Head Like A Hole “Good Advice”

1999-hlah-good-adviceThe first warning came from YouTube uploader HEADLIKEAHOLENOISE who wrote “Great song with overdubbed sound effects which are way too loud which wrecks the track!” As the video started, it became obvious that someone had got a little carried away with the foley work. It’s a music video – the viewer doesn’t need to hear the flick of playing cards being dealt to get the idea that a tense game of poker is being played.

But it doesn’t stop with that. Something happens that probably required the entire contents of the production fridge to be abused in the name of sound effects. There are zombies.

It’s 2012. Zombies are now a pop culture relic of the late ’00s, along with ninjas and bacon. So while there’s part of me that rolls me eyes and feels like “Ugh, zombies, woteva”, I must recognise that in 1999, zombies weren’t so naff.

So, yeah, there’s a high-stakes poker game, with both money and body parts on the line. And meanwhile, the adjacent bar is full of zombies, including undead doppelgangers of the band. What follows is a sound riot of chainsaws, “braaaains”, moans, growls and other noises that actually manage to drown out the song most of the time.

It’s bewildering. The video looks good and has a fun, early Peter Jackson feel to it. But the torrent of sound effects are poorly done (they sound like sound effects, not natural sounds) and with no restraint. The song itself feels like a contractually obligated afterthought.

If you want to have some acting in a music video, take a break from the song, but never let the song be second to the video. An example of doing it right is what Joint Force got away with in their vid for “Static (Part 1)”.

HLAH disbanded in 2000 and their next funded video wasn’t until their reformation more than a decade later. Given that HLAH have been cranking out rather energetic, fun and entertaining videos since 1992, it’s sad that they ended with this mess. But there’s hope – it’s just waiting for someone to remix the video with the album track.

Best bit: Zombie Tom’s “Lesbian” t-shirt. Duuuude.

Next… smooth moves.

Missing videos from 1999

February 1999

Bailter Space “So Am I”

“So Am I” was Bailter Space’s final NZOA-funded video from the ’90s. They took a break and showed up again in 2012.

D-Faction “Take a Little Piece”

After having all their videos online, it’s sad that D-Faction’s final video, “Take a Little Piece” isn’t around. YouTube uploader slydogmania notes the group “disbanded in late 1997 before this final single was ever released”

Head Like a Hole “Hot Sexy Lusty”

Head Like A Hole have “Hot Sexy Lusty”, another single from their sex album, Are You Gonna Kiss It Or Shoot It? Guys, in googling for this video, I saw things I wish I hadn’t seen.

Mika “Angel”

Mika, last seen in Jan Hellriegel’s “Geraldine” video, has his own single “Taniwha Angel”. Here’s a live performance.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1999

Brett Sawyer “When It Happens”

Brett Sawyer has the song “When It Happens”. I’m most interested to discover that he and Pearl Runga sang New Zealand’s official millennium anthem, “I’ll Meet You There”, written by sister Bic and James Hall.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Delta “Slather”

Delta! “Slather”! I saw them play a few times and I happily bought the “Slather” single. It was a fun burst of pop that should at least have enjoyed one-hit wonder success. But anyway, here’s Delta performing the song at a 2010 reunion show. Nice one.

Director: Garth Maxwell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Angel”

Girl group Ma-V-Elle had lost a member (but weren’t renamed V-Elle). “Angel” was the first single from their new album as a duo. Here’s a Tangata Pasifika profile of the group enjoying their early days of success.

Strong Islanders “Shining On”

Kiwihits notes that Jonah Lomu’s cousin is in “Strong Islanders”. Their song “Shining On” is ok, but their main MC has a somewhat lacklustre delivery.

Director: Joe Lonie
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1999

Ardijah “Do To You”

There’s no shortage of Ardijah videos from the ’80s, but the ’90s are AWOL, including “Do To You”.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Never Say Goodbye”

Ominous foreshadowing! “Never Say Goodbye” was Ma-V-Elle’s penultimate funded video.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Trip To The Moon “Sexual Healing”

The final NZOA-funded video for Trip to the Moon is their cover of “Sexual Healing”, a duet by Bobbylon and the ethereally voiced Rachel Weatherly. NZ Herald reviewer Russell Baillie dramatically described it as having “all the charm of a lavish STD-treatment jingle”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

August 1999

3 The Hard Way “Front Back Side”

Well, I dunno. This song is on the list of videos that were completed, but I can’t find any sign of a 3 The Hard Way single called “Front Back Side”, or indeed any releases from this time. But there might have been some shuffling – there’s a 3 The Hard Way video for their 2004 single “Girls”. It’s set in the same sexy club world as “It’s On (Move to This”), only it’s so much cheesier.

Bike “Gaze”

Bike’s final NZOA-funded single is “Gaze”, which also appeared on the “Scarfies” soundtrack.

Brett Sawyer “Where We Wanna Be”

“Where We Wanna Be” is Brett Sawyer’s ode to his partner for sticking out a decade in Britain with him.

Fiona McDonald “Wish I Was a Man”

Fiona McDonald gets dirty and grungy with “Wish I Was A Man”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Moizna “Summer Goodbye”

Moizna’s final NZ On Air-funded video is aptly titled “Summer Goodbye”, a sweet tale of a break-up.

Satellite Spies “Please Never Leave”

Satellite Spies apparently had a song called “Please Never Leave”, but it’s ungooglable.

TrueBliss “Freedom”

TrueBliss’s third single was a cover of the Wham song “Freedom”. I’ve found an 2001 Australian documentary about the “Popstars” phenomena that shows a short clip from “Freedom” at 8:01. It features the group dressed in red, white and blue costumes, performing on stage in front of thousands of screaming fans.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1999

DNE “Be There”

DNE was a “cyber collaboration” between Aly Cook and David Horizon – their name for the now commonplace practice of online collaboration. Their old bio at Amplifier promised a fabulous web experience with “CLUBDNE interactive”, and directed viewers to NZmusic.com to watch their video for “Be There”. Sadly all is but a cyber memory now.

Greg Johnson “Beautiful Storm”

Greg Johnson gets drench in meteorological metaphors with the upbeat “Beautiful Storm”. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Greg Johnson tours an Asian city and sings “Beautiful Storm” to camera as the surroundings move rapidly around him.”

Director: Bernadine Lim
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ma-V-Elle “Don’t Be So Shy”

Ma-V-Elle have “Don’t Be So Shy”, described by the Kiwi Hit Disk as a “cool slice of original, soulful pop”. It’s the final Ma-V-Elle track funded by NZOA. The duo was to eventually disband, with Lavina ending up in the Australian Idol final 12 in 2006, among other achievements.

December 1999

Ardijah “Way Around You”

I’m pretty used to Ardijah videos not being online, and indeed “Way Around You” isn’t available. It’s a breezy house jam

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Breathe “Sick & Tired”

“Sick & Tired” is another track from Breathe’s second album, the one that seemed really big at the time, but has now faded into history.

Fiona McDonald “Bury Me”

Described in a review I found on a vintage website as a “edgy, emotionally charged” song, “Bury Me” is another single from Fiona McDonald.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Garageland “Good Luck”

Garageland have the blusey “Good Luck”, another track off their second album “Do What You Want”.

The D4 “Come On!”

Another early track from The D4. “Come On!” is an typical piece of energetic rock. Here’s a fan video, setting the song to clips of rally cars sliding around corners.

Director: Alex Johnson
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Exponents “Big World Out Your Window”

“Big World Out Your Window” was the final Exponents track funded by NZOA. It was a single off their 1999 album “Hello, Love You, Goodbye”, a half-studio, half-live collection. There’s no sign of the “Window” vid, but I do know it was filmed on Mt Eden.

Director: Andrew Moore

Instead…

Here’s a video from the world of non-NZOA funding. Director Marc Swadel made the “Crystal Chain” video for Flying Nun group The Subliminals for “300 bucks and one re-used 100 foot reel of 16mm film”. As a NZ On Screen commenter notes, 100ft of film is only two minutes, 45 seconds. The solution? “A lot of repeats, keying over footage with footage, and other lo fi tricks”. It’s a moody delight.

Director: Marc Swadel
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

Head Like A Hole “Juicy Lucy”

1998-hlah-juicy-lucyHead 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.

Director: Marc Swadel
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… unhappy holiday.

Head Like A Hole “Wet Rubber”

1998-hlah-wet-rubberYouTube uploader HEADLIKEAHOLENOISE introduces the song thusly: “a song developed from the find of a German porn movie in a works bin on the streets of Wellington. Enjoy!” Oh right, they just found it.

And indeed the video starts with footage of what appears to be an old porno with a Germanic voiceover informing us that “the gentleman is dressed up all in red, and the lady as it is done in pink”.

We don’t see the Euro pervs again, but were are introduced to HLAH, all decked out in leather, rubber, studs and a cowboy hat. They’re in a long wooden tunnel, gliding up and down it, which is probably highly symbolic.

It seems there was a bit of a ruckus regarding the video. A 1998 episode of the New Zealand music show “Squeeze” had a story on the “controversy surrounding their video for ‘Wet Rubber'”, even speaking to TVNZ’s head of programming standards. Well, it’s no AFFCO but I can see how it might ruffle some feathers.

The video and the song both seem intended as a pisstake of porn culture, and indeed it’s fair game, but yet when I hear the repeated lyric “Ride that whore! Make her blow!”, it makes me sigh. I’m going to blame it on the post-“Boogie Nights” (1997) mainstreaming of porn culture. The trouble is, not everyone is as clever as Paul Thomas Anderson, and it takes smarts to reference porn culture without going down the tired old route.

Best bit: drummer Hidee Beast earnestly decked out in bondage leather.

Director: Julian Boshier
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… OK in KL.

Head Like A Hole “Comfortably Shagged”

1998-hlah-comfortably-shaggedIn 1998 HLAH released “Are You Gonna Kiss It Or Shoot It?” aka HLAH: The Sex Years, on account of all the singles released off it being about sexy sex. There’s something cutely adolescent about it, like someone who’s figured out what sex is and wants everyone to know about it.

The video itself isn’t especially erotic or even sexy. It’s based about the very masculine, sweaty, smelly enviroment of a HLAH gig, alternating with Booga Beazley in a silver room. The lyrics speak of a man who’s in bed with “mirrors above my head”, but the bedroom presented is a mundane hotel room, with a chaste peach interior.

Then it’s time for some outdoor fun, with various outdoor high jinks, including the drummer drumming/hooning around a roundabout in Invercargill. The video then finishes with scenes from an outdoor concert in… oh crap, it’s Christchurch. No matter what HLAH’s sexy intentions were, seeing the dearly departed rose window of the Cathedral lurking in the background is an instant boner killer. *sad face*

Best bit: scenic Invercargill!

Director: Julian Boshier
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… from bizarre to sweet.

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?

Head Like A Hole “Keith”

1997-hlah-keithHLAH get sleazy for this video, dangerously foreshadowing their 1998 sexually themed album “Are You Gonna Kiss It or Shoot It?”. The video starts with the band playing the song in two locations – a small crimson painted room and another room filled with random objects including an electric sign reading “Stench in progress”. There are also glimpses of bondage gear, just to stick it to society.

Booga plays Keith, a muttonchopped, drunk, sweaty Elvis wannabe. He staggers about in a bar, ignored by other patrons, but seeming quite certain of his awesomeness.

Keith also has a day job at a local sex shop, selling dildos to sleazy customers. Actually, sex shop Keith might actually be Keith’s gay alterego.

The video includes a few nighttime scenes around Wellington, including some choice scenes of dudes on skateboards being pulled along Cuba Mall by dogs, while various people decent upon the notorious Hole In The Wall bar, just around the corner on Vivian Street.

HLAH reemerge in a grungy old warehouse, all wearing bondage gear. PVC is an merciless fabric, making the HLAH lads look less like sexy porn stars and more like suburban BDSM enthusiasts. I’m sure Keith would approve.

Best bit: the dogs pulling skateboards. Mush mush!

Director: Ian McCarroll
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… spin the wheel of Don.

Head Like A Hole “A Crying Shame”

1996-hlah-a-crying-shameInstantly identifiable by its trumpet intro, “A Crying Shame” kicks off and enters the world of a circus freak show. Taking inspiration from the strong man on the cover of their album “Double Your Strength, Improve Your Health, & Lengthen Your Life”, the video alternates between colour footage of the band playing the song and black and white footage of sinister carnival goings-on.

A young couple wander into a tent and discover a huckster (played by Booga Beazley) touting a potion, no doubt one that can double their strength, improve their health and lengthen their life.

The young woman can’t resist the promise of the potion. She necks it. What effect will it have on her? Why, it will turn her into a circus freak. As the curtains are drawn back for the eager crowd, the young man gasps in horror as he realises what has happened to his beloved. Oh my. You’d never get that sort of thing with the Mac and Jack Wonder Potion.

Best bit: “Wormy the Human Torso”. I’ve always wondered what a human torso looks like.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… party time, guys!

Head Like a Hole “Chalkface”

1994-head-like-a-hole-chalkface“Chalkface” is a bad-attitude punk metal song and the video is based around a live performance. It looks like it was shot on someone’s home video camera. The footage is really grainy, though weirdly enough what would have looked low budget back in ’94 now has a cool retro tone to it.

The dodgy footage is, er, enhanced with dozens of digital effects, including cheesy filters and superimposed animations. Just to add to the slight feeling of discombobulation, there are shots of a saxophonist on stage, yet no sax can be heard in the clean album version of the song.

But despite all the low budget quirks of the video, it’s actually a pretty good live video. The band are full of extravagant energy and the audience is moshing their arses off. It’s a good document of HLAH’s early years.

Best bit: the giant bouncy ball, painted like a bloodshot eyeball, being throw around the audience.

Head Like a Hole “Faster Hooves”

The best description of this video comes from the YouTube uploader HEADLIKEAHOLENOISE, who accurately says it’s a “spaghetti southern on donkeys”. Being shaken by his ass, Sheriff Booga is after the black-clad villain played by drummer Hidee Beast, looking positively eeeevil.

This drama is cut with rapid footage of HLAH playing campfire instruments – an old tin for percussion, a washing board, as well as some guitars. There’s also a simmering pot of baked beans, as every good posse needs beans.

There’s a tense showdown between the sheriff and the villain. They circle each other, never daring to blink. It comes down to a tense fingerbang shootout, with the villain being faster on the draw.

With New Zealand not being in posession of an American wild west, the video has been shot at a suitably rocky and rugged beach. Some of the footage is in sepiatone, but no one’s pretending this is an accurate period drama. The footage has scribbly animations layered on top to drag it back into the ’90s.

“Faster Hooves” is a really good example of a NZ On Air video – taking a simple concept, a local location and an enthusiastic performance. Oh, and donkeys.

Best bit: Booga’s sweet ass.

Directors: Amanda Clarke, James Bell
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision