Found videos from 1996

Loads of found videos from 1996, featuring cameo appearances from three bright young actors, Stella as a grunge band, double Annie Crummer and Strawpeople, and some political pop.

Continue reading Found videos from 1996

Supergroove “If I Had My Way”

Supergroove had creative differences. The lively pop-rock-funk group of teens had turned into a rock band of serious young men, average age 22. The band was downsized (sending Che Fu out into the world on his own, where he did just fine) and adopted a new sound, less funk and more rock.

At the time, I came across a Supergroove fan site, kept by an enthusiastic Australian fan who was really excited about their new album. But her excitement turned to disappointment when the album was released. Who were these miserable bastards and what had they done with Supergroove?

“If I Had My Way” was the first single of “Backspacer”, a showcase of the band’s new sound. The song has some really fine moments (the opening hook is sweet), but its weaknesses are apparent. Karl’s singing voice isn’t strong enough to carry the song, the group’s vocal harmonies sound like a new trick they want to show off, and the song is about a minute too long. But what about the video?

Directed by bass player Joe Lonie, the video is based around a faux TV show. Clad in their trademark black, the ‘Groove assemble infomercial exercise machines and then ride them in crazy sped-up footage, while the lyrics repeatedly ask “Who would you kill?”

The band also leave the confines of the studio and play in a pigsty (with real pigs and real mud), an ice skating rink (while ice hockey players hoon around them) and the dramatic finale – playing on a desolate beach with a flaming piano as the tide comes in.

There doesn’t seem to be any logic behind these locations, other than they look interesting. It almost feels like the band didn’t have enough confidence in their new sound and so were trying to distract viewers with a crazy music video.

This video won Best Video at the 1997 New Zealand Music Awards, beating the videos for Shihad’s “La La Land” and Dam Native’s “Behold My Kool Style”. It was the third win in a row for Joe Lonie, and the second for Siggi Spath, but I’d say those other two videos are more beloved and have held up better over time.

I feel a bit sorry for “Backspacer” era Supergroove now. From all accounts, they weren’t in a good place at this stage and they broke up soon after. But despite all the misery, “If I Had My Way” still has a hint of the playfulness and energy that infused their first album. Karl wearing lipstick and singing with pigs? Go on, lads!

Best bit: the pigs, happily nomzing on scraps, oblivious to the band playing in their shed.

Directors: Joe Lonie, Sigi Spath
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The 3Ds “Dust”

1996-the-3ds-dustThe 3Ds released their third album, “Strange News from the Angels” in 1996, but something wasn’t quite right. It didn’t have the same spark that “Hellzapoppin” and “The Venus Trail” did. The opening track “Dust” sounded like the 3Ds were trying to replicate the energetic opening tracks of the previous two albums, but had forgotten how to do it.

The video has a bit of that same tiredness. Three-quarters of the 3Ds are absent, leaving David Saunders alone in front of a green screen with some goofy puppets.

There’s a lot of low budget fun, looking like like an explosion in a 1990s cool clip art factory. A toy dinosaur robots, motorbikes, aeroplanes, insects, false teeth and other novelties get some screen time along with David’s disembodies head.

This video frustrates me because while it’s not terrible, it’s nowhere near as good as what the 3D’s have previously done.

Best bit: the orange-haired puppet’s dive out the window of the band’s practice space. Noooo!

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the awkward serious phase.

Thorazine Shuffle “Harry”

1996-thorazine-shuffle-harryI used to hear this song a lot in the mid-’90s. I was never quite sure what the lyrics were about, other than some fellow called Harry. Will the video shed more light on the mysterious Harry?

So, yep, there’s Harry, driving the band somewhere in his vintage car. Cool. Harry drops them off at a vintage shop, where a shop attendant files her nails. This is what bored shop attendants did in the days before Facebook.

Harry waits outside while the band do stuff in the shop. Has Harry employed the boys as his personal stylists, getting them to pick up some fresh threads? But oh dear – the band has been spotted, causing a flock of teen girls to surround the shop. Getting a shopfront worth of extras to appear in a music video is a great achievement. This must be what it’s like for One Direction every single day.

Is this about the music industry? An Aotearoan “Frankly Mr Shankly”? Harry is still a mystery. Perhaps it’s better that way.

Best bit: the lecherous guy outside the shop who rubs his nipple with excitement. What.

Director: Steve Morrison
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… one D and some puppets.

Superette “Kiss Someone”

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”.

Best bit: Dave Mulcahy’s alarmed man-tiger.

Director: Stuart Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… what it’s like for One Direction.

Strawpeople “Taller Than God”

1996-strawpeople-taller-than-godStrange things are afoot at the Moturemu Motel, where Fiona McDonald plays a bored clerk at the kitschy motel. In real life it’s in Parakai, but it has a not-quite-New-Zealand feel to it.

Fiona mans the front desk, where a handsome young man checks in for the night. In other rooms we meet a elderly cellist, fellow Strawpeople person Paul Casserly conducting strange experiments, a yoga lady and a lonely seductress. This motel only attracts unusual solo travellers.

The song has a spooky quality to it, with a killer chorus. Fiona knows how to do melody. The video picks up on the spookiness, making the motel seem both comforting and uneasy.

Why has the handsome young man come to the motel? Why is he staring into a shard of broken glass? Will motel lady Fiona ever find happiness? The morning brings no answers. Everyone seems just as troubled as before. The handsome young man eats dry cereal out of a box, swigging down milk from a glass bottle.

Looking at the motel on Streetview, it appears to no longer be operating as a motel, now looking like an unremarkable block of flats. I don’t know how much of the video was set dressing, but I like to think that the Moturemu Motel used to be as crazy as what appeared in this video, complete with the troubled guests.

Best bit: continuing from the 50c coin in the “Trick with a Knife” video, this video features a big old 20c coin as part of a nervous fidget.

Director: Justin Pemberton
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a tiger hunt.

Nothing At All! “Get Some”

1996-nothing-at-all-get-someNothing At All! return with more crazy-fool antics. This time around, good fortune has come their way, with Dion stumbling across a briefcase containing $20,000 cash, earlier lost from a security van. And remember, kids, this was 1996, so $20,000 was a lot of money back then.

With this newfound booty in hand, Dion does what most of us would do in a similar situation: he orders a stretch limo. Collecting his mates from their lowly jobs (newstand guy and forecourt attendant), the lads set off drinking sparkling wine and tooting party whistles.

They finish off their big day by getting a haircut at a fancy salon, and finally enjoy cigars with a cigar-smoking seriousness that only a young man can manage. This is all cut with footage of the band playing the song live with plenty of their usual energy.

Like “Busted”, this is another Andrew Moore directed video, and it’s also unashamedly set in Auckland. There are ordinary landmarks galore, and it’s strangely exotic getting a glimpse of lower Queen Street back when it was a pedestrian mall.

I kind of wish that the Nothing At All! party limo from the ’90s would drive by and pick me up.

Best bit: a cameo appearance from a vintage ’90s Fanta can.

Director: Andrew Moore

Next… check in to the Moturemu Motel.

DLT feat Che Fu “Chains”

1996-dlt-chainsIt was 1996. Supergroove had regrouped as a serious rock band, squeezing out Che Fu. DLT had left Upper Hutt Posse and was branching out as a solo DJ and producer, and everyone hated the French because they had resumed testing nuclear weapons in the South Pacific. These three factors combined to create “Chains”, one of the greatest New Zealand songs.

The song alternates between Che Fu’s angry verses spitting at France for dropping bombs, and the clearer chorus with the memorable line “Living in the city ain’t so bad”.

The Kerry Brown-directed video captures both sides of this, with edgy urban scenes mixed with apocalyptic imagry. Scenes of Pacific-flavoured graffiti mix with skulls, gas masks and a cross made out of money. Interestingly, the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision notes there were two videos made, with the other one directed by Gideon Keith and Grant Fell. There’s no sign of it online.

But back to the best known version and there’s a naked lady boob, which I had not previously noticed. But there it is, being all arty. It’s interesting which videos get away with nudity. I guess if you’re not being terribly sexist, no one minds.

But the star of the video is Che Fu. Wearing his ever present backpack, he is full of attitude. Sometimes seen with equally cool DLT, it’s like Che has taken everything he’s learned from his years with Supergroove and put it into the song and the video. He works the camera with such menace that it almost feels like this song could single-handedly put a stop to French nuclear testing in the South Pacific.

Best bit: the rotating hand grenade, like a macabre gameshow prize.

Director: Kerry Brown
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… stretch limo party!!!!

Missing videos from 1996

February 1996

Dei Hamo “International Whirl Rocker”

After making his mark doing the guest rap on Nathan Haines’ “Lady J”, Dei Hamo went solo with International Whirl Rocker (or “Rocca”, as it is listed in the NZOA database. The song was due to be released on Papa Pacific Records, but the label folded before this could happen, with Phil Fuemana eventually including the track on the groundbreaking Pioneers of a Pacifikian Frontier album. Here’s Dei Hamo performing the song live on Mai Time.

Teina Benioni “Gone Fishing”

Teina was nicknamed “the bard of Otara”. He played all the instruments and sang all the vocals on his song “Gone Fishing”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

April 1996

Eye TV “Immaculate”

Another track from Eye TV. “Immaculate” was a return to a more electric sound for the group. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “Eye TV perform “Immaculate” in white room under flashing lights.”

Director: Sharron Ward
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Moana and the Moahunters “Prophecies”

“Prophecies” was a track on Moana and the Moahunter’s second album, Tahi. It’s a gentle soul ballad, and Moana’s website says it touches “on more spiritual matters”. This looks like a case where the video was never made.

Splitter “What You Know”

Splitter had “What You Know”, described by the Herald as “XTC-meets-powerpop”. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “The Splitter singer sings “What You Know” strapped to a chair in an interrogation room.”

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

June 1996

Bike “Old & Blue”

Bike’s first single, “Save My Life”, is afforded digital immortality due to its inclusion on the Flying Nun “Very Short Films” compilation, but second single “Old and Blue” isn’t so lucky.

Director: Mark Tierney
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dam Native “Top Notch Vocalist”

The only mention of the Dam Native song “Top Notch Vocalist” is in the NZOA funding list. It seems like the sort of funding that might have ended up going to a different song.

Future Stupid “Greed”

Christchurch band Future Stupid were causing a ruckus with “Greed”. While the music video isn’t online, you can take your pick of 1997 live performances at the Summer Series, the Big Day Out or a DIY music video.

Lodger “Tell Me Have You Ever Seen Me”

Another song from Lodger, aka Damon from Dead Flowers’ side project. I assume that “Tell Me Have You Ever Seen Me” is a cover of the Small Faces song.

Second Child “Prove You Wrong”

“Prove You Wrong” is the sixth funded video from Second Child.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Splitter “Tremolo Panned”

Splitter was an Andrew Thorne project and “Tremolo Panned” was a nice piece of mid-’90s rock. But best of all, the Kiwi Hit List noted that the song features “Graham Brazier on electrified harmonica”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The Exponents “Do You Feel In Love”

The Exponents said farewell to Warner Music with a final single, “Do You Feel In Love”. Nga Taonga’s description suggests the video is a classic style Greg Page animation: “A claymation Exponents perform “Do You Feel In Love”.”

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

August 1996

Breathe “Smiley Hands”

Breathe debuted with “Smiley Hands”, giving just an inkling of the major label excitement they stirred only a few years later. The olden internet has revealed this short but amazing article about the Smiley Hands EP. Taken from a December 1996 issue of RipItUp, it’s the kind of music writing that’s so scarce in this digital age.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Igelese “Emotions”

“Emotions” was Igelese’s second funded video. There’s no sign of it ever having been made, which might be tied to the end of Igelese’s record label, Papa Pacific. But he went on to compose music for Lord of the Rings and Moana, so it turned out well.

Lole “Feel Like Making Love”

Lole covers “Feel Like Making Love”, that’s the safe Roberta Flack song, not Bad Company’s rock classic.

Director: Marc Swadel
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Peaches “Go”

OMG, Peaches?! Wait, it’s not the Canadian performance artist, but a Debbie Harwood project. She got her musician mates to cover classic New Zealand pop. “Go” is project’s one original track, penned by Rikki Morris.

Seven a Side “Running Back to You”

Also from the Rockquest is Seven a Side, winner of the Tangata Pasifica Beats category. A funded video for “Running Back To You” was part of the prize package. The track also featured on Tangata Records’ compilation album Tribal Stomp II.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Supergroove “5th Wheel”

“5th Wheel” is an attempt at a sweet pop song, complete with flute, strings, and ah-ah-ahs. I believe vocals are by Joe Lonie, and the video involved him sitting on the back of a ute.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

The 3Ds “Vector 27”

“Vector 27” was from The 3Ds final album, Strange News from the Angels. It was also the final 3Ds video to be funded. Nga Taonga enticingly describes the video as, “The 3Ds go for a drive in the countryside and encounter flying saucers and aliens.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

October 1996

Ardijah “Oh Baby”

After returning from five years in Australia, “Oh Baby” was Ardijah’s new single. The video isn’t online, but here’s a short clip of a live performance from the era. Nga Taonga describe the video as “Ardijah perform “Oh Baby” in cabaret setting.”

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Bobby Owen “Falling”

The Kiwi Hit Disc described 18-year-old Bobby Owen’s single “Falling” as a “moody soulful ballad” that was recorded at Fuemana Studios.

Dam Native “Extremities”

Another cool track from Dam Native. “Extremities” was produced by Zane Lowe.

Greg Johnson “Softly On Me”

“Softly On Me” featured Boh Runga and was produced by Dave Dobbyn. Jonathan King directed the video, filmed at a Tongan church in Auckland.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Mary “Golden Halo”

Mary was an all-girl band, and they were a very all-girl band. Check out this profile in the Herald – about half the article is about aspects of their all-girl-bandliness. Their sweet, girly song “Golden Halo” was the first of many funded videos. I’ve heard from a performer in the video who says she wore a halo, naturally enough.

Stellar “Real”

It’s cool seeing signs of Stellar’s early work, putting in the hard yards before they were snapped up by Sony and became pop icons. “Real” was another early single.

December 1996

Ardijah “Bad Buzz”

More Polyfonk from Ardijah, this time with “Bad Buzz”, a Bob Marley tribute. Nga Taonga describes the video as “Ardijah sing “Bad Buzz” walking through sideshows / amusement park.”

Director: Neil Cervin
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Brothers & Sisters “Parihaka”

Like both Tim Finn and Jacqui Keelan Davey, the young Maori band Brothers & Sisters pay tribute to the pacifist Te Whiti with their song “Parihaka”. The track featured on the Tangata Records compilation album Tribal Stomp II.

DLT “Black Panthers”

The instrumental “Black Panthers” was the second single off DLT’s album “The True School”.

Fat Mannequin “That Matters”

Fat Mannequin deliver “That Matters”, a very ’90s rock ballad.

In The Whare “Sister Dread”

According to NZOA, In The Whare’s music was a mix of reggae, hip hop, funk and metal. Their song “Sister Dread” also featured on Tribal Stomp II.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision