I.R.S. Records Presents The Cutting Edge

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I.R.S. Records Presents The Cutting Edge
Genre music variety show
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Jools Holland, Jeffrey Vallance, Wazmo Nariz (1983)

Peter Zaremba (1984-1987)
Country of origin  United States
Producer(s) Jay Boberg, Carl Grasso[1]
Running time 60 minutes
Original network MTV
Original release March 1983 – September 1987

I.R.S. Records Presents The Cutting Edge was a music program that aired on MTV (US) from March 1983 to September 1987, on the last Sunday of every month. Produced by I.R.S. Records for MTV and directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris,[1] the first year of the show featured a variety of hosts including Jools Holland, Jeffrey Vallance, and Wazmo Nariz before settling on Peter Zaremba, the lead singer of The Fleshtones.[2] Interviews with musicians and performances were videotaped in clubs, recording studios and private homes.

The show was intended to feature performers who might otherwise not be seen on MTV, and carried the earliest appearances on MTV for acts like Madonna, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and R.E.M.[3] In addition, the co-founders of I.R.S., Miles Copeland III and Jay Boberg, saw the program as an effective promotional tool for I.R.S. recording artists at a time when much of the music industry had not yet perceived the marketing value of music videos.[4] Copeland later described himself as "the only record company executive ever to have had his own show on MTV".[5]

In 1986 Los Angeles Times critic Terry Atkinson called The Cutting Edge "simply the best program about pop music that we have", with "the most interesting and adventurous new acts".[6]

As it evolved, the program began to produce programs that focused on regional music scenes around the United States, such as in Winston-Salem, Austin, and different neighborhoods around Los Angeles.[7] The 1985 episode filmed in Austin was an important contributor to the brief flourishing of the local "New Sincerity" music scene.[8][9]

In 1986, the name of the show changed to The Cutting Edge Happy Hour and it was videotaped at a single location, the Hollywood Holiday Inn. A June 1987 episode presented a wide range of performers from Frank Zappa to Ladysmith Black Mambazo[10] but overall the series became more focused on Southern California bands, lost popularity, and ended by September 1987.[2]


  1. ^ a b Laura Foti, "Music Monitor", Billboard, March 26, 1983.
  2. ^ a b "The Cutting Edge". TV.com. Retrieved 2009-04-20. [user-generated source]
  3. ^ Rob Tannenbaum; Craig Marks (2011). I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. Penguin Publishing Group. pp. 317–319. ISBN 978-1-101-52641-5. 
  4. ^ Amar V. Bhidé (2003). The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses. Oxford University Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-19-517031-3. 
  5. ^ "Twenty Years of MTV", Billboard, July 28, 2001.
  6. ^ Terry Atkinson, "Mtv Looks More Alive At 5", Los Angeles Times, July 27, 1986.
  7. ^ Moira McCormick, "'Cutting Edge' looks at regional scenes", Billboard, September 28, 1985.
  8. ^ Barry Shank (2011). Dissonant Identities: The Rock’n’Roll Scene in Austin, Texas. Wesleyan University Press. pp. 157ff, 207ff, & passim. ISBN 978-0-8195-7267-7. 
  9. ^ Jody Denberg, "Who Made the Cut", Texas Monthly, November 1986.
  10. ^ Patrick Goldstein, "Pop Eye", Los Angeles Times, June 21, 1987.