I’m sure by now you’ve heard that Travis Barker and DJ AM, touring on their latest mixtape side-project, were involved in a plane crash this weekend, one that killed four other people on board the aircraft. Apparently–though none of this has been confirmed yet–the jet blew a tire while attempting to take off and skidded from the runway. Eyewitnesses saw Barker and DJ AM fleeing from the wreckage, trying to extinguish the flames from their clothing.
Barker and DJ AM (Adam Goldstein) were initially labeled in critical condition, but as of today, both men are expected to make full recoveries.
Because I was out of town and staying at a place without an internet connection, I found it very frustrating that besides a blurb on a couple cable news channels, I was unable to immediately obtain any more information regarding the plane crash and the condition of the survivors.
Believe me, I’m the first to criticize news outlets when they speculate for hours on end about a story without any breaking details, but I just wanted to hear something that filled me in on what was happening. Why were they in South Carolina? Who else was on board the plane? Were any record label people on the plane? Do I know them? Are they alright?
My first instinct was to pick up the remote and click on MTV. I was greeted with reality programming. VH1 had nothing, E had nothing, and Fuse wasn’t even carried on this particular cable system, so that wasn’t an option either (though I’m pretty sure they don’t have a news division).
I had to pray and wait.
In an age where we have more television stations than ever before, and at a time when information is passed quicker than the speed of light, how is it that when a tragedy befalls the world of music, our national television audience is kept in the dark?
At a time like this, I hate pointing fingers at MTV or VH1, but I would have (seriously) felt somewhat reassured just to hear Kurt Loder’s voice followed by a block of Blink 182, Transplants, or +44 videos. Barker and AM were also the house band at the latest VMA show, so it’s not like the station had a shortage of updated footage to show.
I understand times have changed, but looking back to 1994 when Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain took his life, guess what? MTV was on the scene almost instantaneously. Even when The Beatles’ George Harrison passed in 2001, the channel–though increasingly littered with reality programming–pieced together a news blurb and aired his “Got My Mind Set On You” video at the beginning of each hour.
When something happens to a world leader, you can turn on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, etc. When breaking news happens in sports, ESPN will be on the story in seconds. But where do you go if your favorite musician is involved in a plane crash?
Yes, music triumphs and tragedies don’t unfold as often as world news events, but when they do, it would be comforting to know that there was at least one destination on television (for those rare times when BlackBerries and blogs aren’t handy) that could fill in the grey areas and offer a little musical healing.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all the friends and family of the four people killed this past weekend. May God give you strength and comfort.