Found videos from 1997

A fluffy bra, nightclub, a prison, a derelict swimming pool, three lifts and an escalator.
Continue reading Found videos from 1997

The Feelers “Pressure Man”

1997-the-feelers-pressure-manThe Feelers have had 25 music videos funded by NZ On Air, second only to Shihad who have 28. Even though they had funding for “The Leaving” in 1995, it all starts with “Pressure Man”.

As far as debut singles go, this is a good one. The first time I saw the video, I was really impressed that this great pop-rock song had come out of New Zealand. But I’m not sure what happened, but no other Feelers song has connected with me.

I happened to see them perform at Homegrown earlier this year. They performed to a large audience of fans. People love them, sing their songs and feel really happy. So while I’m not especially into the Feelers, I appreciate that they have a role to play in mainstream New Zealand music.

The “Pressure Man” video is directed by Joe Lonie, but it doesn’t quite feel like a typical Joe Lonie video. This might be on account of it having a bigger budget than what he’d had with other bands. I figure Warner Music wanted to launch the Feelers properly.

The video is based around four locations. We discover a guy dressed in jeans, no shirt and with dyed yellow hair, like it’s 1990 and he wants to be Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He’s running from something, pounding along an empty country road.

Then we meet the Feelers in three locations. They’re running along a pipe. James Feelers is wearing silver trousers and a matching jacket. You know, round about this time, I really wanted some silver jeans. I was going to wear them with a black top and look really cool.

The band can also be found playing in some sort of boiler room. There are pipes, gaskets and flames. It’s like a cool music video checklist. This look never goes out of fashion – even Britney Spears did it last year.

And finally the Feelers also perform outside at an old factory. With a wide outdoors location, they have plenty room to stretch out with rock poses.

That’s pretty much it. The video just cuts between these four locations, showing the Feelers or the wannabe Flea. The video makes the band look cool, but it doesn’t necessarily work with the song. But then, if the purpose of this video is to get people interested in this cool new band, then it’s done that well.

Best bit: the reminder that the Feelers were young once too.

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… he used to do lots of things.

Shihad “Yr Head is a Rock”

1997-shihad-yr-head-is-a-rockThe foundation story of this video goes a little something like this. Greg Page had previous made Shihad a video for their song “Derail”. He just did it for fun. The band already had a video arranged for the song, but they admired his initiative and kept him in mind when they needed a video for “Yr Head is a Rock”.

The video is shot in claymation, which was Greg’s animation form of choice back in the ’90s. He’d previous put it to use in the Throw video for “Honeyblonde”, but this one is much more sophisticated.

It tells the story of a truckie, driving alone at night along an empty road. He’s balding and is sporting a blonde handlebar moustache – essentially a plasticine Hulk Hogan.

As he drives, he starts to hallucinate, visited by ghosts from his past. We see him at a school ball in 1970 where “The Shihad Band” are playing. There he has a budding romance with a young lady, and deals with a bully who doesn’t take kindly to this blonde Romeo. But this fantasy starts interfering with reality…

I’m not normally a fan of claymation, but the animation in this video is really good, with very precise expressions of emotion. And the “The Shihad Band” look like the real deal.

Best bit: a road sign advertising “Tom’s Diner” – both a reference to the Shihad drummer and the Suzanne Vega song.

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the glass is smashed.

Ma-V-Elle “Depend On Me”

1997-mavelle-depend-on-meMa-V-Elle head to an exotic location for their video, which actually looks like Venice, or a similarly exotic part of Europe. In a way, it’s a little bit disappointing that it’s the real deal. I’d much rather they were in some weird port town colloquially known as “Venice of the South Pacific”.

It looks like the trio toured Europe and filmed this video on a day off. The weird thing is, the location is almost incidental, like they have a romantic place shoot in but no idea what to do with it.

The three Ma-V-Elle ladies sing the song in various scenic locations, sometime solo, sometimes in pairs, sometimes all together. Sometimes they’re sporting fierce leather coats, which is a sure sign they’re being tourists in Italy. Some of their clothing seems like business wear, but that sort of stuff was actually cool going-out clothes in the late ’90s.

Even though the group is deep in Europe, they’ve still casually brought some Pacific flavour into the video. It’s a sweet song and I really appreciate that the video has captured Ma-V-Elle at their peak, on top of the world.

Best bit: the valiant attempt to keep from laughing while lipsyncing in a crowded street.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… keep on truckin’.

Headless Chickens “Dark Angel”

1997-headless-chickens-dark-angelI’m going to keep talking about how I love the Headless Chickens third album, “Greedy”. “Dark Angel” was the opening track and it instantly takes me back to my first year in Auckland, 22 and trying to figure how where I fitted in in the crazy city.

Despite my likage for the song, I’d never seen the video. It reminds me of the “Mr Moon” video, with colour layers floating over the top of the black and white band.

But this time around Fiona is gone, but there is a woman in the video. Taking inspiration from the opening titles of Bond films, the video features shots of a naked lady. Who needs a girl in the band when you can just use female body parts in the video?

I started to think about the woman. What if she was actually a Bond girl, Chookie Galore, a good girl who got involved with the Headless Chickens gang. Has she come to seduce you, Mr Bond?

There’s a strange vibe in this video. It’s very stylish and has a pretty colour palette, yet there’s a very strong masculine feel to it. The band have a sluggish yet menacing look about them. I wonder if the naked lady and the colours were thrown in to balance it out, to add a touch of femininity to what might have otherwise been too grunty.

I get the same feeling with every video from “Greedy” – something wasn’t good with the band. While the music sounds fine, the videos feels like something had broken in the band and was being held together with the thinnest thread.

Best bit: the brief glimpse of a little bird figurine. I sense a theme.

Note: This video was on YouTube, MySpace and MTV Australia, but now it’s not.

Director: Jonathan Ogilvie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Venice of the South Seas.

Head Like A Hole “Beatnik”

1997-hlah-beatnikTribute albums were big in the ’90s. As well as Flying Nun’s Abba tribute “Abbasalutely”, the label also released “God Save the Clean”, where local bands tackled the back catalogue of the Clean. HLAH’s contribution was their version of “Beatnik”.

The video keeps with the weirdness of the original video, opening with a spin around Albert Park where we meet Booga playing a disco-suited lout, which is as close as HLAH get to a beatnik. I mean, there’s no way HLAH could do the black skivvy and beret thing.

The beatnik causes trouble in a Jervois Road dairy and bothers some people outside St Patrick’s Cathedral. In the world of HLAH, men still wear walk shorts and long songs, so obviously they deserve to be bothered. There’s some more bothering at the Herne Bay Bowling Club, then the band heads over to the Point Erin Pool where they play on the concrete divider between the two pool areas. This video has so many Auckland landmarks that it could form the basis of a walking tour.

In the rool-trippy-as middle bit of the song, the action moves to the most amazing restaurant ever. All the walls have fish tanks on them and the room has freaky fishtank light. I want this place to still exist. I want to go there.

The action winds up with a saunter through the bowling club bar, then the band hangs out in the middle of Ponsonby Road. Guys, it’s not safe there!

HLAH take the Clean’s original song and throw it around a bit, having some fun with it. The video has that vibe too, and I love all the Aucklandic locations.

Best bit: the briefcase do-si-do with Mr Walkshorts.

Director: Julian Boshier
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

There’s actually a second version of this video, which is more like a remix of the original video. I don’t think it’s as good as the original, but it may be worth a look.

Next… would you like me to seduce you?

Eye TV “Wish It All Away”

1997-eye-tv-wish-it-all-awaySerenading used to be so much simpler. The young man would stand outside the abode of his beloved and strum a song – or hold up a boombox – and win her over. When Eye TV try it, things don’t quite go as planned.

It starts out well, as they being to play the song outside a house. But where is the object of their affections? I say “they” because it really does seem to be a group effort, as if the entire band if trying to win someone over.

The first person to notice them is a woman taking out the washing. At night? It’ll never dry. Slowly people in the building become aware of the woo-ers. A light snaps on. An old man frowns. A group of young women cheer. Two dudes grin. An older couple find the situation romantic. But what sort of house is this? Why do all these different people live in the same house? Perhaps it’s a halfway house.

The locals are well into the group’s dreamy 1950s-tinged pop ballad (except the old man), but there’s no sign of the girl. But suddenly she comes walking down the road, wearing a waitress uniform and slouchy old sneakers. But rather than walking like someone who’s been on her feet all day long, she’s doing a sexy catwalk strut, which looks really weird.

Finally the girl is reunited with the band. Proving that this is some sort of bizarre love quadrangle, the video ends with the four of them going on a romantic countryside date in a convertible. Modern love.

Best bit: the youths who carry a couch outside to enjoy the entertainment.

Director: Jesse Warn
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… dirty beatniks.

Bic Runga “Roll Into One”

1997-bic-runga-roll-into-oneThis was the fifth single off Bic’s mega successful album “Drive”. The video, directed by Paul Casserly, doesn’t stray too far from the style of previous Bic videos. The focus is on Bic, with a twist of quirk.

Much of the video is shot in a very bold, high-contrast black and white with elegantly framed shots of Bic being cool – tossing and turning in bed and playing her guitar. But this is mixed with footage shot in other styles – grainy black and white, sophisticated high-contrast colour (highlighting Bic’s cheekbones) and casual handheld video. The formal shots of Bic are mixed with a mosaic of the more casual footage.

And then there’s the clown. Just when things were feeling normal-ish, a clown shows up wearing a white and red suit, a fur collar, googles and a flashing light on his head. And, being a clown in a video music, he takes Polaroid pics of Bic sleeping.

I kind of like videos like this. It’s not especially ambitious, just content to showcase Bic and the song. And the clown.

Best bit: At 0:56 Bic overpronounces “one” as “Juan”, making “let the days all roll into Juan”.

Director: Paul Casserly
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… A neighbourhood serenade.