Che Fu “Fade Away”

2001-che-fu-fade-awayBack in 2001, “Fade Away” was #2 in the charts, kept off the top spot by – get this – Hear’Say’s song “Pure and Simple”. But 12 years later, it’s Che Fu’s song and not the UK reality TV popstars’ one-hit wonder that’s an enduring pop favourite around these parts.

The first single off Che Fu’s second album is about being there for someone. The lyrics most obviously are about staying close to friends who bugger off overseas for their OE, but the video goes for a different sort of overseas experience, focusing on the camaraderie of soldiers during the Second World War.

Che Fu and his band the Krates are dressed as New Zealand soliders (Maori battalion, no less) and a few Allied soldiers. The video is set in the New Zealand Warbirds Association hangar out at Ardmore airport, complete with vintage aircraft casually chilling in the background. The dudes decide to have a jam, finding authentic WWII-era turntables and synths in crates. By throwing in some obvious 21st century technology, the video relieves itself of the burden of having to be historically accurate. The vibe and the energy are right and that’s all that matters.

By the way, there’s a line of te reo that is subtitled as “He thinks your a bit of a ‘Bing Crosby’.” Bloody hell. I used to make subtitles professionally and I would never ever have let a your/you’re slip through. That’s appalling.

The action isn’t confined to the hangar. We see Che out in the battlefield, marching over scenic landscape and hanging out with his battalion mates. He also has a moment where he reflects on his pounamu pendant, a reminder of home.

“Fade Away” is a really nice video. It serves as a good way of introducing Che Fu’s new band (it’s not just about him as a solo artist) and a fine way of referencing part of New Zealand’s history. For decades young New Zealanders have been going overseas, but it’s what brings them back that matters.

Best bit: Che casually writes in his notebook as stuff explodes behind him.

Directors: Matthew Metcalfe, Greg Riwai
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… come at me, bro.

3 thoughts on “Che Fu “Fade Away””

  1. That’s the NZ Warbirds Association hangar at Ardmore airport rather than MOTAT, which is a different and unrelated organisation. There are a couple of very well known NZ airshow performers chilling in the background 🙂 Also props for spelling “hangar” correctly, it seems few know the difference.

    Planes aside, I agree, this is a great clip.

  2. Thanks, Sam! I got the location info from NZ On Screen, so I’ll let them know. This sort of info is very useful indeed!

  3. I saw Che Fu & the Krates play at a packed townhall in Dunedin for O-Week in 2002. They really were something special that year, it’s easy to forget how much of a musicologist he and his band were at his peak. And such an elastic voice. His later stuff lost me a bit, but those first two records are important, moving and backed with great tunes.

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