In the three years since its debut, VH1’s rock & roll documentary series Behind the Music has made fame, grandiose excess, and spiraling descents into drug-fueled nightmares synonymous with highly addictive television. Now, as BTM hits the 100-episode mark on March 5 with a Tina Turner expose, EW investigates Music‘s behind-the-scenes mysteries.
Which musicians have given Behind the brush-off?
Producers have yet to get Peter Frampton to come alive on BTM — though not for a lack of trying. ”Twice we convinced him to do it, twice we had interviews set up, and twice he chickened out,” says cocreator Jeff Gaspin. Chaka Khan has an episode in the can but ”she wanted us to make some changes. We weren’t willing to, so we just said ‘We won’t air it,”’ says Gaspin, who was mum on what Chaka wanted Khanned, er, canned. Also on the wish list: the Allman Brothers Band and Yusef Islam, a.k.a. rock recluse Cat Stevens.
Is it just us, or is the Shania Twain episode on twice a day?
”It’s on every two hours,” jokes Gaspin of the ubiquitous segment, which holds the rerun title at 73 times. Madonna is a close second with 63 airings, while Cher comes in third with a grand total of 34 showings to date.
Why are there always candles burning behind the interviewees?
Those strategically placed luminaries create ”that very intimate, moody shot,” says cocreator Gay Rosenthal. Same goes for the endless strolls along the beach (see Milli Vanilli).
What’s scarier than Motley Crue bassist Mick Mars’ non-mustache?
Nothing. ”I can’t even watch him,” says Gaspin.
— Are third-act car crashes a BTM requirement? It just seems that way. According to VH1, only 16 BTMs feature fender benders (including Def Leppard, Gloria Estefan, and Jan & Dean).
How often do shows get updated?
The Sonny Bono and Milli Vanilli episodes were appended after the deaths of Bono and Vanilli’s Rob Pilatus. Melissa Etheridge’s BTM will soon include the David Crosby-as-proud-papa thing, and Gaspin is also developing a two-hour BTM that revisits fan favorites like Marie Osmond and Leif Garrett.
What are the highest- and lowest-rated episodes?
No surprise here: The ever-present Shania Twain BTM prevailed at its premiere with 4.1 million fans. The least popular debut — which pulled only 2.3 million viewers — was for the appropriately titled band Bad Company.