The Ross Brothers “Yippie Ki Yay”

2001-the-ross-brothers-yippie-ki-yaySometimes the world of NZ On Air-funded music videos throws in some real gems. Presenting the Ross Brothers, a high school band from Oamaru. Their big break was from winning a song competition for a national Coke ad campaign, and soon after came a profile on the Holmes show. This got them the attention of Universal, and soon enough they had some NZ On Air funding to record their single and make a video.

“Yippie Ki Yay” is about Hollywood, with charmingly adolescent lyrics. As one of the brothers explained on the Holmes interview, “It’s kind of questioning Hollywood, and if it’s really all its cracked up to be.” But in this video the elegant Edwardian streets of Oamaru stand in for Hollywood.

The video centres around a red carpet event. We see Oamaru’s most glamorous A-listers piling out of fancy cars and making their way through hoardes of screaming fans into an old bank building. This is what they did for fun in Oamaru before the whole steampunk thing happened.

While all this is going on we find the Ross Brothers playing in an old building. They’re no Evermore. Lead singer Dylan sings with a strong American accent, putting a lot of effort into doing the gravelly grunge voice that was trendy in the ’90s. It’s odd hearing him sing “nice to see you, to see you nice” – the catchphrase of English variety king Bruce Forsyth – in that voice. The song also namechecks another Bruce (Willis) as well as Jim Carey, and is packed full of cinematic references.

The crowd and the A-listers are drawn to this young band of non-celebs, and abandon the red carpet to rock out with the boys. A tardy starlet, furious at the empty red carpet, storms in and scowls at the band who have stolen her thunder. She’s learning the hard way that being world famous in Oamaru is not all it’s cracked up to be.

I really like that this video exists. The Ross Brothers don’t seem to have done anything after “Yippie Ki Yay” – not even as individuals. But their short pop career was worth it for this video. Oamaru doesn’t usually feature in music video, especially not in ones where it seems like the whole town has been involved.

Best bit: the 13-year-old drummer giving the gladeye to a glamorous A-lister lady.

Also: Here’s the Holmes profile from 2000, and there’s a video for the demo version of the song made from the Holmes footage.

Director: Paul Sparkes

Next… she’s leaving home.

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