Supergroove “You Gotta Know”

Finally, here come the Supergroove. Average age 18, they look so young in this video. Led by a fresh-faced Che and a mono-fringed Karl, the band lark about, channeling their pop forefathers The Beatles in “A Hard Day’s Night”. There’s a great energy coming from the video. It’s like they’re not trying to be crazy; they’re 18-year-old guys so they just are crazy.

The song is jam-packed full of everything. When Che is singing, Karl is yelling bits in the gaps, and vice versa. When one instrument quietens down, another blasts in the gap. The video is like this too. Non-stop goofball.

Contrast this with the second version of the “You Gotta Know” video, which I think was made for a later Australian release. It relies on one of Joe Lonie’s comedy video concepts – walking backwards, taking off their clothes – and it feels like they’re relying on a gimmick to make up for their natural energy.

In the funny mixed-up chronology of NZ On Air funding applications, “You Gotta Know” was the third Supergroove single. The second was “Scorpio Girls”, but that’s not coming up till later in ’93. The video also won Best Video at the 1996 New Zealand Music Awards – the second win in a row for co-director Joe Lonie!

Best bit: the hammer smash shot. Rock!

Director: Sigi Spath, Joe Lonie

Next… Uncle Ray gets smoochy.

Missing videos from 1993

There are 17 videos missing from 1993, including two Hamilton bogan rock classics, early work from guys who’d go on to more success in Stellar and Splitter, and the return of Kiwi rock legend Larry Morris.
Continue reading Missing videos from 1993

Shihad “Stations”

What are the Shihads doing? It’s rock star 101 – the crucifixion of Christ. Yeah, that’ll offend the hardcore Christians and wake up the atheists and make people have a good think about the message of the music. You know what else did that? “Jesus Christ Superstar” is what.

So I guess the ‘stations’ the title is referring to are the Stations of the Cross, and that in turn is depicted in the video. A Jesus lookalike gets a crown of thorns and schleps around a cross, while Shihad walk around in slow-motion.

It’s fairly elaborate for a New Zealand music video, and obviously someone had enough faith in them to ensure the video would have good production values. But it seems like they were going for a really niche bogan metal audience, which Shihad then spent their long career trying to get out of.

Best bit: the Jesus actor’s anguish face.

Director: Josh Frizzell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Mr Knox don’t need no funding.

JPS Experience “Ray of Shine”

This video’s concept is the lads mucking around on a beach. There’s a ukulele (future chic!), pool toys, hula hoops, leis and general whacky zany madcap beachwear – all accoutrements of ’90s ironic cool.

It’s also notable that the band do not lipsync to the song, so instead of an invented music video narrative of “We’re playing the song on the beach!”, it becomes “We’re doing weird dancing to this song on the beach!”, which is much crazier.

The action shifts to the sea for a while, and seems to pay homage to the pool scene in the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’m not sure, but the think the tiki gods may have been displeased by the antics in this video.

Occasionally we see the beachside fun projected on a screen, as it it’s a home video of the JPS Experience’s fun day at the beach. This makes me wonder who the video of this screening is. Are the band sitting in a dark room, years later, watching the image of their former selves and thinking, “Those days were golden. Why’d we let them go?”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the debut with Jesus on its side.

Jan Hellriegel “It’s My Sin”

“It’s My Sin” is a cruisy ode to life. The video is shot in high-contrast black and white, usually on a close-up of Jan’s head. Sometimes her hair and makeup is neat, other times it’s a little messed up.

It’s a simple video, but has really strong visuals. Jan vamps up well, and the high-contrast effect emphasises this even more. Also appearing in the video is an occasional microphone, a blindfold, a candle and a freshly poured half-pint of lager. And given that Jan spends most of the video under what are obviously very bright, hot lights, a cold beverage would no doubt have been very welcome.

On the YouTube page, Jan notes, “During the video I start to melt,” which conjures up an image of a Doctor Who alien, the melting pop star who can’t sustain human form away from the spotlight.

Best bit: the random blindfold at the beginning.

Director: Matt Noonan
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… indie fun day at the beach.

Headless Chickens “Choppers”

“Choppers” was released as a double A-side single with “Juice”. And it’s the perfect pairing – the sweet “Juice” is the yin to the brash yang of “Choppers”.

The video takes place atop Rangitoto, and on the lavafields of the volcanic island. Even though the city is in the distance, across the water, the Chooks are still really cool. Fiona’s even wearing a baggy sweatshirt for Planet magazine. In fact, they don’t look like they’re making a music video, they look more like they’ve gone to Rangitoto because Auckland was too mainstream and Rangitoto is more relevant.

The slight military theme of the song is hinted at with the setting of the old Rangitoto bunker, and the title aircraft is seen in shadow as it flies over the bushclad slopes. Is this the first NZ On Air-funded video to contain a helicopter? Thrilling!

Best bit: dancing around the trig station.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Jan melts.

Dead Flowers “Plastic”

I wished for a video with crazy stuff in it and my wish was granted. “I’m in love with myself,” Bryan Bell sings, dressed as a vampire. While the video seems to be going for a sexy vampire theme, it comes across more like a flat of goths having a party. They are seen eating cherries and drinking goblets of red wine (or possible Ribena) but it would be more authentic if they were eating real goth party victules such as corn chips and those pre-mixed dips and drinking cider.

There seems to be a minor plot with Vampire Bry being torn between his vampire bride and some other goth chick. But they might be the same person. Those goths, they all look the same.

“Plastic” is a cheerful song, so it’s strange that it’s been paired with fairly serious, sexy visuals. I guess it’s like a teen goth striving to look cool and be sexy, but looking like a dick with too much makeup.

Best bit: meaningful over-the-shoulder goth glances.

Director: Matt Palmer
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… scenic Rangitoto thrills!

The Bats “Courage”

“Courage” is a brilliant song, though it has always felt like an instrumental song that’s had vocals written for it as an after thought. The video knows it’s a great song, and so the video doesn’t try any dumb tricks. It’s a simple performance video shot in high-contrast colour as the band play in front of a crinkled silver backdrop.

Using a really simple setting, it looks like the focus has then gone on the production – good lighting and a few post-production tricks to make it look cooler.

It manages to capture the finesse and serious tone of the song, and is probably a good example of making a good looking video on a budget. I mean, there’s a major label behind it, but the sole location feels like a budgetary decision.

But you know what? Simple videos are really hard to write about. It’s much easier when random crazy stuff happens. Videos with a subplot are even more awesome.

Best bit: the faux film frame visual effect.

Director: Karyn Hay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… goths eating cherries.

Annie Crummer “See Forever”

This video has everything I thought the “See What Love Can Do” video should have had – children, a pregnant lady, Annie at a church pulpit, and a great big gospel choir.

I’d like to go to a staid Anglican church only to discover the vicar had been replaced by Annie Crummer. She’s wearing a black business suit, but in outdoor scenes she has her “Blossom” flower hat on again. It would have been quite cool if the “Blossom” theme had been developed further and Michael Stoyanov had made a guest appearance.

All the church scenes are fairly over the top, but near the end there’s an extravagant burst of chorus and Annie almost collapses on the pulpit, such is the emotion of the song.

Annie Crummer has since moved on to musical theatre, and it’s so surprise. She throws herself into the performance, physically expressing every emotion covered in the very emotional song.

Update: It looks like Annie Crummer’s videos are no longer available on the New Zealand MTV website. Until someone uploads them somewhere else, there’s currently nothing to watch. Stink.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a crinkled silver backdrop.

Andrew Fagan “Jerusalem”

Rather than set-dressing a New Zealand beach to resemble Israel, Andrew Fagan and his director/wife Karyn Hay went all the way to Israel and filmed the video out in the Middle-Eastern heat.

Sensibly dressed in the heat-reflective colours of white and rock-star silver, he wanders about playing his guitar and basking in the golden Middle East sun. It’s all very rock, as if the sweeping landscape exists for the soul purpose of highlighting how brilliant Andrew Fagan looks against it.

A video effect is used, where two images are overlaid with one flickering like a flag. I think this was done by using the clear blue sky as a natural blue screen. Otherwise it’s a really simple, good looking video.

While the video received funding in the February 1993 round, the video wasn’t shot until October 1993, and wasn’t released until 1994. That’s a lot of planning.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision has the video on its website.

Director: Karyn Hay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Annie gets emotional.