Goodshirt “Lucy”

Goodshirt’s “Lucy” video takes the form of a television current affairs story, with real-life TV journalist Amanda Miller playing the part of the reporter. She talks to three men, all of whom are obsessed with Lucy, a pretty model.

Nerdy Derek has known Lucy since primary school, is mates with Goodshirt, but somehow that’s not enough to win her over. Glen, a tattooed and pierced badboy, is obsessed with a skincare ad Lucy has done, inspiring him to get her face tattooed on his back. He seems pretty aggro, and there’s even a shot of a restraining order Lucy has taken against him. The third Lucy obsessive is Ryan, who’s in hospital with serious injuries sustained after falling off the harbour bridge while attempting to hang a banner declaring his love.

Goodshirt themselves are virtually absent from the video, appearing in a few photos with Derek and possibly as one of Glen’s tattoo clients. The video sticks so strictly to the conventions of a television current affairs story that there could easily be another version using the actual interview recordings instead of the song. There’s so much going on with the visuals (it’s the sort of video that gets better with repeat viewings) that the song tends to sink into the background, like a random track chosen by the story’s video editor.

But what’s missing from the video? Lucy herself. She exists only as photos. It’s understandable that a harassed model wouldn’t want to be part of a television story profiling three losers who are obsessed with her. But if this were a real story, there’d be some sort of behavioural expert commenting on the obsessive behaviour. And as entertaining as the three obsessives are, the video leaves me wanting to know all about Lucy.

Best bit: the blank “get wall” card some uncaring person has sent Ryan.

Director: Wade Shotter
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Goodshirt “Fiji Baby”

“Fiji Baby” is a sweet song looking at relationship troubles. The title is explained in the first verse – a trip to Hamilton is made sweeter by pretending they’re heading to Fiji, baby.

The video is set in the claustrophobic world of an old-fashioned hotel room – one without the luxury of an en suite bathroom, but with the most exquisite Rococo decor. Rodney checks in, turns on the jug, stares at the wallpaper, plays his portable keyboard, goes out for a wee, makes a cup of tea and takes a nap. He evidently has a very short attention span.

While he’s asleep, he dreams of the rest of Goodshirt. They’re sitting around a table enjoying a meal while wearing animal masks. Two of them are wearing horse masks, predating the horse mask meme by several years.

Rodney wakes up and very quickly leaves the room. What did the animal head dream/nightmare reveal to him? As he power-walks down the hallway, his phone rings. The video thoughtfully subtitles his quiet conversation. “Hello…? Yeah, nah, yeah.”

The video has a slightly uneasy feeling, a little bit Twin Peaks in style, which seems to symbolise the relationship stress rather than literally depict a holiday in Hammo.

And by avoiding the literal meaning of the lyrics, the song touches more people. I was interested to find a couple of heartbreaking comments on YouTube:

This is such a sad, sad, video – it makes me remember being young and poor, and the family only being able to afford to go to Hamilton 🙁

I grew up in Wairoa, Napier was a trip to the big city. Auckland seemed like a foreign land you only saw on telly.

Well, the video might sing of Hamilton, but you wouldn’t get that sort of room in the Fountain City Motor Lodge.

Best bit: the suitcase essentials – clothes, a Rubik’s cube, a knitted rabbit, and a photo of his sweetie.

Director: Wade Shotter
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a big clean-up.

Goodshirt “Cement”

2003-goodshirt-cementKezia Barnett, the director of Goodshirt’s previous video “Buck It Up”, is back for another adventure inside her gothic world of dance.

Like “Buck It Up”, the “Cement” video is set inside an eerie old building – this time it’s a spooky looking house on a moonlit night. The band are playing outside the house which comes to the attention of a Rapunzel-like resident, who flips down her long blonde braid for singer Gareth to climb.

They curl up in bed together, but then Rapunzel mysteriously vanishes, leaving Gareth alone in the bedroom to face five dancing 1940s housewives who menacingly iron a tea towel with his face printed on it. And just to make things odder for poor Gareth, the women then begin to dance with their ironing boards, and then turn into 1980s disco goth vamps. Chaos ensues.

While all this is going on, the rest of the band are still playing away, chipping in backing vocals. But we only see them via a photo on the wall of the house, suggesting they’ve been magically transported inside the photo.

I’m slightly confused by the video’s ending. Gareth finds a dark-haired woman drowning in a bath and rescues her. Is she the Rapunzel lady with her blonde utility wig removed? Well, whoever she is, she’s the girl of Gareth’s dreams. They embrace, and we discover the rest of the band frozen in the framed photo.

I like the style of this video. It’s a lot more ambitious than your typical New Zealand music video. It’s always good to see dancing in a music video – especially when it’s not done as a parody of dancing in music videos. This video almost inspires me to drag out my ironing board and rhythmically flail about with it.

Best bit: the fierce dance of the irons.

Director: Kezia Barnett
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… the chook look.

Goodshirt “Buck it Up”

2003-goodshirt-buck-it-upWith “Buck it Up”, Goodshirt ended its previous collaborations with director Joe Lonie. They went in a different direction with new director Kezia Barnett, an old art school pal of Rodney Goodshirt.

And it’s very different from the five one-shot-wonder videos the band made with Lonie. “Buck it Up” is more grown up, more sexy and it has lots of actual proper choreography – something I’ve been hanging out to see in a NZOA music video for so long. And it is fearless with edits.

The video is set in a school, where an impossibly handsome young student is troubled by strange visions. His strict teacher becomes a saucy temptress (played by one of the other people who did the artists dole course with me in 2003!) – and it’s done with a lot more style than Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher”. The student sees a butterfly with the face of a cute girl. He’s beaten up by bullies who transform into wolves. And then there are cheerleaders wearing masks of the Goodshirt members.

This menagerie of madness comes together for a final chaotic dance scene, then the student comes to, finding the butterfly girl (in human form) there for him in real life.

The band don’t directly feature a lot in the video. They make a few cameos, but are largely absent (they are shy). But this means the story has been given over to the casts of pros, the ones who can do the high kicks and shimmies.

It works having lots of dancing in the video. The song is upbeat and highly danceable, so it seems almost like a no-brainer that you’d work with the rhythm and get people moving.

Best bit: the cheerleaders putting on their Goodshirt masks, piece by piece.

Director: Kezia Barnett
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a walk along the beach.

Goodshirt “Monotone”

2002-goodshirt-monotoneWhile Joe Lonie’s music videos have a really strong association with Goodshirt, he only directed five videos for the group. “Monotone” was the final, and while it follows the Lonie/Goodshirt style of being a one-take wonder, it’s a lot more surreal than previous Goodshirt videos.

In a gloomy forest clearing, good and evil are having a doubles game of badminton, only they seem to be using a ping pong ball, rather than a shuttle cock. The players are dressed in beekeeping outfits with their player numbers on the back – good are 23 and 42, evil are 13 and 69, of course.

The beekeeper outfits also mean that the players’ faces are obscured, which makes me wonder if the band wasn’t available for the video. Maybe they used pro badminton players instead.

While the game goes on, the camera continuously circles their makeshift court. By the court there’s a table set up to record their scores, with enough room to track up to 999999 points per side.

But there’s not a lot of winning happening. The players are just too good. They effortlessly bat the ball to and fro, with little sign of either team missing. So, four badminton players who never miss, combined with a music video filmed in one take. Well, it’s probably a CGI ball, yeah. Either that or those really are pro badminton players in the costumes.

It’s nowhere near as much fun as the earlier Goodshirt videos. In fact, it seems more like a video art project than a music video. Slow it down by 75%, play it on an old CRT television and there’s your exhibition.

Perhaps this was just the Goodshirt/Lonie partnership coming to its natural conclusion. The next video by the group took a very different approach.

Best bit: the disappearance of the ball after a particularly mighty hit.

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a dame and a private dick.

Goodshirt “Sophie”

2001-goodshirt-sophieThe “Sophie” video is one of those classic, beloved New Zealand music videos. It won Best Video at the New Zealand Music Awards in 2003 was on the Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s list of 100 iconic music videos.

It’s the third of Joe Lonie’s four Goodshirt videos, and probably the best known. In classic Lonie style, it’s all shot in one take and played for laughs, this time with a stationary camera.

The video centres on a young woman. Let’s call her Sophie. It’s her birthday and she’s just taken a shower. Wrapped in a towel, she sits on her couch and puts on headphones to listen to her favourite song, “Sophie” by Goodshirt.

And she really like the song. She’s so wrapped up its pop-rock charms that she doesn’t notice the four cat burglars who break into her flat and steal all her stuff. There’s obviously a strong demand on the black market for quirky vintage furniture.

The burglars are played by Goodshirt, only the singer Gareth wasn’t available for the video shoot so a stand-in was used. Gareth’s absence is why the concept of the black-masked burglars was created.

While enjoying a piece of birthday cake, Sophie turns around and discovers that all her stuff is gone. The bastards even took her toilet paper. She drops her cake in shock. Don’t sorry, Soph – you still have your stereo and Goodshirt CD. And that gift of music is the most precious taonga of all.

The video has nothing to do with the song lyrics (a yearning for an unrequited love), but it picks up on Goodshirt’s charms. “Sophie” is a strong song, but I reckon the video is what really helped get it to number one.

Best bit: Sophie versus the sticky piece of tape on her gift box.

Note: The below version of the video is a bit pixelly and the sound isn’t balanced. But over at Joe Lonie’s portfolio at Fish’n’Clips, there’s a really good quality version.

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… we’ve got a futuristic cyber realm and we aren’t afraid to use it.

Goodshirt “Place to Be”

“Place to Be” is the third of Joe Lonie’s one-take wonder videos for Goodshirt. The concept has Goodshirt filmed walking around an old building while various amusing things happen to and around them. The video was filmed with the song sped up, so the slowed-down version gives the video a laidback feeling – much like the song. I believe the video was filmed at old St Helens Hospital on Pitt Street in Auckland, which was demolished later in the year.

So let’s take a look at the events of “Place to Be”. Murray enters, holding a bag of fresh fruit and a skateboard. Bro Rodney grabs a banana and eats it as he sings the song, which is really gross seeing his mouth full of half-chewed banana.

Rodney then wanders around the building where various interesting things happen around him. Champagne! Sledgehammers! Gumboots! Toilets! Aerobics! The aerobics ladies are a highlight of the video. Dressed in vintage ’80s Lycra, they conduct an energetic aerobics routine also of the era. Hey, this might also count as formation dancing. It’s important to note that back in 2001, ’80s retro had only just become a thing, so this scene was both hilarious and cool.

Watching the video now, I’m most intrigued by the building, especially the old fireplace in the lounge room. While the building has a cold, rickety feel to it, the presence of Goodshirt’s crazy world helps bring back some life to the old girl.

Best bit: the tray of half-time oranges, offered well before the halfway point of the video.

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… it’s complicated.

Goodshirt “Blowing Dirt”

2000-goodshirt-blowing-dirtOf the four videos Joe Lonie made with Goodshirt, I’d consider “Blowing Dirt” to be the strongest. There’s a simple concept behind it, it looks good and it fits with the song. Being a Lonie video, it’s not surprisingly based around a gimmick. In this case, the video was filmed in reverse and in one take. So there’s Rodney doing a reverse lip-sync with the rest of the band un-smashing up an old car.

Two versions of the video were shot. This one has a Mazda 929 being un-wrecked, the other used a Austin 1300. The Mazda seems to be the only version online, but I figure the Austin version will be much the same – just more British and less Japanese.

So, the video starts with Rodney popping up at a wrecker yard, which gives it a slightly sinister undertone because as the world of crime drama tells us, bad things happen in wreckers.

Behind Rodney, a mechanical claw un-crushes the car, and we witness the dents and scratches and collapsed panels miraculously pop back to their original smooth shape. Once the car is back to its former shape, the rest of the band come along to un-ding the car and un-break all its windows.

So far it’s all a bit grungy, but suddenly the band change into scuba-diving gear, then a bunch of balloons floats into the boot and the lads cram themselves into car, flipper-clad feet dangling out the window. They drive off with a comedy cloud of exhaust smoke.

The “Blowing Dirt” video works because while it’s a low-budget, one-take wonder, it still manages to be both entertaining and cool, just like Goodshirt.

Best bit: the lone balloon that floats into the boot, long before his rubber brethren join him.

Director: Joe Lonie
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (version one, version two)

Next… an act of sabotage.

Goodshirt “Green”

So here’s a curious thing. There were two videos made for Goodshirt’s song “Green” and they both appear to have had NZ On Air funding — though only one entry is listed in the database.

The first video was funded in 2000 and released in the same year. The video was directed by Florian Habicht and has the sort of quirky, arty style the director would become known for in the coming years.

The video is set at a West Coast beach, where Goodshirt can be found, buried up to their shoulders in sand. While they’re stuck with nothing to do but play their instruments, there are others at the beach who have more freedom.

Goodshirt are joined by a number of schoolgirls (including a pre-Shortland Street, pre-Power Rangers Li Ming Hu), wearing a boys’ school uniform. (This feels pretty submissive, considering how strong the “sexy schoolgirl” trope is.) The girls have hula hoops and happily hoop away while the band give an energetic performance.

Then about three years later, a second video appeared. This time it was directed by Supergroove bass player (and legendary music video director) Joe Lonie. He became especially known for the videos he made with Goodshirt — four quirky, low-budget one-take music videos that have mostly become classics.

Like a lot of Joe Lonie videos, there’s a gimmick to it – the video is shot upside down with the band dangling into an upside down bathroom.

Each of the band members take turns at the sink, each introduced by a caption with their name. As they’re all danging upside down, their faces puffy with gravity and blood, perhaps the captions are necessary to identify the members.

It’s a fun video, and we lol at Gareth trying to apply Old Spice while it dribbles up to the ceiling. But I don’t think that tone works with the song. The song has a really cool and sexy attitude. The crazy antics of the video neuter that attitude, turning it from “Hey girl” to “Yo dudez!” And really – no one wants to see someone spitting toothpaste up their nose.

Director: Florian Habicht (first video)
Director: Joe Lonie (second video)
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… I believe the children are our future.