Oh, Rubicon! At the time they seemed quite silly. A punk-pop band fronted by Marshall from “Shortland Street”, with a bass player who had a Helen Clark haircut and a guitarist with braided pigtails. But yeah, they were young and silly and just being dudes in their early 20s, jumping around and having fun.
“The Captain” was their first single and it’s lyrically a bit bleaker than their later singles. “I am the captain of this ship,” sneers singer Paul. “And I think that life’s a gyp!” Steady on, dude!
But the video is determined to cheer things up. It starts with the pyjama-clad band snoozing in bed together. A smiley face alarm clock rings and they quickly grab their surfboards and head off to the beach to partake in some (green screen) surfing.
Next is a boxing/wrestling match between Rubicon and the Badguys, a trio of goons wearing clown masks. Rubicon are wearing netball uniforms with G, J and P on their bibs – first name initials rather than court positions. The lads successfully kick the arse of the Badguys. Yeah, I really like the symbolism of this comedic battle representing the struggles of life itself.
I’m not much of a fan of the Rubicon logo. It’s everywhere in the video and it looks like the sort of thing that small businesses had in the ’90s, designed in MS Paint. But I reckon this is the first video where a band has not only featured its logo in the video, but put it all over the video.
All that’s left is for Rubicon to rock out, giving an energetic performance in front of an appreciative audience, including crowd surfing. And so dawns the age of teen pop punk.
Best bit: the band’s Monkees-like living arrangements.
HLAH 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!
HLAH knew how to make people dance. “Hootenanny” is a hootenanny, a boistrous rockstravaganza that got crowds moving. The video works with this energy, using footage of the band playing in various live situations.
There’s a reminder of Bands in the Square, the annual Wellington alternative rock series, sponsored by the much loved radio station Channel Z. It seems quite outrageous to see bands packing out the area between the town hall and the library. These days the Homegrown festival sprawls over most of the downtown waterfront area.
As well as the live footage, we also see the band mucking around in various situations – in guitar studio, jumping into a lake, teeing off, and in front of an old concrete building.
The pace of the video gets a little slack at times, missing opportunities to really kick arse with the music, but it fits right in with the crazy universe of HLAH.