“Hype TV”: A Night Flight-inspired punk rock variety cable TV show that “kinda kicked ass”

By on June 30, 2015

Occasionally, we get cards and letters from people who tell us that “Night Flight” not only influenced what they saw on the boob tube back in the ’80s, but it also inspired them to make their own TV shows, like we told you about here. Today, we’re psyched to be able to share with you excerpts from “Hype TV,” a Boston-area punk rock variety cable TV show that, in the words of its creator, “kinda kicked ass” (we agree!).

HYPE TV 1

We asked Greg Palmer to tell us about “Night Flight”‘s influence on “Hype TV” and what it was all about:

“‘Night Flight’ introduced me to the Ramones. It was all kinda hazy as a result of my being a novice stoner in the ’80s. I was hanging out at a friends, and we were one of those highs where you sit for long periods thinking that you’re talking, but you’re not. Well, there it was in front of me, a video on ‘Night Flight’ for the Ramones’ “Psycho Therapy.” It was just about the most amazing thing I’d ever seen, it spoke to me.

I decided that it was one of my goals in life to hang out with the Ramones. My friends and I created a punk rock variety cable show and managed to tape and interview the Ramones on several occasions. The key was in first approaching Jonny with a YooHoo [watch the video above].”

HYPE TV 2

Palmer: “I love animation! Always have and still do. Even at 45, my wife and I still frequently have anime binge nights and search Vimeo for innovative animation. I remember attending the Spike and Mike festivals and wanting to feature animation on ‘Hype TV.’ We made a connection with the Rhode Island School of Design and regularly featured student animation. However, having not attained individual rights for the animations I have not been encoding them for the internet. The legalities back then were a lot more gray. Our attitude was, do what ever you want until somebody says we can’t (cease and desist!).”

Palmer: “We dropped ‘F’ bombs and showed nudity at a time when television was pretty squeaky clean. The show was produced out of the cable studio in Marshfield, Massachusetts. We lured a few acts to come to us, most notably Powerman5000 and the legendary Kane Hodder. We were broadcast in Boston and surrounding towns all over Massachusetts, we had to actually physically deliver tapes to the source. The entire state of Rhode Island got to view us because of a state wide interconnect.”

Palmer: “The show allowed us to do what ever we wanted to, and we used it as a means to get into all kinds of shows and events. I never paid for concerts for like ten years. I don’t think ‘Hype TV’ could be made today. We’d just show up with equipment and act like we were supposed to be there. Eventually we were able to drop names of artists we had featured, and giving some ‘good phone’ scored press passes. Musically, we were pretty open minded as long as it wasn’t too wussy, but the show itself kept a punk attitude with a fair dose of mass media scrutiny and commentary.”

Palmer: “I am proud of what John-Jay Shutt, Al Morris, Chuck Prefontaine, John Decarmo, Smacka, and myself were able to achieve without any real budget or let’s face it… common sense. The result was ten years of pure creativity – without notes! The last thing that we ever would have thought of doing was selling out, today ‘selling-out’ is the whole business model of Start-Ups!”

Palmer: “Watching Hype clips for me isn’t just enjoyable because of the nostalgia of seeing some documented rock-n-roll performances… but rather, because they play like my own home movies… this was my life… and the time I spent creating ‘Hype TV’ with my friends was some of the best of my life.

Palmer: “The show ran for ten years and racked up 145 episodes. Keep in mind that we did all of this without the Internet or cellphones. We all worked odd jobs to support our TV-making habit! Sometime last year I opened up a box to find moldy VHS tapes. I popped in a couple to discover that they were deteriorating badly. I decided to start encoding some in an effort to archive the fact that ‘Hype TV’ ever even existed.”

Palmer: “Currently, I am a professional editor living and working around Boston.”

Greg Palmer Hype TV

Thanks, Greg!

Check out “Hype TV”: here.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.