Windswept beachiness, urban Balkan, Christchurch in the before time, racial unity, straight down, a ’90s fashion parade, tattoos, Auckland cool, velvet painting, getting seductive, and a bad lip sync. Continue reading Found videos from the 1990s
A high street strip, a gothic seductress, a cultural lesson, a bomb threat, a photo booth, a photo shoot, a cruise down the main street, a broadcast from outer space, a floaty necklace, a Harajuku girl and a mysterious staircase. Continue reading Found videos from 1998
Coelacanth return with “Never”. The Kiwi Hit Disc likened this song to Bailter Space and quoted Tearaway magazine enthusing, “Their music is to die for. We like them very much.”
Lole “Take You Higher”
Another track from Lole. This time she has “Take You Higher”.
Salmonella Dub “Loletta”
Back before Salmonella Dub were the kings of barbecue reggae, they had “Loletta”, an askew jazzy number. From memory, the video was a studio-based black and white job. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “The band perform in monochrome while the subject of song is in colour in backstreets”.
The Kiwi Hit Disc noted that “Colour Me Blue” was a “heartfelt ode” to Barry’s “globetrotting son”. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Barry walking on rural road as cyclist passes. Cyclist seen in various rural locations interspersed with Barry singing in one room then another.”
“Started Something” is another video from the early days of Breathe. The track has an epic film montage sound to it. The Film Archive describes the video as, “Band perform in leaking warehouse/ garage.”
“Outer Space” is an upbeat pop-track, produced by Eddie Rayner. The Split Enz connection continues, with Bryan Bell saying that the song was “‘Loving The Alien‘ meets ‘Poor Boy‘”.
Michelle Rounds “Culture Cross”
Singer Michelle Rounds had the song “Culture Cross”.
Southside of Bombay “Say”
“Say” was produced by Ian Morris (who had previously produced “What the Time Mr Wolf”). The Kiwi Hit Disc quoted band member Kevin Hodges saying that the love song, “just felt like a good summer single”.
“All Alone” was the second of Freaker’s two funded videos. An album was planned but it didn’t get released due to the closure of record label Deepgrooves, so it’s likely this meant the “All Alone” video wasn’t made either.
New Loungehead “Ike Just Do It”
New Loungehead subvert a corporate slogan with “Ike Just Do It”, from their album Came a Weird Way. New Loungehead were another act signed to Deepgrooves.
Vocal trio Ma-V-Elle were back with “Love Is”, the soulful closing track from their debut album.
Girl band Mary have the track “Bigger”. Nga Taonga offers this rather comprehensive description of the video: “A woman sits at night in a green corner diner/coffee bar with large windows (which recalls the Edward Hopper painting “Nighthawks at the Diner”). A car approaches with the guitarist in the back seat. Mary perform “Bigger” on a TV screen in the diner. The car stops for the singer/ guitarist.”
Wellington trio NV have “Don’t Make Me Wait”, described by the Herald as having a “bitter brand of bubblegum”. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Woman sings on roadside with warehouse, pedestrians and traffic – and later rioters – behind her.”
Named after the last Dutch governor of New York and/or an international cigarette brand, the Peter Stuyvesant Hitlist were known for their entertaining loungey grooves. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Four office workers in a pub sing karaoke to the Peter Stuyvesant Hit List’s “Superkool”. The Peter Stuyvesant Hit List are seen performing on the karaoke screen.” Ah, the old “music video as karaoke track” treatment.
“Big Cat” was the penultimate video that Bailter Space had funded in the ’90s, before returning with “World We Share” in 2012.
Leza Corban “Comfort & Joy”
Debbie Harwood put her coordination skills to good use with the album “Angels”, featuring New Zealand singers (Hammond Gamble, Rikki Morris, Mika) and TV personalities (Willy de Witt, Leanne Malcolm and Nick-bloody-Eynon) covering classic Christmas songs. Leza Corban, who had previously sung with Strawpeople, had the first single “Comfort & Joy”.
Brett Sawyer “She Came Along”
The video for Brett Sawyer’s song “She Came Along” was filmed at St Leo’s school hall in Devonport.
Eye TV have the comedically named “The Doo Song”. The Kiwihits entry notes it was rerecorded and released in 2000, and the database note that the funding was changed to the “Doo Song” from their song “Ditch Witch”.
“Classy come-down band” NV have the single “Unlikely”, which was a nominee for Best Video in the 1999 New Zealand Music Awards. Nga Taonga describes the videos as, “Singer in Queensland lakes setting and on jetty”, by which I think they mean Queenstown.
Paua Fritters are (were? I think they’re still together) an acoustic folk-pop group with busking roots. “Her Story” was a finalist in the 1998 APRA Silver Scroll awards.
“Kronos” is another track from Deepgrooves artist Pause.
In the world of non-NZOA-funded videos, 1998 saw Neil Finn contending with a 50-foot woman in the video for “She Will Have Her Way”. Neil is expertly integrated with footage from films “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman” and “The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock”, making him the beau of the towering heroine, a height pairing reminiscent of the golden days of Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter.
I have an idea that “Supersystem” is a rage against rich people who get away with crime because they’re all rich and evil. So the video is based around the world of ordinary working-class Kiwis who, presumedly, expect to be punished to the full extent of the law should they commit a crime.
James Feelers is the focus of the video, wearing an alarmingly wide-collared shirt and wearing his hair slicked back. I think he is playing a character, like a young yuppie scum type guy. He spends a lot of time staring moodily into a round mirror, with the other two Feelers lurking in the background.
Most of the video focuses on the ordinary working-class New Zealanders, and to the credit of the video makers, they appear to have done some serious travel around the country to film the people in their workplaces. There’s a printing press operator, a coal miner, an office clerk, a metalsmith, a mechanic, a mail sorter, a beverage bottler, a cafe worker, a road worker and a train conductor. It’s like the Supersystem New Zealand is stuck in the 1950s.
And just to add a slightly surreal edge, all these workers are lipsyncing the song, but in a very unenthusiastic, blank-faced way, like they’re being forced to recite the motto of the worker.
Best bit: the service station makes it clear – “we do not loan out tools or equipment”.
Back in the ’90s Karen Hunter was a bald-headed songstress, and she makes good use of her follicular style in this video. Karen plays both herself – strolling along a coastal road, guitar in hand – and Angel, a be-wigged but troubled erotic dancer.
Angel works at a club which is home to anyone and everyone – gay, straight, male, female, like something out of a Maree Sheehan video. (I almost expect to find Maree Sheehan lurking around a corner, enjoying a platter of fruit.)
A drag queen drawls, “Ok, boys. Here she is – the girl you’ve all been waiting for. Say hello to Angel.” It’s when one customer tried to say hello with his hands that Angel gets bothered and runs away, fed up with gropey customers.
Roughed up by her pimp/manager on K Road, she finds comfort in a fish-shaped earring, and then has an encounter with a couple of drag queen mermaids. Enchanted by the fountain at Albert Park, Angel pulls off her wig (“It’s a wiiiiiig!”) and dives in. She washes up on a remote beach with Karen happily comforting her, safe in her new home, where she becomes a mermaid sandcastle.
It’s hard not to think of the tragic case of Jane Furlong – the young Auckland prostitute who went missing on K Road in the ’90s, and whose body was only recently found on a beach. But on the other hand, the story of Angel doesn’t have a tragic ending, and could just as easily apply to anyone who’s wanted to run away from their shit job and become a mermaid.
Best bit: the mermaid drag queens, who will make everything ok.
The Chickens are totally absent from the video, which is not surprising, given how detached they looked in previous videos. Instead the video is focused on bodybuilders, with bronzed bodies and posing in tiny garments.
When I was 12, the mother of one of my classmates came along to talk to the school about her life as a bodybuilder. She’d picked it as a woman’s mag said it was the fasted route to weightloss, but she had become hooked on bodybuilding competitions. She ended her talk by stripping off her tracksuit and doing some poses in her posing bikini. It was simultaneously terrifying and awe-inspiring.
And like my classmate’s mum, there’s something very ordinary about these guys. They seem like people who’d otherwise be accountants, teachers, dentists and housewives, who one day decided that bodybuilding looked like good fun. Even the star of the video, wearing a cowboy hat, moustache, posing pouch and a giant cobra tattoo, seems mild-mannered.
I’ve previously felt that other singles from “Greedy” were let down by the videos. Well, this is kind of the opposite. The video is fun, funny and rather striking to watch, yet the song feels a little unfinished, like a hastily composed keyboard riff with “c’mere” growled over the top.
With “Greedy” being their final album, I wish they’d gone out with a bang rather than this gradual fade to grey.
Best bit: the brief interlude at a gym, keeping it real behind the scenes.
Note: This video has previously been available on YouTube, MySpace, MTV Australia and even for sale on iTunes, but now no one has it. This is the kind of thing that happens.
Fred Dagg aka John Clarke teamed up with an all-star cast and revisited his classic ditty for the children’s charity Books In Homes.
The video is based around Fred addressing the United Nations, letting the whole world know just how fortunate indeed New Zealand is. While he speaks, all around the country people are tuned in to watch his monumental broadcast. That’s people massive ’90s celebrities such as Petra, Jon and Nathan from Ice TV (in their lounge), Zinzan Brooke (at an airport), Richard Prebble (outside the Beehive), Bill Ralston (on Pondonby Road) and Opposition Leader Helen Clark (in her kitchen; don’t worry Helen, in two years’ time you’ll be Prime Minister).
There are also a few people I don’t recognise. They look like they should be famoush-ish, but time has not been kind to their legacy. There’s also some anonymous talent lurking in the song. Kiwihits notes that Neil Finn, Eddie Rayner, Dave Dobbyn and Graeme Hill played on the song, and it’s clear someone’s having fun with the guitar solo.
As far as being an informal national anthem goes, the song has a timeless quality. The comfort of knowing that when sometimes things seem a bit shit ’round here, it’s still not really all that bad.
But the video serves as a time capsule of the late ’90s, when Pam Corkey and Richard Prebble were popular politicians in popular political parties, when Sports Cafe was hilarious television, when Sean Fitzpatrick and Richard Hadlee were ubiquitous sporting legends, and when Kiwiana teatowels had not yet achieved retro cool.
Best bit: Helen’s awkward auntie dance. Get out of the kitchen and get into the Beehive, Hel.