This was Shaft’s third and final funded video, coming a decade after their debut vid, “Downhill Racer”. It’s just as offbeat as their first one, though without the retro thrills of the bomb-recipe websites that featured in “Downhill Racer”.
Filmed in high-contrast black and white, the video is based around a backyard shed. In the shed we find the band, with singer Bob allowed out to rock around the garden. There’s also some particularly blokeish DIY happening. A hairy fellow in a Led Zeppelin t-shirt constructs a musical instrument out of hooks and wires, that could handily double as a bean trellis.
The video is mad, messy, chaotic fun. And when you consider the unusual theme of the song – a man having a baby – it makes sense that if a bloke were to give birth, he’d do it out in his shed, with support from his mates and a bit of number-eight fencing wire.
Best bit: something that looks like maybe a religious birthing ritual.
Their adventure involves a hunt for a tiger (played by Dave Mulcahy in body paint), a betrayal, a bit of cannibalism and some wind-up black and white camera footage.
The song itself is about betrayal, a really bad breakup. That’s all in the video, but the viewer isn’t necessarily going to get that out of it if they’re not in the mood. The video is either about the bad breakup or it’s about an expedition gone hilariously wrong. Like the songs of Superette, there’s darkness under the cheerful surface.
The YouTube uploader N0ISYLAND has lots of interesting information about the video shoot, including details of old cameras, lighting, location and “Bad Tony”.
ouch”Touch Me” is a song about Mark David Chapman and his obsessive relationship with John Lennon, the second Superette song to give a pop treatment to a bad man.
But instead of making the film about a deranged killer, director Stuart Page picks up on the “touch me” refrain of the chorus and turns it in a more sexy but still unsettling direction.
Set in a K Road peep show booth, a leather-clad Superette squeeze on to the rotating stage in the booth, where they perform their sexy indie pop routine to a number of customers.
There’s a very excited fellow who’s brought along a catering-size jar of Vaseline, which he proceeds to smear all over his face and hair. At first he’s startled by what he finds on the other side of the window (not Madonna in the “Open Your Heart” video), but he soon comes to appreciate the trio.
We also meet a balding man who views a bored transvestite, a businesswoman who views two female boxers, and a floppy haired man who breaks open the window and finds Mr Vaseline rotating on the stage. Is this a magical peep booth that shows people what their heart truly desires?
While the song has some pretty dark themes, the “Touch Me” video cleverly keeps the dark undertones but uses enough humour to match the poppy feeling of the song. And any band who can enthusiastically wear S&M leathers while performing in a small space has my admiration.
Best bit: Mr Vaseline’s sex face. He likes what he sees.
“Downhill Racer” was a minor indie hit, all over the bFM top 10. It’s a superbly written song, with a great ’60s feeling. The video goes for a kitschy retro style, turning a nerdy bedroom fantasy into a full-on glam-rock extravaganza.
Halfway through the video we meet a gothy fellow alone in his bedroom, looking up bomb recipes on the internet. This comes complete with a brilliant screen shot of the ye olde web browser Netscape displaying a webpage called “BOMBS for FUN”. Back in the mid-’90s, the media were always going on about “bomb recipes” on the newfangled internet thing. Such innocent times.
By the way, the website in this video looks real, so I googled to see if it was still around. I couldn’t find anything, but now I’m paranoid that some authority will have been alerted to a New Zealander searching for bomb recipes.
Anyway. Back in the video, there is much excitement because it appears that a large truck is going to smash into a wendy house. And indeed it does, which we see from five different angles. I figure, if you’ve gone to the trouble of constructing a little house for a truck to smash in one take, you’re going to set up as many cameras as possible to make sure you don’t miss the vital shot. Like Demi Moore shaving her hair off in “GI Jane”.
The uploader of this video comments that the song “evokes the enigma of life as we know it”. And I think the video does that too.
clonDave Mulcahy left the JPS Experience and formed Superette. “Killer Clown” was their first single and the video invites us to a party – a very sticky party.
An ordinary suburban house is hosting a grown-up version of a children’s party. There are coloured lights, balloon, streamers, glitter, jelly, cake, sweeties fancy make-up and a general sense of unease.
At the centre is a table laden with all sorts of delicious treats, most of which are smeared in and around the mouths of the eager party guests. While all this are going on, the band play the song, with Dave’s light vocals on the heavy subject of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Inspired by Gacy’s multitasking as a children’s clown and a serial killer, the song and this video contrast the bright, cheerful world of clown entertainment with a darker side. But instead of murder, it’s adults acting like children, smearing themselves with jelly, pashing on the floor.
This video looks like it would have been so much fun to make, but the more practical side of me wonders if by the end of the shoot, everyone would have been hot, tired and covered in sticky. Much like a real children’s party.
Best bit: the party guest cutting jelly with scissors.
The fancy NYC styles of “Too Much Violence” are a thing of the past. “Outside the Cage” gets back to low-budget, $5000 styles. According to YouTube user N0ISYLAND, the video is comprised of “Offcuts from Jeff Feuerzeig’s clip for “Too Much Violence”, Super-8 footage of NZ in the ’60s, and some new footage of [David Kilgour] and [Robert Scott] clowning around in Auckland, all hacked together by Stu Kawowski on a low budget tip…”
And indeed that’s what it is. The pair spend a lot of time mucking around hurling paint on a wall (express urself!!), before the action goes indoors and is filmed in fruity psychedlic negative.
This is a perfectly adequate Clean video. They have their fans, and it’s those fans who are quite happy to watch videos using the lazy music video trick of getting the band to hurl paint around. But they could – and have previously – made a much better video.
Winners of the 1993 smokefreerockquest, Halucian got themselves a music video directed by Stuart Page. It incorporates lots of old footage of things like nuclear explosions, floods, volcanos, hurricanes, and Galloping Gertie, the ill-fated Tacoma Narrows bridge.
The band plays in front of an old scrapheap, suggesting they live in a post-apocalyptic world with no girls, leaving them to personify the earth as “Mrs Earth”. I reckon she is a benevolent mother who looks after them as the last humans on earth, soothing her with their Faith No More-inspired anti-lullabies.
But the most exciting thing about this video is discovering that Halucian’s long-haired lead singer is young Mr Sean Clarke, who went on to front Augustino with shorter hair but no less presence or voice. Some people, they’ve just got it.
Halfway through watching the “Beached” video, I realised that this video would have looked so much better on a cathode ray television – the format it was created for.
“Beached” set in a dystopian future or maybe even another planet. D. Kilgour plays an alien or an astronaut who wanders around a beach, all along. He then ends up at a house, makes his way though a technological room, crawls through a pipe and is back on the beach.
It’s like an episode of “The Twilight Zone”, both plotwise and with production values. All that’s needed is for the lone adventurer to shocking be revealed as actually being a New Zealand indie star escaping from the pressing demands of promoting his new album by escaping into a fantasy world.
This is the David Kilgour video with a clear storyline. I like that. The “No No No” video images David Kilgour as an indie superstar, living like a rap star with his entourage of ageing boho friends.
Dave starts at his bohemian den, wearing his famous spotted shirt. Then he and a couple of pals get into a limousine where another boho fellow meets them. The three are driven around, drinking champagne and making phone calls on one of those giant old brick cellphones, only back in 1994 it wouldn’t quite have been hilarious old technology, but what a cellphone actually was.
All this action cuts between David playing at some sort of student gig. He’s also wearing his famous spotted shirt, so presumedly the gig is on the same night as the boho adventures.
Then it’s back to the boho den, where his boho posse is in full effect, drinking lots of wine and getting crazy. Why, one boho lady even takes off her shirt and dances around in her bra. Crazy!
Then Dave is out on the the street with all the unwanted attention of the paparazzi trying to get all up in his face because he is famous.
Best bit: David reading “L5 News”, the newsletter of the L5 Society, which promotes space colonies. Seriously.
I like a video with a storyline, and David Kilgour’s vid for “You Forget” does this nicely. Dave starts out by driving his car to the beach, complete with a hoon across Grafton Bridge back when it had the ugly chainlink anti-suicide fences.
He gets to the beach, hangs out on the shore for a bit, then jumps in the harbour and swims over to Rangitoto. He keeps his sunglasses on in the water because he is cool. The song is about a soured relationship. Perhaps Dave is exiling himself from the devilwoman by running away to a barren island.
On the island, he climbs to the summit, then catches the ferry back to Auckland, while his Chucks change colour several times. This is quite sensible – if you’re going to be mucking around on scoria fields but wearing only a thin-soled pair of sneakers, you’d want to take a spare pair of two along.
This is what happens when you have a cult following – you get to make a simple music video and 20 years later it’s online with happy comments from gleeful fanboys.
Best bit: the camera respectfully panning away when Dave falls over on the scoria field.
In 1992, “You Forget” won the prestigious Most Use of Water in a Video award at the Yahoo Awards – presented by MC OJ and Rhythm Slave, along with show host Moana on the Saturday morning kids TV show Yahoo. Flying Nun label head Roger Shepherd accepted the award.