It was 1996. Supergroove had regrouped as a serious rock band, squeezing out Che Fu. DLT had left Upper Hutt Posse and was branching out as a solo DJ and producer, and everyone hated the French because they had resumed testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. These three factors combined to create “Chains”, one of the greatest New Zealand songs.
The song alternates between Che Fu’s angry verses spitting at France for dropping bombs, and the clearer chorus with the memorable line “Living in the city ain’t so bad”.
The Kerry Brown-directed video captures both sides of this, with edgy urban scenes mixed with apocalyptic imagry. Scenes of Pacific-flavoured graffiti mix with skulls, gas masks and a cross made out of money. Interestingly, the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision notes there were two videos made, with the other one directed by Gideon Keith and Grant Fell. There’s no sign of it online.
But back to the best known version and there’s a naked lady boob, which I had not previously noticed. But there it is, being all arty. It’s interesting which videos get away with nudity. I guess if you’re not being terribly sexist, no one minds.
But the star of the video is Che Fu. Wearing his ever present backpack, he is full of attitude. Sometimes seen with equally cool DLT, it’s like Che has taken everything he’s learned from his years with Supergroove and put it into the song and the video. He works the camera with such menace that it almost feels like this song could single-handedly put a stop to French nuclear testing in the South Pacific.
Best bit: the rotating hand grenade, like a macabre gameshow prize.
Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… stretch limo party!!!!