As you figure out what to do this Friday (December 4) night, keep in mind that there is only one place where you can see Death Cab for Cutie perform "Meet Me on the Equinox," the guys from 3OH!3 dress in drag, Asher Roth stage dive, the Dead Weather melt faces, Cam'ron lyrically throw down with the Clipse, Matt and Kim strip down and Mary-Louise Parker shout "motherf---er." That place? The 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards, which air at 10 p.m. on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU.
The dynamism of the personalities involved was evident in the conversations we had when the show taped at New York City's Roseland Ballroom. We learned that the Clipse aren't bothered by insects, Kenna is training hard for a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, Justin Bieber has some killer MC skills, Tech N9ne can rap backwards and everybody wears hideous sweaters.
Tonight's show not only features the live performances by Death Cab for Cutie, the Dead Weather and the Clipse but also Matt and Kim and Passion Pit. It's a star-studded affair that celebrates all manner of genre-pushing, forward-thinking music and service. Get prepared for the big show by checking out as well as all the insider interviews and coverage here on the Newsroom blog.
Just in case you need a little extra push to get yourself into a Woodies frame of mind, check out the clip collection below. We asked a handful of bands what they think when they hear the word "Woodies," and the results are decidedly ... eclectic. See for yourself.
The mtvU Woodie Awards celebrate genre-bending music and independent experiementation — a subset of music that used to be known as "college rock." Since the Woodies work to keep this genre (and the phenomenon that is college radio) alive and kicking, it's only natural that some of the artists attending this year's show at New York's Roseland Ballroom would reflect on the time they spent at higher education institutions and the music that helped them get through long study sessions and hangovers.
Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte — otherwise known as 3OH!3 — even got their start while they were in school. The pair met at the University of Colorado (they had a physics class together), and both finished school before rock stardom came calling. Like anybody, they've got certain musical memories associated with their time in Boulder. "For me, it was Death Cab for Cutie's Transatlanticism," Foreman told MTV News. "That was huge." (Luckily for Foreman, he got to hang out with Death Cab and watch them perform "Meet Me on the Equinox" later on that night.)
Motte's inspiration was a little more ... esoteric. "For me it was Eiffel 65, 'Blue,'" he said. "I went to college back in '98 ... actually, I didn't. I just lied about that. That was more high school. But it's still a great moment." Motte then treated MTV News to a head-bobbing rendition of the classic euro-disco track.
You can catch 3OH!3, Death Cab for Cutie and a host of other mtvU favorites on the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards, which air this Friday, December 4 at 10 p.m. on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU. And no, Eiffel 65 were not in attendance. But there's always next year!
The 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards aren't just about great performances, killer videos and artists who push the boundaries of musical experimentation. (Though there's no shortage of any of that.) The Woodies are also about awareness, service and giving a little bit back. That's why they gave out the Good Woodie, the award that recognizes exceptional commitments to social change. The illustrious nominees included To Write Love on Her Arms founder Jamie Tworkowski, John Legend (for his poverty-combating Show Me campaign), Wyclef Jean (for his Yéle Haiti foundation), Alicia Keys (for the AIDS-in-Africa-focused Keep a Child Alive) and Kenna (for his work with Summit on the Summit).
Though Tworkowski took home the hefty piece of lumber, Kenna's project is certainly intriguing. The multi-talented musician is currently putting together a plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro — the tallest mountain in Africa — in order to raise awareness for the worldwide water crisis. Kenna's own father nearly died of a water-borne illness in his youth, so it's an issue that he takes very personally. He won't be alone on his trek, though — he's bringing along friends Jessica Biel, Lupe Fiasco, Santigold and a host of others will join him on the trip to the peak.
As you can imagine, you can't simply put on your coat and wander up the over 19,000 feat that make up Africa's highest elevation. It takes a great deal of training, and Kenna and his team are all hard at work. "I'm training in secret," Kenna told MTV News on the red carpet of the Woodie Awards. "Jessica Biel needs no training whatsoever. Lupe Fiasco thinks that he is in shape, but he's in for a rude awakening. It's a lot of cardio and lung capacity. Altitude is really crazy and oxygen is really crazy."
This isn't Kenna's first crack at the mountain, either. "I did it once before. I got sick about a thousand feet from the top, so I didn't make it. But I'm going to make it this time." That's exactly the sort of resolve you'll find all over the Good Woodie category — and all over the rest of the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards, which air this Friday, December 4 at 10 p.m. on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU.
Asher Roth might be one of the biggest breakout stars of the year. His hit "I Love College" made him into an instant cult hero on the university circuit, and his significant skills on the microphone have allowed him to team up with some of the best in the business. One particular tag team that might not be as expected? Justin Bieber, the 15-year-old singer who took the music world by storm with a series of online videos and a commitment to Twitter. Roth and Bieber share a manager, and he said that the two of them first moved to Atlanta around the same time, which lead to an interesting alliance.
"He lived like a block away from me," Roth told MTV News on the red carpet of the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards. "Watching him is like watching your little brother. It's crazy."
Roth, who just moved to New York, is hard at work on his second album, which he promises will feature a handful of quintessential New York producers and guests. He was short on details, but promised that we would be hearing new music soon.
Would we be hearing Bieber on Roth's new album? The MC says that wouldn't be all that strange. "He can rap," Roth revealed. "I put him on a remix, but I don't think his mom would like that very much." For more from Roth — as well as the rest of the stars at the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards — be sure to check out the show this Friday, December 4 at 10 p.m. on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU.
One of the best surprises at this year's mtvU Woodie Awards was the victory by truly bizarre rapper Tech N9ne, who scored a victory when he took home the Left Field Woodie. While the Woodies look to celebrate independent music of all kinds, the Left Field Woodie recognizes the artists working at the extreme margins.
Tech certainly fits that description, as his fiercely independent brand of hip-hop mines Wu-Tang grime, horrorcore, rap-rock and old-school boom-bap. He even calls his label Strange Music, which Tech explained to MTV News on the red carpet at the awards a few weeks ago.
"Strange Music. S and M. Not sado-masochism, but Strange Music," Tech explained. He pointed out that the snake and bat on his chain also represented the logo for the label. "My partner Travis O'Guin and I have been independent since 1999, and it's been beautiful ever since. Forget the majors — we're going to do it our way. If I want to paint my face, I paint my face. If I want to color my hair, I color my hair. If I want to rap backwards, I can do it without somebody saying 'Tech, I don't think people are gonna get it.'"
Tech also explained that the inspiration for Strange Music came from the Doors. "I got the idea from being a big Doors fan, and being really into Jim Morrison," he said. "You know, 'People are strange.'"
You can catch Tech N9ne's Woodie victory when the show airs this Friday, December 4 at 10 p.m. on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU, and be sure to stay tuned to MTV News for more insider knowledge from behind the scenes at the loudest, wackiest, farthest-out awards show of the year.
Though Kings of Leon scored the prize for Woodie of the Year at the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards, the most popular kids in the room were most certainly bubbly Brooklynites Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino, better known to the music world as Matt and Kim. They stirred up a tremendous amount of fervor during their performance of "Lessons Learned," which opened up the show and featured Kim stage diving and a group of backup singers who gradually stripped down to their underwear as the song rolled on.
The performance was a nod to the video for "Lessons Learned," which features the pair running around nude in Times Square — a clip that took home the Woodie for Best Video. What with all the baring of skin in Matt and Kim's idiom, they must be naked all the time, right?
Not so, or so they told MTV backstage at the show. "I only want to get naked in my house," Schifino told MTV's Kim Stolz.
That statement was quickly rebuffed by Johnson. "That is not true," he said. "We have been to a lake in Vermont in the middle of nowhere, and Kim's like, 'I really want to take this top off!'"
The pair then revealed that Schifino even experimented with augmenting her assets at the show, but ultimately decided not to. "I almost wore this padded push-up bra," she explained. "It was too weird."
Really, her wardrobe choice was somewhat irrelevant, as nobody will remember what she wore (or didn't wear) to the Woodie Awards (which air Friday, December 4 at 10 p.m. on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU). But everybody will remember Schifino's raucous performance (as well as her pixelated buttocks).
When the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards air next Friday, you'll be able to see a number of instantly classic moments, from Matt and Kim's half-naked performance to Asher Roth's stage dive to Mary-Louise Parker's f-bomb while introducing the Dead Weather. (There will be just as many moments that will not end up on the air — like the Clipse's run-in with a cockroach.) One of the most definitive portions of the show is delivered by 3OH!3, who walked on stage to present an award dressed like Lady Gaga.
But clearly that game of dress-up required a little preparation. For example, the duo shared their grooming tips. "This beard is made by Versace," joked Sean Foreman. "I would not dry this beard on warm — I would probably hand dry this beard when you're done washing it."
But "Beardvember" wasn't the only thing on their minds that night. When MTV asked them what the next big trend in movies would be once vampires have run their course, they gave it some thoughtful consideration. "I'd like to see some sexy zombies," joked Foreman. "It would give brain a whole new meaning."
That earned a high five from Nathaniel Motte, who added, "I'd like to see sexbots. Those are sexual robots."
Whether or not they'll be creating young adult literature based around sexy robots remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: They've dressed as Lady Gaga, have well-manicured beards and can be seen on the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards, which air Friday, December 4 at 10 p.m. on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU.
The mtvU Woodie Awards are unlike any other awards show out there. It plays fast and loose with conventions, allowing the crowd to mix with the talent and the performers and providing a high-energy forum for jubilant live performances. Also, there's a lot more cursing than at, say, the Tonys.
The red carpet is also different from any other pre-show in America. For one, the carpet isn't really red (at least at MTV News special spot, where it was black and shiny). Considering the variety of groups who show up to the Woodies, there's also something of a party vibe, where everybody rolls with the punches and just has a good time.
Case in point: During the run-up to last week's show, MTV News caught up with Pusha T and Malice of the Clipse, who were eager to share details about their upcoming album Til the Casket Drops, an album that Malice referred to as "hip-hop on steroids." While Pusha T was naming off the list of guests and collaborators (including Kanye West and the Neptunes), he noticed a tiny visitor crawling behind us and felt the need to give it a shout out.
That's how cool the Woodies are: Everybody is invited (even the bugs!) and nobody freaks out when things don't go the way they should. Could you imagine if a cockroach jumped out at Billy Bush on the Oscar red carpet? It'd be chaos. But at the Woodies, everything's cool because it's all part of the show. There are plenty more fast and loose moments coming when the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards air next Friday, December 4 at 10 p.m.
At the taping of the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards on Wednesday night (November 18), there were a handful of memorable moments that captured both the madcap energy of the show and the envelope-pushing nature of the artists involved. There was the near-nudity of Matt and Kim's backup singers, the curse-happy introduction Mary-Louise Parker gave for the Dead Weather and Asher Roth's stage dive. One of the most head-turning moments of the night came when Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte — otherwise known as 3OH!3 — stepped onto the stage to present the Left Field Woodie (which ended up going to fiercely independent rapper Tech N9ne).
The pair were introduced and appeared on the stage at the Roseland Ballroom wearing two outfits that Lady Gaga wore at the Video Music Awards back in September. Foreman donned the strange white bird's nest outfit, while Motte was wrapped in that full-body red lace stocking (which he described as "a soiled pair of panties" on his face). "We're here to present the Left Field Woodie," said Foreman.
"It honors the artists out there with the balls to make the music that they want to make," Motte added. "To write lyrics that others are afraid to write."
"To dress up with a f---ing bird's nest on your face," Foreman concluded.
The band didn't seem particularly comfortable in the Gaga-inspired threads, though the outfits were definitely an improvement over Foreman's cardigan sweater. You can see the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards in their entirety when the show airs on December 4 at 10 p.m. on MTV, MTV2 and mtvU.
Last night's taping of the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards (which went down at Roseland Ballroom in New York City) featured a handful of excellent performances, a few dozen very welcome stage divers, some almost nude people and a bunch of potty language that will certainly have to be edited for when the show airs at 10 p.m. on December 4 on MTV. One thing that certainly sets the Woodies apart from other award shows is the fashion. Because the Woodies celebrate college music and independent scenes on the fringe, it's a pretty casual affair. Comparatively speaking, it makes the Video Music Awards look like a black tie affair. Certain guests — like Mary-Louise Parker (who introduced the Dead Weather) and Zooey Deschanel (who presented the award for Breaking Woodie to Never Shout Never) — couldn't help but look glamorous, but for the most part everybody kept their threads dorm-friendly.
This was especially true of the folks who chose to wear hideous sweaters to the show. This was especially true of comedian David Cross, Christofer Ingle (also known as Never Shout Never) and Sean Foreman of 3OH!3, all of whom were wearing the kind of duds that would make Bill Cosby blush.
Still, some people managed to combine both slick and casual, including Diplo (whose suit was water-repellent), Friendly Fires (each of whom was wearing a dapper throwback suit; they sort of looked like they were on their way to a meeting with Don Draper) and Cam'Ron (who can't not look fly, no matter where he is). Check out the rest of the Woodies red carpet fashion here, including Death Cab for Cutie, Matt and Kim, Pete Wentz and Nick Cannon!