence to their college audience, saying “Great music should be for everyone.” Contrary to this opinion, Janelle Monae praised college audiences saying “These are the early adopters, they know what’s important in music before anyone else does.”
Not all nominees were so talkative. Jack White’s pale, red-eyed band, The Dead Weather breezed through the carpet, ignoring flashing lights and eager reporters. Additionally, Leighton Meester and Cyndi Lauper skipped the carpet, though they were notable presenters in the show.
The Woodie Awards Carpet oddly combined kitschy, retro indie vibes and inflated egos from off-the-radar fan favorites. The Woodie Awards Red Carpet highlighted talented acts and stars that may be much obsessed over by devoted enclaves of fans but are generally unfamiliar with the limelight. The endearing but bewildering Red Carpet was only the start to of a strange award show. Pete Wentz maybe said it best when he said “I think award shows are pretty pompous. But this one’s cool because there are free drinks at it.”