Eye TV “Basement Static”

1994-eye-tv-basement-staticEye TV had a few changes. Their gear was stolen, forcing the band to record a more acoustic album, forging a gentler, newer sound with a new drummer.

The “Basement Static” video sees old gothy Shaun curled up in shadowy places, a man on the verge of a nervous spaz-out. The song has shades of Radiohead, but still manages to keep that slightly uneasy, slightly off sound that was Eye TV’s trademark. But when the chorus kicks in, we’re treated to glimpses of the band decked out in garish showbiz sequinned suits. Woo!

This seems to symbolise the crossroads where the band were – caught between their older gothic roots and the allure of a more poppy future. Which path were they to take?

Best bit: the old lady glitter disco fairy.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… something really amazing.

Headless Chickens “Cruise Control (Eskimos in Egypt mix)”

1994-headless-chickens-cruise-control-remixFirst, let’s watch the original “Cruise Control” video from 1991. It’s not hard to see why some Headless Chickens fans didn’t like Fiona having joined their favourite band. It’s like light vs dark, good vs evil. The sunny, cheery Fiona vs the gloomy goth Chris. But as it happened, “Cruise Control” was the gateway drug for my love of the Chooks.

A few years later it was remixed. The problematic Shona Laing sample was removed, Fiona’s vocals double-tracked, and most of Chris’ rap disappeared. It was a heavenly pop hit for the Australian market, with the video cheekily funded by NZ On Air.

The band are hanging out in a car, with a bewigged Fiona playing a forlorn passenger. The rest of the band take turns driving, as well as playing cards, reading the newspaper, talking on giant cellphones, sucking on lollipops, and displaying a Knight Rider banner.

It feels like the Chickens are mocking the trappings of success, and acknowledging that sometimes things aren’t always so happy.

Best bit: the establishing shot of Auckland, just to prove that they’re actually on the (pretend) road.

Director: Jonathan Ogilvie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the battle between goth and pop.

The Exponents “Like She Said”

1994-exponents-like-she-saidThe pre-renovation Parnell Baths, empty for winter, are the location for the Exponents. Jordan and the lads play the lament of lost love amid the stagnant fountain and the waterless waterslide.

But they are not alone! Because this is a music video, they are being watched by a mysterious woman with a dalmatian dog. She is wearing a matching dalmation-spot coat, so perhaps she’s a young Cruella de Vil (no wonder Jordan’s heart is broken).

Also lounging by the side of the pool are an elderly couple. The woman has a transistor radio, and the man seems very comfortable with his body as he dances in his shorts, his saggy old-man boobs jiggling with great vigour. The woman seems to enjoy this.

“Like She Said” is very much a music video, but it’s good to see the poolside antics happening in a recognisible Auckland landmark.

Best bit: the old couple’s tussle over the radio.

Directors: Mark Tierney, Paul Casserly
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Fiona and the boys go for a hoon.

Dave Dobbyn “Language”

1994-dave-dobbyn-languageFinally, Dave Dobbyn. Finally you grace us with your presence. Dave is a man of many appearances, so I feel it is important that these be logged. In “Language”, Dave wears a goatee beard, but it should be noted that in 1994, goatees were very hip. Although, like any youth fashion, that hipness did not necessarily extend to dads.

“Language” takes part in two universes. There is the colour, gloomy world of Dave Dobbyn. He lurks about in the shadows of either a junk shop or maybe the symbolic cluttered home of the tortured subject of the song. The other world is black and white, evenly lit, and with people of all sexual orientations who stare at the camera and look soulful, intense, angry or gloomy. This video must have been a boon for unemployed actors.

I don’t think this video does the song many favours. The video takes the gloomy tone of the lyrics, and ignores the much more upbeat music. And why dress Dave Dobbyn like a bogan dad?

Best bit: the hot guy with jean-clad legs akimbo.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… what happens at the pool in winter.

Missing videos from 1994

There’s a Rockquest winner, some more bogan rock, a bit of hip hop, and some reggae.
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