Ted Brown was (and still is!) a great songwriter and performer. I saw him opening for the Mutton Birds in 1993 and he blew everyone away. But yet chart success eluded him. His biggest hit was when the Strawpeople covered “Love Explodes”.
“How is the Air up There” was a 1966 hit for garage rock locals the La De Das. Ted and his Italians keep the crunch of the La De Das’ version but give it a bit of jangle and some smoothness.
The video has hints of the psychedelic world of the ’60s. They band perform the song against a blue studio background, lit in red. It comes across a little sinister and menacing, with the shadows and red light looking like all that’s missing is a pitchfork and stick-on devil ears.
We also see the band in a more civilian form, shot in colour with in a slightly psychedelic oval frame, with Ted in bad-ass mirror glasses. Maybe that’s the problem. The video seems a bit too bad-ass. It’s sarcastic, sneering, aggressive. It’s a great song but the video feels like Ted is angry at me and I don’t like that feeling.
Best bit: Ted’s impeccable pronunciation of “air” and “there”.
Note: in 1995 a DLT remix of the song was used as the theme music for TV3’s New Zealand music show “Frenzy”.
Director: Craig Jackson
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… a stylish collection of freaky friends.