Found videos from 1996

Loads of found videos from 1996, featuring cameo appearances from three bright young actors, Stella as a grunge band, double Annie Crummer and Strawpeople, and some political pop.

Continue reading Found videos from 1996

Verlaines “Hanging By Strands”

1996-the-verlaines-hanging-by-strandsSo, it turns out this video is all about Graeme Downe’s long raven tresses, which indeed are hanging by strands.

We meet Graeme Downes wandering around a bleak coastal landscape and he has a ponytail, a long raven ponytail down to his waist. I believe that everyone should experience long hair at least once in their life (I did it when I was 12-13), so I fully support Graeme in his hairstyle choice. I also note that he has opted for a floppy fringe, which will avoid him looking like Neil from the Young Ones when he wears it down.

And he does wear it down, with the long hair dramatically blowing in the sea breeze. It makes me wonder, did he grow his hair especially so it would look cool in a music video?

There’s some live footage, where the hair is all up in Graeme’s face as he leans over to the microphone. But let’s not dwell on that.

Let’s admire the romantic Graeme wandering by the sea, low ponytail flicked to the side, over the shoulder of his white shirt. He absentmindedly plays with a piece of grass, making it all seem like he’s biding time until his heroine comes along on a white horse.

The video finishes with more of the live footage. Graeme’s hair is sweaty and sticks to his face and the audience are enjoying the show. Perhaps after the show he’ll break out the Pantene and return to the coast for a natural blow-dry.

Best bit: the zoom-out showing Graeme alone on the barren coast.

Note: Check out the header graphic before the video starts – it shows the video came from the New Zealand Music Video Awards. They were an annual competition in the ’90s, honouring the best of New Zealand music videos.

Director: Jason Kerr
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a wander down K Road.

Dimmer “Don’t Make Me Buy out your Silence”

1996-dimmer-dont-make-meThis was a very early version of Dimmer, back when Shayne Carter was really still figuring out what form his new project was going to take. It was another two years before Dimmer really kicked off with the much slicker “Evolution”. This early track feels a lot less polished, almost like a demo.

Shayne Carter plays a man on a mission, purposefully striding around downtown Auckland at night, clutching a leather briefcase. He even walks past the White Lady food truck and gives it a good stare, because you never know what’s lurking in those cheeseburgers.

Directed by Steve Morrison, it’s a very moody video and it seems to be another one influenced by that Tarantino cool. Just watch the interaction between Shayne and the taxi driver who does not approve of his cigarette smoking.

The YouTube comments suggest there may be other footage, with commenter Devilscucumber asking, “Is this the censored version? I feel we are missing a homicide somewhere…” Well, perhaps it’s better to have the menace implied rather than shown.

The taxi takes Shayne to a late-night cafe. Given his earlier visit to the White Lady, perhaps that’s all he was after – some good late-night kai. I bet that cafe does good nachos.

Best bit: the White Lady, good for late-night burgers.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Upper Hutt Posse “Dread On A Mission”

“Babylon, stop your murdering!” Upper Hutt Posse are dreads on a mission with this politically charged reggae number. The video is directed by Chris Graham and it visits a number of landmarks including Parliament, Wellington railway station and on One Tree Hill with an axe. But there are also scenes on a beach, in the bush and at a marae.

They seem most staunch and at ease when they’re in the rural or coastal areas, far away from Babylon (i.e. the police, the justice system, government). But if the Posse are in the middle of the big bad city, rapping outside the Auckland District Court, they still hold their own.

There’s a confrontation at a train station. A dreadlocked guy bumps into a crowd of skinheads who aren’t happy. He’s outnumbered, but he stands strong and we catch glimpses of the invisible posse behind him. The skinheads beat it. Upper Hutt Posse has a posse.

Best bit: the shirtless MC bothering a man in a suit outside the District Court.

Director: Chris Graham
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… baby, baby, baby, oh?

OMC “Land Of Plenty”

1996-omc-land-of-plenty“Land of Plenty” was the third OMC single to receive NZOA funding and “Right On” was the fourth, but they were released in the opposite order, making “Land of Plenty” OMC’s final NZOA-funded video to be released.

Pauly Fuemana had enjoyed a global hit with “How Bizarre” and local success with the follow-up single “Right On”. “Land of Plenty” gets personal. It’s very much the work of a New Zealand-born child of Polynesian immigrant parents.

“Land of Plenty” is a valentine to New Zealand. While Pauly’s rapping isn’t as good as it has been (he sounds like he has a cold), it is still a strong song with a killer chorus.

The lyrics list places and features of New Zealand: “Oamaru by Timaru, winding roads, sudden bends, Lake Taupo, Bethells Beach.” Pauly doesn’t forget cities, also mentioning “Mission Bay, Cuba Street, Vulcan Lane”.

There’s a cool story behind the production of the video, as told by Simon Grigg in his rather good book How Bizarre. Director Kerry Brown came up with an ambitious treatment for the video that was budgeted at $60,000 – but all they had was the $5000 NZ On Air grant and $15,000 from the record company.

So they got sponsors. The New Zealand Wool Board chipped in $20,000 on the condition that Pauly would wear a woollen jacket in the video. TVNZ contributed another $20,000 with the understanding that Pauly would take part in a promo for the station (which never happened).

Much of the video is second-unit filming around New Zealand, with Pauly and singer Taisha filmed in the volcanic plateau. Pauly was in a foul mood the day of the shoot, but Brown’s directorial expertise transformed the scowls into looks of thoughtfulness.

The video takes inspiration from the lyrics and the typical “scenic New Zealand” tourism film (check out “This is New Zealand” for a glorious example), so there’s lots of aerial footage of mountains, rivers and oceans. But we also visit small towns and the aforementioned urban hotspots.

Both and song and the video capture the appreciation that a migrant family has for their new home, but it also works as a reminder for those of us who’ve been here a bit longer that New Zealand is a lovely country.

The song was used in a 2001 ad by the BNZ, who effectively remade the video with a bigger budget, more BNZ customers and less scenery.

Best bit: the Wizard standing in front of the ChristChurch Cathedral. cries

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… mission posse-ble.

Shihad “It’s A Go”

Shihad go underground. In dark black and white footage, we see the band clambering over rocks, as they approach a strange round building in the middle of nowhere. Where are they headed?

We meet Jon in an underground bunker, shot in full colour. This might be in the old tunnels in Devonport, but they also seem like the tunnels on Waiheke Island. Actually, it turns out the tunnels are at Wrights Hill Fortress in Wellington. Despite the spooky setting, Jon looks really happy and gives a great music performance. When he smiles, I smile.

There’s a bit of back and forth between colour Jon in the bunker and black and white Shihad outside, passing through a hole in the fence. Finally the band make it into the underground tunnels, looking very cool as they wall down the long corridors.

They end up in a room with all their band gear in it, and proceed to play the song. Oh, I get it now – Shihad rock so hard and are so loud that they must rehearse in an underground bunker in order to not disturb the neighbours.

Best bit: the cooldude corridor walk.

The video is no longer available online. This should not be happening to such an accomplished group as Shihad.

Director: Kevin Spring
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a sentimental journey.

Lost Tribe “Summer In The Winter”

1996-lost-tribe-summer-in-the-wintersumSomehow this outrageously good song passed me by in the mid ’90s. I was probably too busy listening to boys and girls with guitars. I now mourn for the lost years that I could have spent listening to “Summer in the Winter”.

Ahem. So yeah, it’s a good song and the video is just as good. It’s filmed in various Auckland locations, but it never allows Auckland to be beautiful. Instead it’s bucketing down with rain, or with a murky sky. Auckland rains a lot, but it’s not something you normally see on TV.

The highlight of the video is Johnny Salaga’s performance. With his hair in pigtails and wearing a chatter ring around his neck, he owns the camera.

The Lost Tribe make it clear – this gloomy, rainy Auckland is now the home of Pacific migrants who’ve left their sunny island homes behind. But the kids are alright here. Good things are happening.

Best bit: Johnny Salaga’s chatter ring necklace. Sooo ’90s.

Bonus: here’s a Lost Tribe feature from a 1997 episode of Wrekognize.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the importance of dressing for the occasion.

Head Like A Hole “Hootenanny”

1996-head-like-a-hole-hootenannyHLAH knew how to make people dance. “Hootenanny” is a hootenanny, a boistrous rockstravaganza that got crowds moving. The video works with this energy, using footage of the band playing in various live situations.

There’s a reminder of Bands in the Square, the annual Wellington alternative rock series, sponsored by the much loved radio station Channel Z. It seems quite outrageous to see bands packing out the area between the town hall and the library. These days the Homegrown festival sprawls over most of the downtown waterfront area.

As well as the live footage, we also see the band mucking around in various situations – in guitar studio, jumping into a lake, teeing off, and in front of an old concrete building.

The pace of the video gets a little slack at times, missing opportunities to really kick arse with the music, but it fits right in with the crazy universe of HLAH.

Best bit: mini golf!

Director: Ian McCarroll
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… chatter rings.

D-Faction “Pride”

1996-d-faction-prideD-Faction is a group that I’ve discovered through 5000 Ways and every song of theirs delights me. “Pride” is a positive, uplifting song with a solid line-up. As the YouTube description notes, there’s Tony T and Maryanne on vocals, Ron La Praed of the Commodores on bass, Dave Talea doing some ragga rap, as well as Cook Island drummers.

The video places the band against overlapping tapa cloth backdrops. The band members are always seen individually, which might be a way to disguise the band not all being available on the same day for the video shoot.

After watching the Bressa Creeting Cake and Cicada videos get all conceptual and surreal, it’s really refreshing to watch a video that’s just about the band performing the song, looking like they’re enjoying themselves. It feels rather old-fashioned and conservative to say this, but sometimes it’s nice to see a video with no plot, no actors, just music.

Best bit: the little kid drummer. He’s having a good time.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… it’s a hootenanny, y’all!