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
Trip to the Moon was a jazz project by Trevor Reekie and Tom Ludvigson. Bobbylon of the Hallelujah Picassos featured on their earlier song “I Can Change” and he returns for this track.
“Catch My Fall” is about relaxing and the video directed by Peter McLennan shows it well. In the middle of a shady dell, Bobbylon plonks down his favourite chair and sits himself down. A lone trumpeter wanders about in the background. Yep, it’s pretty chill.
But wait. This video can’t just be Bobbylon sitting in a chair, can it? Well, it can when the chair moves. Suddenly Bobbylon is out of the dell but still sitting on his chair as it hoons through the Auckland Domain (on the back of a truck, I assume).
We also see Bobbylon sitting in front of models of city buildings, and they’re all recognisable Auckland structures, including the brand new Sky Tower. The buildings are stacked in place by the other members of Trip to the Moon, and the act seems to be a way of reclaiming the city so it’s not the big, bad stressful city any more. With the city rebooted, Bobbylon then hoons around the streets on his chair of relaxation.
Things hot a little during the turntable break in the middle, with some sparks adding extra thrills. But the pace soon chills back down and Bobbylon enjoys a night-time chair ride around the streets of Auckland.
Usually when inner-city Auckland at night is shown in a music video, it represents bad things on mean streets, but this video shows Auckland at night as a sophisticated city, conducive to the art of relaxation.
Best bit: Bobbylon’s friendly wave to the couple strolling through the Domain.
The “Venus” video is seemingly about a girl who’s on the run from the law. She’s James Feelers’ sweetie, and while he sings his song for her, she’s escaped a greasy cop who’d been holding her at a sleazy motel room, run away to a remote gas station, stolen a car and driven to the Feelers gig.
But here’s the curious thing – the Feelers gig is at the Hastings Municipal Theatre (now called the Hawke’s Bay Opera House). The theatre has an elegant Spanish Mission-style facade, an extravagant art nouveau interior and is a Category I listed building with the Historic Place Trust. And the video loves it.
This isn’t just a random gig. The camera relishes the theatre’s lush interior, swooping all around. Sometimes it’s just an excuse to show the balconies packed full of Feelers fans, but other times the camera lingers on features of the lush interior decor.
Because I’m a bit of a building nerd – because I spent half an hour googling too figure out where it was shot – the theatre shots are more interesting to me, to the point where the plot fades into insignificance.
Except the ending is still powerful. Venus enters the theatre and smiles at James Feelers. He sees her but he cannot react as the greasy cop is standing off to the side. Venus runs off. Is she running because she realises his lack of reaction means the cop is there? Or does she take his blanking to be a cruel rejection, casting her out onto the mean streets of Hastings? sniff Don’t worry, Venus. Napier’s only 20 minutes away.
Best bit: the lingering glimpse of the fancy ceiling.
The Tall Dwarfs only had two music videos funded by NZOA, but in both cases they took the funding and made it go far. In this case, the video utilises the magic of green screen to have four layers of video.
The background layer is Queen Street upside down, and I think this is the first time Queen Street has been seen in its less glamorous daytime form. It’s a chance to revisit the street before most of the pink pavers were ripped up in favour of serious bluestone.
So what’s the purpose of this wander around town? Why, it’s to visit the record company. The upside-down camera visits Flying Nun, which looks about as cool as I’d have imagined. Posters and photos adorn the walls, and the camera come across stacks and racks of CDs and LPs. Oh yes.
But remember, this is just the first layer of video. The second is another upside down video, inset in the main image. It shows a bleak urban landscape, weeds, motorway rails, sometimes mirrored in two halves. On top of this is Messrs Knox and Bathgate on percussion and guitar. They have bandages wrapped around their heads and are wearing what look like surreal, fragmented lucha libra masks.
And the fourth layer is the mask-and-bandage-clad dudes popping up again, either separately or together. When the chorus comes along, they’re joined by a hand-drawn “FRAGILE” wobbling over them. This might count as a fifth layer. Crazy.
For a song that’s about fragility, both Alec and Chris and the video itself is wrapped in layers of protection. What’s it protecting? Well, at its heart, it’s a really fine song.
We last saw Stellar in 1995 with the song “Ride”. Back then they looked like a fairly ordinary rock band. Three years later they showed up with a rejigged line-up and a striking new look.
We meet the new Stellar decked out in blue and red, done to direct the eye in particular directions. Specifically, the drummer, bassist and lead guitarist are in regressive black and blue, with the guitarist using a bright red guitar. But the total focal point of the video is Boh Runga, with bright red hair, a red gown (no jeans for this rock chick) and a blue guitar and blue eye make-up.
I remember reading at the time that Boh had dyed her hair so she’d look as unlike her famous sister as she could. Well, not only does she not look not look like Bic Runga, she looks more like a fierce rock alien. It’s like she’s forgone a traditionally ‘pretty’ look and just gone for as much impact as possible. And it works.
It’s a very bold, confident video. It makes the previous incarnation of Stellar feel like some kids mucking around. This Stellar has figured out who they are and aren’t afraid to show everyone what they’re capable of.
Oh, you know what? When this song was first released, I could never work out why it had ‘bastard’ in the title. I’ve now realised this is because the chorus goes “Show the bastards what you do.” Not bouncers, buzzers, bandsaws or whatever it was I thought Boh was singing back in the day.
“Wait and See” was originally on Shihad’s “Blue Light EP”, but was later an album track on their fourth album, “The General Electric”. That album was full of pre-millennium tension and this song and the video fit right in.
The song looks to the future and wonders, “Is there space for every boy and girl in a competitive, material world?” But it seems like the kind of doomy, dramatic thought that only happens in boom times. When things are good, you have the luxury to wonder if they’re going to be bad. When things are bad, you just want the good times to return.
The video is filmed in a scratchy sepia tone, but shows a futuristic world of electronics, metal cells and cameras. Wait – a future full of advanced electronic technology but one that looks like something from 100 years prior? Hey, Shihad totally predicted 2011 and the rise of Instagram.
Directed by Reuben Sutherland, the video won Best Music Video at the 1999 New Zealand Music Awards, the second consecutive win for a Shihad video. It’s a very stylish video. It doesn’t quite feel like a remnant of the late’ 90s, so I’m going to declare that it did have a genuinely original vision. The band seem to be at their peak, strong and confident in their rock ability. Just don’t think too much about the future.
Best bit: very briefly, the metal room has tentacles.
This song was originally on the Headless Chickens first album, “Stunt Clown”, but it was remixed for the “ChickensHits” greatest hits/remixes album in 2002, with this single released in 2003. So what’s it doing in the 1998 funding round? Well, the band originally received funding in 1998 for the song “Chicken Little”. This video didn’t get made, but the funding stayed on the books until the Chooks were ready to make another video in 2003.
The band are totally absent from the video. Instead the screen is occupied by some very attractive young people. The video seems to have been a promo for the spring/summer 2003 collection from the iconic Dunedin fashion label NOM*d.
Directed by Rachael Churchward, the video is shot in black and white and is set in a bleak landscape. The models mooch around in a miserable holiday camp, going about ordinary domestic tasks. Doing the dishes at a stainless steel sink never looked more awful and yet so glamorous.
It’s interesting having a video without the band. It feels like the band have taken a step away from the spotlight, in preparation for their demise. Sometimes the models lip-sync the song, and other times select lines of the song are subtitled – a visual reminder of the lyrics. Somehow there’s enough of the Headless Chickens character for the video to work. It’s a bit dark, a bit depressed and still stylish – all hallmarks of the Chickens.
After the mixed quality of videos from “Greedy”, I’m glad the band has ended with a good video. Sure, it’s no “Donde Esta La Pollo”, but for a swansong, it’s a good one.
Head Like A Hole: The Porno Years continues with “Juicy Lucy”. I think this song is about delicious fruit smoothies, or something.
Taking a break from the leather ‘n’ latex fetish world of their previous video, the HLAH boys head to the country, where an old barn is their base for this video. They’re also dressed in business suits, which makes the video feel like something produced on a team-building away day.
The band all come across like they’re very pleased with themselves for having made a hilarious video in a barn. But it lacks the charm of older videos, feeling like they’re going through an awkward transition from their younger rapscallion selves to more a grown-up version.
Just to keep the slightly unusual style going, a dalmatian wanders around, and we see a 30 km/h road sign and a marching band glockenspiel. There’s a bit of Beatles/Monkees-esque malarky, which makes me wonder how much cooler the video could have been if they’d moved even further from the sexy lyrics and just made an all-out mental-as video.
Best bit: the cool dalmatian and his canine friend.
Fur Patrol arrive on the scene, rounding out the trinity of late ’90s female-fronted bands, along with Tadpole and Stellar (who we’ll soon meet again). Of all these bands, Fur Patrol were the ones who did the most interesting things with their music videos. Julia Deans’ strong voice and skilful songwriting were given a dark twist by the content of their music videos.
“Dominoes” is a perfect example of this. It’s a tale of relationship troubles, with cheerful instrumentation and pensive vocals. But what does director Greg Page do with the music video? He puts the band in a swimming pool – I think we assume they’re up to their thighs in concrete – fills it with filthy water.
It’s a bit like a classic Joe Lonie video gimmick, but it’s how the band deal with it that makes the video work. There’s no indication that this is anything other than another gig for the band. In fact, they even look a little bored, like they’re tiring of their swimming pool residency. It’s this lack of comedic panic that lets the video get away with its outrageous concept.
The camera is in the pool with them, submerging into the mucky brown water, and with droplets trickling down the lens. The water rises and rises and there’s a feeling that either they’re going to drown or the water will be drained and they’ll have to perform the song again and again.
And it’s a good introduction to Fur Patrol. Here’s a band who know how to craft a good song but refuse to give it a standard pop package.
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.