- The Washington Times - Friday, August 3, 2001

NEW YORK — Fame on MTV usually is fleeting: Acts that bask in the network's spotlight typically do so for a few years at best before being relegated to "Behind the Music"-type nostalgia on other networks.
On Wednesday, though, as MTV celebrated its 20th anniversary, blasts from the past mingled with current MTV favorites at a star-studded blowout aired live on the network.
The show opened with cartoon characters Beavis and Butt-head and a performance by the punk band Sum 41 that featured heavy-metal stars Tommy Lee and Rob Halford.
"It's actually an exciting event," said Slash, former guitarist for the late-'80s rock band Guns N' Roses, one of many at the network's "Live and Almost Legal" party. "I'm glad to have reached some success in that genre. It's very cool to have been there."
Many of MTV's current fans can be forgiven if they don't know the network's original faces, including VJs Martha Quinn, JJ Jackson, Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman and Alan Hunter. After all, one of MTV's most popular artists, Britney Spears, wasn't even born when the network premiered.
Some old faces who appeared included Joan Jett, Huey Lewis, Billy Idol, Boy George, Pauly Shore and Fred Schneider of the B-52s.
"We started off MTV; now we're VH1," Mr. Schneider said.
On the red carpet, faces of MTV's present mingled with those from the past. VJ Dave Holmes got excited as he saw former MTV VJs, including Miss Blackwood and Jesse Camp.
"It's like the MTV geriatrics have shown up," said Dan Cortese, a former MTV personality who since has acted in such shows as "Veronica's Closet."
Slash, 36, recalled watching the young network as a teen-ager.
"I remember many hours glued to the television set," he said. "I sort of grew up with it."
That was back when such groups as Duran Duran, George Michael and an emerging singer named Madonna ruled the channel, when MTV's programming focused almost exclusively on music videos instead of "Celebrity Deathmatch," "Real World" marathons and gross-out comedy shows.
Most of the acts that rose with MTV have disappeared from its airwaves. Remember Debbie Gibson? New Kids on the Block? Cyndi Lauper?
Among the show's highlights were Mr. Idol performing "Rebel Yell" and a hip-hop medley featuring Naughty by Nature, Salt n' Pepa, Run-DMC and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. Others who appeared included TLC, Jane's Addiction, Aerosmith, Ja Rule, Mary J. Blige, Method Man and Kid Rock.

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