The Feelers “Space Cadet”

1998-the-feelers-space-cadetThis is possibility the first video that’s not just inspired by the style of Quentin Tarantino’s films but also the non-linear storylines. The “Space Cadet” video is all about a briefcase which surely contains an antique McGuffin.

The story begins with James Feelers playing an assassin type, accompanied by a lady assassin. Both are wearing sleek black outfits and eyeliner, so obviously they don’t stand out or anything. The assassins retrieve the briefcase from the boot of a car and return to a sleazy hotel room.

We also meet James Feelers playing a crazy type person, holed up in a grimy lair, dressed in shiny black, wearing heavy eye makeup and being all crazy. And just for contrast, there’s the full Feelers experience, just three dudes in a band.

Ok, so let’s have some plot. The two other Feelers go to the lair of the crazy Feeler (he must be sleeping) and take the briefcase. The assassins later come around and are angered to find the briefcase has been taken. No worries – they find the two Feelers sitting in a car and shoot them nine times, take the briefcase and – whoa, etc – that’s the car and the briefcase from the beginning of the video.

Back in the hotel, the lady assassin shoots the James Feelers assassin, but yet we don’t ever find out what happened to the crazy James Feelers. I like to think he’s still there in his lair, caked in greasy black eye makeup and real stressed over his long missing briefcase.

Best bit: Assassin James’s “FUUUUUUUUUUU” moment.

Director: Kevin Spring
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… short popstar, tall girlfriend.

The Feelers “Supersystem”

1998-feelers-super-systemI have an idea that “Supersystem” is a rage against rich people who get away with crime because they’re all rich and evil. So the video is based around the world of ordinary working-class Kiwis who, presumedly, expect to be punished to the full extent of the law should they commit a crime.

James Feelers is the focus of the video, wearing an alarmingly wide-collared shirt and wearing his hair slicked back. I think he is playing a character, like a young yuppie scum type guy. He spends a lot of time staring moodily into a round mirror, with the other two Feelers lurking in the background.

Most of the video focuses on the ordinary working-class New Zealanders, and to the credit of the video makers, they appear to have done some serious travel around the country to film the people in their workplaces. There’s a printing press operator, a coal miner, an office clerk, a metalsmith, a mechanic, a mail sorter, a beverage bottler, a cafe worker, a road worker and a train conductor. It’s like the Supersystem New Zealand is stuck in the 1950s.

And just to add a slightly surreal edge, all these workers are lipsyncing the song, but in a very unenthusiastic, blank-faced way, like they’re being forced to recite the motto of the worker.

Best bit: the service station makes it clear – “we do not loan out tools or equipment”.

Director: Duncan Cole
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… snot fair.

The Feelers “Pressure Man”

1997-the-feelers-pressure-manThe Feelers have had 25 music videos funded by NZ On Air, second only to Shihad who have 28. Even though they had funding for “The Leaving” in 1995, it all starts with “Pressure Man”.

As far as debut singles go, this is a good one. The first time I saw the video, I was really impressed that this great pop-rock song had come out of New Zealand. But I’m not sure what happened, but no other Feelers song has connected with me.

I happened to see them perform at Homegrown earlier this year. They performed to a large audience of fans. People love them, sing their songs and feel really happy. So while I’m not especially into the Feelers, I appreciate that they have a role to play in mainstream New Zealand music.

The “Pressure Man” video is directed by Joe Lonie, but it doesn’t quite feel like a typical Joe Lonie video. This might be on account of it having a bigger budget than what he’d had with other bands. I figure Warner Music wanted to launch the Feelers properly.

The video is based around four locations. We discover a guy dressed in jeans, no shirt and with dyed yellow hair, like it’s 1990 and he wants to be Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He’s running from something, pounding along an empty country road.

Then we meet the Feelers in three locations. They’re running along a pipe. James Feelers is wearing silver trousers and a matching jacket. You know, round about this time, I really wanted some silver jeans. I was going to wear them with a black top and look really cool.

The band can also be found playing in some sort of boiler room. There are pipes, gaskets and flames. It’s like a cool music video checklist. This look never goes out of fashion – even Britney Spears did it last year.

And finally the Feelers also perform outside at an old factory. With a wide outdoors location, they have plenty room to stretch out with rock poses.

That’s pretty much it. The video just cuts between these four locations, showing the Feelers or the wannabe Flea. The video makes the band look cool, but it doesn’t necessarily work with the song. But then, if the purpose of this video is to get people interested in this cool new band, then it’s done that well.

Best bit: the reminder that the Feelers were young once too.

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… he used to do lots of things.

Missing videos from 1995

February 1995

D’bre “Let Me Know”

The band formerly known as Bush Beat return with a second song, “Let Me Know”. The track featured on Tangata Records’ compilation album Tribal Stomp II.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “Not Ready”

“Not Ready” is the first Dead Flowers video to be missing. The song was a track from their 1994 album Sweetfish.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Greg Johnson Set “You Stay out of Your Life”

From what I can remember of it, the “You Stay out of Your Life” video involved Greg Johnson and Boh Runga zipping around on scooters (probably shot using green screen).

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Pumpkinhead “Third Eye”

More business from Christchurch grunge unit Pumpkinhead. With a song called “Third Eye”, I would be extremely disappointed if the video didn’t include low-tech animated third eyes. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Pumpkinhead perform “Third Eye” in a yellow lunar setting and in a pub.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ruia “Ka Tangi te Tītī, Ka Tangi te Kākā”

Ruia Aperahama, the frontman for Southside of Bombay, had te reo yacht rock with the solo track “Ka Tangi te Tītī, Ka Tangi te Kākā”.

Film Archive

Southside of Bombay “Umbadada”

Spurred on by popularity from the “Once Were Warriors” soundtrack, Southside of Bombay make a house record, with the highly danceable “Umbadada”. But Southside haven’t lost track of their reggae roots – the song has a message of unity and living forever.

Director: Regan Jones
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Feelers “The Leaving”

In 1995 the Feelers won the prestigious South Island Battle of the Bands competition. Part of the prize included a single and music video released through Wildside. That song in question was “The Leaving”, with the music video directed by James and Matthew of the Feelers and camera by future Feelers music video director David Reid. The song obviously didn’t have the impact of later single “Pressure Man”, but it was included as a track on the band’s debut album.

Directors: James Reid, Matthew Thomas
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1995

The Tufnels “Pettibone”

“Pettibone” is the second single from the Tufnels, the greatest pop band in New Zealand that no one’s ever heard of.

Nga Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1995

Andrew Fagan “Empty”

Andrew Fagan’s last NZ On Air-funded track was “Empty”, before branching out into the power combo of broadcasting and poetry.

Funhouse “I Don’t Mind”

Curiously enough, there’s an Italian punk band from the ’80s called Funhouse who also have a song called “I Don’t Mind”. It’s far removed the namesake “sweet ballad” of the Funhouse from Dunedin.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Jordan Reyne “Pandora’s Box”

“Pandora’s Box” was another song of Jordan Reyne’s 1998 album Birds of Prey. I have a suspicion that a video for this song not might not actually have been made.

Nothing At All! “Super Bullet”

Nothing At All! was the old band of Dion from the D4. “Super Bullet” was a tight 2:14 atomic bomb of a song that would have been a hit had it been released seven years later.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Tufnels “Beautiful Ride”

The Tufnels’ last stab at pop immortality was “Beautiful Ride”. I think it was an extra track added to a revamped version of their “Lurid” album, once they’d signed to a major label. So long, Tufnels.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Urban Disturbance “Figure This Kids”

More coolness from Urban Disturbance. “Figure This Kids” has echoes of what was to become the more laid-back sound of Zane Lowe’s next music project, Breaks Co-op.

August 1995

3 The Hard Way “B All Right”

For their second album, 3 The Hard Way were going for a more mellow sound. “B All Right” has a bit of the Death Row Sound, and continues the 3 The Hard Way theme of mythologising their childhoods.

Barry Saunders “Little Times”

The Warratahs frontman has a solo song called “Little Times”, a bluesy ode to the opposite of the big time.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Ermehn “Nuttin’ Personal”

Another of Ermehn’s early tracks is “Nuttin Personal”, which is strangely ungooglable. It could be a case where the song or song title was changed at some point.

Grace “Heart Of Stone”

“Heart of Stone” is a souly pop track. Instead of the video, here’s the brothers Ioasa talking about the inspiration behind their music from a 1995 episode of Frenzy.

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Nobody”

Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey delivers a miserable but bangin’ dance number, “Nobody”.

Jordan Reyne “Millstones”

Jordan Reyne delivers a sweet guitar track with “Millstones”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sulata “Find Yourself”

“Find Yourself” is a great song that shows off Sulata’s rich voice. I think this might be a video that wasn’t actually made, with the funding possibly transferred to another song.

Upper Hutt Posse “Can’t Get Away”

Upper Hutt Posse have “Can’t Get Away”. Here’s the group performing the song live on What Now.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Wonderkind “Destiny Change”

Wonderkind have “Destiny Change”, an upbeat dance song about a teen prostitute. There was a lot of that in the ’90s – upbeat dance music about really depressing social issues. Here’s a very 1997 remix of the song.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1995

Dead Flowers “So Low”

“So Low” was a track off Dead Flowers’ third album. By this stage they were ruling the school, even opening on Pearl Jam’s NZ tour.

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Too Late”

Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey has another single, “Too Late”. “Jacqui Keelan Davey has a voice that gabs you by the scruff of the neck and won’t let go,” enthused the Waikato Times.

Mara “Message At The Bottom”

Mara Finau – best known as co-lead singer of The Holidaymakers – went solo with a cover of Chaka Khan’s “Message At The Bottom”.

Ngaire “The Way I Feel About You”

Ngaire returned to the pop charts with “The Way I Feel About You”, which spent one ever-so-brief week at number 42.

Director: Tim Mauger
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Sulata “Back To Hong Kong”

“Back To Hong Kong” was another track from Sulata’s “Kia Koe” album. And this is another case where the video may not have been made or the funding given to another track.

Ted Brown and the Italians “Battle Inside”

“Battle Inside” was a track from Ted Brown’s album Shaky’s Blessing.

December 1995

CMB Swing “Your Love Is All I Need”

CMB Swing were a five-piece group (four vocalists and one percussionist). And were they named after the Cash Money Brothers from 1991 film “New Jack City”?

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Jacqui Keelan Davey “Watching Me Drown”

Another track from Hamilton songstress Jacqui Keelan Davey, this time with “Watching Me Drown”.

Maree Sheehan “Might As Well Shout”

The Kiwi Hit Disc described “Might As Well Shout” as a “fast-paced, catchy dancefloor number”. It features backing vocals from expats Mark Williams and Australian Idol vocal coach Erana Clark.

Papa “For What It’s Worth”

This is pretty much impossible to Google (it’s not a unique song title). I don’t know who Papa was, but it might be related to the record label, Papa Pacific.


Meanwhile in the world of non-NZOA-funded videos we find “Manic (Is a State of Mind)”, the first music single from Jan Hellriegel’s second album. Filmed in Sydney, it takes place in a gloriously garishly painted art deco house (not a visual effect, the YouTube description notes!), and features a very sinister looking cafe fridge.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision