Weta “Got the Ju”

1999-weta-got-the-juAs with all the other Weta videos on YouTube, this one is short. It’s the last one minute and 28 seconds of the “Got the Ju” video, but that’s ok.

Like a lot of people, the first time I heard the song, I thought the chorus was controversially exclaiming “Got the Jew! Got the Jew!” But it turns out it’s slang – either short for juice or juju, depending on who you ask. And yes, this is what 90% of the YouTube comments are about.

It’s nice a nice, positive rock tune and the video doesn’t go any deeper than that. The video is directed by Reuben Sutherland who had previous worked with Weta pals Shihad. Unlike the previous videos that were a bit more high concept, this one is simple black and white concert footage.

The concert is somewhere in central Auckland – and the Sky Tower really makes it easy to positively identify Auckland settings. It looks like Aotea Square, or somewhere around that area. It’s a decent crowd and Weta appear to be goin’ off. It reminds me of seeing Aaron Tokona’s new project A Hori Buzz at Homegrown earlier this year. It was crazier, the audience was smaller, but there was the same sense of stagecraft. This is a band that knows how to perform.

Sadly this was the final NZOA funded video for Weta. Their next single “Calling On” had the mighty wallet of Warner behind it, intended as a vehicle to launch Weta in Australia. Except the band broke up, splintering in some rather interesting directions, which we’ll get to when the late ’00s roll around.

Best bit: the rock pose silhouette against the distant Sky Tower.

Director: Reuben Sutherland
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… moody delights.

Weta “Let It Go”

1999-weta-let-it-goLike the video for “Where Have You Been”, there’s only an excerpt of “Let It Go” online. But this time we get well over a minute of footage. It’s also not the greatest quality, so pixelly that I wonder if it was lifted from an old website.

The video seems to be made with a kind of live-action stop-motion animation – or at least I’m assuming it’s stop motion and not the video quality. A small television set features broadcasting a footage of Aaron singing the song, and other footage. He also shows up holding the TV broadcasting that’s himself (meta!) and sans le telly.

Sometimes the video is set in the strange world of music videos, with strange machinery, swimming pools and flying TVs. But other times it’s recognisably Auckland, featuring the St James complex and the motorway.

Because this video is a poor quality excerpt, it’s hard to get a sense of exactly what is happening in the video as a whole. This just adds to the legend of Weta, the idea that the band had a good year or so of amazing rock before they fell apart. The video is like a glimpse inside that world, where it’s always 1999 and everything is good.

Best bit: using old TVs as floaty pool toys.

Director: Reuben Sutherland
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… I know this much is true.

Weta “Where Have You Been”

1998-weta-where-have-you-beenWeta! It’s nice to see them. Sadly only 56 seconds of this video is available online and it’s a pretty lowres version, but good on Pandanya for uploading it to YouTube.

I haven’t seen the video before and the excerpt starts right in the middle, so I’m left trying to make sense of what’s happened previously. There are shirtless, muscly men with pink hoods on their head, young women gleefully tossing their hair about, a bank of TVs and the pink-hooded heavies terrorising the band.

Weta were a great band with some great songs. It seemed like they were going to take over the world, but for whatever reason, things just didn’t work out (famously inspiring Shihad to write “Pacifier” about Aaron) and by 2001 Weta had broken up.

This video offers a glimpse into the early days of Weta, making a crazy music video that manages to capture their energy (at least 56 seconds worth of it). But the best thing about the video excerpt is that includes Aaron Tokona’s fierce guitar solo. It’s thick with sonic energy, and a fine reminder of Weta at their peak.

Best bit: the hair tossing, the likes of which have not been seen since Ngaire’s “So Divine” video.

Director: Adam Larkin
Film Festival

Next… the pretty people.