Found videos from 1997

A fluffy bra, nightclub, a prison, a derelict swimming pool, three lifts and an escalator.
Continue reading Found videos from 1997

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.

Shihad “Yr Head is a Rock”

1997-shihad-yr-head-is-a-rockThe foundation story of this video goes a little something like this. Greg Page had previous made Shihad a video for their song “Derail”. He just did it for fun. The band already had a video arranged for the song, but they admired his initiative and kept him in mind when they needed a video for “Yr Head is a Rock”.

The video is shot in claymation, which was Greg’s animation form of choice back in the ’90s. He’d previous put it to use in the Throw video for “Honeyblonde”, but this one is much more sophisticated.

It tells the story of a truckie, driving alone at night along an empty road. He’s balding and is sporting a blonde handlebar moustache – essentially a plasticine Hulk Hogan.

As he drives, he starts to hallucinate, visited by ghosts from his past. We see him at a school ball in 1970 where “The Shihad Band” are playing. There he has a budding romance with a young lady, and deals with a bully who doesn’t take kindly to this blonde Romeo. But this fantasy starts interfering with reality…

I’m not normally a fan of claymation, but the animation in this video is really good, with very precise expressions of emotion. And the “The Shihad Band” look like the real deal.

Best bit: a road sign advertising “Tom’s Diner” – both a reference to the Shihad drummer and the Suzanne Vega song.

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the glass is smashed.

Ma-V-Elle “Depend On Me”

1997-mavelle-depend-on-meMa-V-Elle head to an exotic location for their video, which actually looks like Venice, or a similarly exotic part of Europe. In a way, it’s a little bit disappointing that it’s the real deal. I’d much rather they were in some weird port town colloquially known as “Venice of the South Pacific”.

It looks like the trio toured Europe and filmed this video on a day off. The weird thing is, the location is almost incidental, like they have a romantic place shoot in but no idea what to do with it.

The three Ma-V-Elle ladies sing the song in various scenic locations, sometime solo, sometimes in pairs, sometimes all together. Sometimes they’re sporting fierce leather coats, which is a sure sign they’re being tourists in Italy. Some of their clothing seems like business wear, but that sort of stuff was actually cool going-out clothes in the late ’90s.

Even though the group is deep in Europe, they’ve still casually brought some Pacific flavour into the video. It’s a sweet song and I really appreciate that the video has captured Ma-V-Elle at their peak, on top of the world.

Best bit: the valiant attempt to keep from laughing while lipsyncing in a crowded street.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… keep on truckin’.

Headless Chickens “Dark Angel”

1997-headless-chickens-dark-angelI’m going to keep talking about how I love the Headless Chickens third album, “Greedy”. “Dark Angel” was the opening track and it instantly takes me back to my first year in Auckland, 22 and trying to figure how where I fitted in in the crazy city.

Despite my likage for the song, I’d never seen the video. It reminds me of the “Mr Moon” video, with colour layers floating over the top of the black and white band.

But this time around Fiona is gone, but there is a woman in the video. Taking inspiration from the opening titles of Bond films, the video features shots of a naked lady. Who needs a girl in the band when you can just use female body parts in the video?

I started to think about the woman. What if she was actually a Bond girl, Chookie Galore, a good girl who got involved with the Headless Chickens gang. Has she come to seduce you, Mr Bond?

There’s a strange vibe in this video. It’s very stylish and has a pretty colour palette, yet there’s a very strong masculine feel to it. The band have a sluggish yet menacing look about them. I wonder if the naked lady and the colours were thrown in to balance it out, to add a touch of femininity to what might have otherwise been too grunty.

I get the same feeling with every video from “Greedy” – something wasn’t good with the band. While the music sounds fine, the videos feels like something had broken in the band and was being held together with the thinnest thread.

Best bit: the brief glimpse of a little bird figurine. I sense a theme.

Note: This video was on YouTube, MySpace and MTV Australia, but now it’s not.

Director: Jonathan Ogilvie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… Venice of the South Seas.

Head Like A Hole “Beatnik”

1997-hlah-beatnikTribute albums were big in the ’90s. As well as Flying Nun’s Abba tribute “Abbasalutely”, the label also released “God Save the Clean”, where local bands tackled the back catalogue of the Clean. HLAH’s contribution was their version of “Beatnik”.

The video keeps with the weirdness of the original video, opening with a spin around Albert Park where we meet Booga playing a disco-suited lout, which is as close as HLAH get to a beatnik. I mean, there’s no way HLAH could do the black skivvy and beret thing.

The beatnik causes trouble in a Jervois Road dairy and bothers some people outside St Patrick’s Cathedral. In the world of HLAH, men still wear walk shorts and long songs, so obviously they deserve to be bothered. There’s some more bothering at the Herne Bay Bowling Club, then the band heads over to the Point Erin Pool where they play on the concrete divider between the two pool areas. This video has so many Auckland landmarks that it could form the basis of a walking tour.

In the rool-trippy-as middle bit of the song, the action moves to the most amazing restaurant ever. All the walls have fish tanks on them and the room has freaky fishtank light. I want this place to still exist. I want to go there.

The action winds up with a saunter through the bowling club bar, then the band hangs out in the middle of Ponsonby Road. Guys, it’s not safe there!

HLAH take the Clean’s original song and throw it around a bit, having some fun with it. The video has that vibe too, and I love all the Aucklandic locations.

Best bit: the briefcase do-si-do with Mr Walkshorts.

Director: Julian Boshier
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

There’s actually a second version of this video, which is more like a remix of the original video. I don’t think it’s as good as the original, but it may be worth a look.

Next… would you like me to seduce you?

Eye TV “Wish It All Away”

1997-eye-tv-wish-it-all-awaySerenading used to be so much simpler. The young man would stand outside the abode of his beloved and strum a song – or hold up a boombox – and win her over. When Eye TV try it, things don’t quite go as planned.

It starts out well, as they being to play the song outside a house. But where is the object of their affections? I say “they” because it really does seem to be a group effort, as if the entire band if trying to win someone over.

The first person to notice them is a woman taking out the washing. At night? It’ll never dry. Slowly people in the building become aware of the woo-ers. A light snaps on. An old man frowns. A group of young women cheer. Two dudes grin. An older couple find the situation romantic. But what sort of house is this? Why do all these different people live in the same house? Perhaps it’s a halfway house.

The locals are well into the group’s dreamy 1950s-tinged pop ballad (except the old man), but there’s no sign of the girl. But suddenly she comes walking down the road, wearing a waitress uniform and slouchy old sneakers. But rather than walking like someone who’s been on her feet all day long, she’s doing a sexy catwalk strut, which looks really weird.

Finally the girl is reunited with the band. Proving that this is some sort of bizarre love quadrangle, the video ends with the four of them going on a romantic countryside date in a convertible. Modern love.

Best bit: the youths who carry a couch outside to enjoy the entertainment.

Director: Jesse Warn
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… dirty beatniks.

Bic Runga “Roll Into One”

1997-bic-runga-roll-into-oneThis was the fifth single off Bic’s mega successful album “Drive”. The video, directed by Paul Casserly, doesn’t stray too far from the style of previous Bic videos. The focus is on Bic, with a twist of quirk.

Much of the video is shot in a very bold, high-contrast black and white with elegantly framed shots of Bic being cool – tossing and turning in bed and playing her guitar. But this is mixed with footage shot in other styles – grainy black and white, sophisticated high-contrast colour (highlighting Bic’s cheekbones) and casual handheld video. The formal shots of Bic are mixed with a mosaic of the more casual footage.

And then there’s the clown. Just when things were feeling normal-ish, a clown shows up wearing a white and red suit, a fur collar, googles and a flashing light on his head. And, being a clown in a video music, he takes Polaroid pics of Bic sleeping.

I kind of like videos like this. It’s not especially ambitious, just content to showcase Bic and the song. And the clown.

Best bit: At 0:56 Bic overpronounces “one” as “Juan”, making “let the days all roll into Juan”.

Director: Paul Casserly
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… A neighbourhood serenade.

Missing videos from 1997

February 1997

AKA Brown “Tonight Is Yours”

AKA Brown was Sam Feo of the Semi MCs teamed with the mighty Chong-Nee.

Annie Crummer “I Come Alive”

Annie Crummer has “I Come Alive”, another single off her Seventh Wave album. It’s a sweet, uplifting track.

Future Stupid “Rock Star”

My theory is any band who writes a song called “Rock Star” is deeply conflicted by their role in the entertainment industry. Future Stupid evidently have this concern. Here’s a live video.

Moana and the Moahunters “You Haven’t Done Nothing”

The Kiwi Hit Disc reckoned that Moana and the Moahunters cover of Stevie Wonder’s funky protest song — originally titled “U Haven’t Done Nuthin” — would appear on their second album, Rua, but it didn’t make it. It did, however, later show up as the opening track on the compilation album Southside Funk ‘N’ Soul (1985-1996), a collection of previously unreleased tracks.

Russell Harrison “The Best”

There’s no sign of the video from long-time Lotto presenter Russell Harrison, but there’s a non-NZOA-funded clip of this smooth R&B jam “Why You Wanna”. Russell plays three guys auditioning for a role by doing an improv seduction scene in a bar. The video starts at 0:20, but it’s worth watching the introduction, where he seems a bit annoyed by the video.

Thorazine Shuffle “Secret You Hide”

Thorazine Shuffle is listed as having received funding for their song “Secret You Hide”, but as far as I can tell this wasn’t released as a single and didn’t have a video made. Here’s a video of a 2018 live performance.

April 1997

Buckle “Swoon”

Buckle appears to have been a “jazzy, trip-hop” group. “Swoon” was their one and only funded video.

Cicada “Backstab”

“Backstab” was Cicada’s fourth and final funded video, but it doesn’t look like a video was made. But there are plenty of other Cicada videos online. Frequent Cicada video director Marc Swadel made a demo reel of five music videos for the five tracks off Cicada’s Oscillator EP: “Alpha Jerk”, “Sway”“Good”, “Spine” and “Winter” (which had a proper funded video made).

Eye TV “Snakes & Ladders”

“Snakes & Ladders” was the opening track from Eye TV’s third album, “Birdy-O”. The Nga Taonga has this intriguing description: “Band members run, push man in shopping trolley, and ride bicycles. They perform as a rival band with Christian placards on Auckland waterfront.”

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Lava Lava “Feel The Heat”

Dance band Lava Lava had “Feel The Heat” and a video which included “fire dancing on the top of Mt Eden, live footage from the TRU SCHOOL 97 tour and a Cadillac with licence plate SPADE!” If anything puts this video firmly in 1997 it’s “spade”.

Southside of Bombay “Running”

Southside of Bombay had the single “Running”.

June 1997

Ardijah “Love So Right”

Ardijah give a South Pacific update to the Bee Gees song “Love So Right”.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Coelacanth “Choke”

Coelacanth were a four-piece alternative rock band. A bio of the band notes that they produced “four completed music videos, three of which never made it to air.” Is “Choke” one of those unaired videos?

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dead Flowers “I Wanna Know”

The Dead Flowers get really really pop with “I Wanna Know”. They must have been promoting the crap out of it because there are two live performances from TV shows – a delightfully degraded VHS copy of an appearance on Ground Zero, and this one from Ice TV. Nga Taonga describe the video as “The band play in a passenger waiting room.”

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Peaches “Down In Splendour”

Another track from Debbie Harwood’s Peaches project, matching her favourite female singers with classic New Zealand songs. This time vocalist Leza Corban covers the Straitjacket Fits tune “Down In Splendour”.

Propeller “Repeat The Question”

Propeller have “Repeat The Question”, another track from their final album and their penultimate NZOA funded video. Here’s a live-ish recording.

Southern Tribe “Closer”

Southern Tribe was a solo project by Hamilton musician Andrew Newth (formerly of Love and Violence). Described by the Htown Wiki as an ‘elaborate looping’ video, the laid-back, instrumental “Closer” was directed by Greg Page. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Man lying prone on ground rises and follows a figure (who looks him) into building and observes other versions of himself. He throws himself from balcony, then rises .”

Director: Greg Page
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

August 1997

Mary “I’ll Be Seeing You”

Mary have their second video “I’ll Be Seeing You”. Nga Taonga describe the video as, “The band perform against a white backdrop interspersed with brief shots of them in outdoor setting (city street, beach).”

Director: Sigi Spath
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Muckhole “Kooza”

“The past three years have left me bruised and broken,” Muckhole wail. Sadly the “Kooza” video isn’t online, depriving us of the visual depiction of this emotion.

Propeller “Refrain”

“Refrain” is the final video from Propeller. Farewell, Propeller.

October 1997

5 Go Mad “Too Bad”

5 Go Mad had two videos funded. “Too Bad” was the first track. According to Stephen from the band, the video was shot “in the back of an old monastery on Richmond Road”, and featured Jan Hellriegel.

Director: Jonathan King
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Bike “Anybody Know”

Just as I start liking the music of Bike, the videos start disappearing. “Anybody Know” is a an upbeat guitar pop track with gloriously noisy guitars.

Dead Flowers “Free”

Dead Flowers have the song “Free”, produced by Eddie Rayner. There are few traces of it online.

New Loungehead “Johnny 14”

New Loungehead were purveyors of very cool jazz. “Johnny 14” was the opening track off their album “Came a Weird Way”. Peter at DubDotDash takes a look back.

Director: Marc Swadel

December 1997

5 Go Mad “Above My Head”

5 Go Mad were a pop trio who won funding from the Recording Artist Development Scheme (RADS) run by RIANZ and Creative New Zealand “to promote emerging artists”. Rumour has it that the video for “Above My Head” was all but complete, but never made it off the edit suite (save for one VHS preview copy) due to reasons.

Director: Marc Swadel

B “So Long”

I talk about songs and bands that are hard to google, but this has to be the ultimate example: the band is called B and the song is called “So Long”. Do you know how many artists have a song called “So Long”? There are 12 songs with that name at Amplifier. But I finally managed to discover that B was Brendan Gregg of the Holy Toledos, and B also won RADS funding.

Director: David Reid
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Charlotte Yates “Console”

Charlotte Yates, probably best known for her work with When The Cat’s Been Spayed”, has the song “Console”. The Leeanne Culy-directed video was previously on Charlotte’s website, but in ye olde Real Video format. Nga Taonga describes the video as, “Singer playing guitar under wharf by sea and in other locations.”

Director: Leeanne Culy
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Dave Dobbyn “Waiting”

Dave Dobbyn has the upbeat pop track “Waiting”, with a hearty meandering melody. Here’s a live version.

Freaker “Mutilator”

Freaker were signed to Deepgrooves and “Mutilator” was an edgy instrumental track.

Lole “Comfort Me”

Samoan songstress Lole has “Comfort Me”. Instead here’s her song “Tu I Luga” which was used a David Tua’s entrance song in his big fight with Shane Cameron in 2007.

Pause “Only”

Pause was an early project by future Elemeno P guitarist Justyn Pilbrow, along with vocalists Jo Currie and Anna Copley. “Only” was their debut single, which Kiwi Hits described as having “eclectic rhythms and acoustic melody”. Deepgrooves describes the video as having been shot in black and white around Auckland, including breaking into the recently closed Auckland train station.

Director: Marc Swadel


Now let’s take a look at a video that didn’t have NZ On Air funding but that managed to make a huge impact despite its $250 budget. It’s “Jesus I Was Evil”, an ode to badassness by the late, great Darcy Clay.

Directed by David Gunson who filmed it with an assortment of cheap cameras, it sees Darcy performing at the Summer Series in Albert Park and being generally evil around town, which includes hoovering up a fat line of cocaine, played expertly by custard powder. The video ends with Darcy’s email address, back when email was still new. Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision also hosts the video, with some good behind-the-scenes stories from the director.

Director: David Gunson
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision