Channel V officially goes off the air today, leaving us with nothing but fond and sometimes awkward memories. After more than two decades on the air, the Foxtel higher-ups have decided there’s no longer any space for the channel on their balance sheet.
We all have our favourite Channel V memories, like the time absolute boss Danny Clayton told a pro surfer to stay away from his girlfriend whilst live on air. But for us, you really can’t look past the TV event slash sociological experiment that was Band In A Bubble.
In the 2000s, we sort of had a thing for watching people doing stuff inside of a house they weren’t allowed to leave. Sure, it sounds creepy on the surface, but it gave us inspired, memorable television like Big Brother (yes, we’re being sarcastic).
Band In A Bubble was sort of like Big Brother, but instead of a dozen insufferable bogans, you had the members of Australian rock veterans Regurgitator, their producer, an engineer, and Channel V host Jabba stuck in a dome in the middle of Melbourne’s Federation Square.
The idea was that the band would enter ‘the bubble’ and stay holed up for three weeks as they wrote and recorded an album. The brainchild of Regurg manager Paul Curtis, Band In A Bubble was broadcast live, round-the-clock to anyone who tuned in.
The band entered the bubble on 31st August 2004, with Rove Live cameras there to document the whole thing (like we said, it was 2004) and the band proceeded to record what eventually became their fifth album, Mish Mash!.
The band regularly invited members of the public to participate in the recording sessions and the first-of-its-kind project is considered to be the most witnessed album recording in history. The project culminated in a huge live performance of the new material at Fed Square.
Frontman Quan Yeomans’ mother, Lien, a noted Vietnamese chef and cookbook author, prepared meals for the band as they occupied the bubble. The food was served to the band through a hatch which also allowed Curtis to communicate with the group.
However, it wasn’t all peaches and Vietnamese treats. The project took a toll on Jabba, who at the time, it later emerged, was going through a separation from his long-term partner and mother of his children.
As The Sun-Herald reported, at one point Jabba locked himself in the drum room and shut himself away in the toilet at another. After leaving the bubble, Jabba asked Channel V bosses for an extended break from his work duties.
Nowadays, Band In A Bubble stands as arguably one of the most unique moments in Australian music, the relic of a time when Channel V was a cultural force and the idea of musicians broadcasting their every thought and move was something of a novelty.