The new video, and the story behind it.
So besides doing this blog, I’m supposedly a musician who runs a record label. I say supposedly, because I haven’t done a whole lot in that regard since I left the United States. That’s about to change, at least on the business front, and not just because I’m going back to the states in a few weeks. I have a lot of plans for how to grow the label, get greater exposure for people I’ve worked with, and hopefully get a stable living together for myself.
My label, Karma Frog, is about to release its first new album in a year. It’s the third CD by a band called Mod Hippie, which is a project of singer-songwriter Doug McGuire with some very interesting personnel; David Marks from the Beach Boys plays lead guitar, D.J. Bonebrake from X is on drums, you have 3/4 of my own band (Teresa Cowles, Kurt Medlin, and myself as producer) plus our auxiliary member Jason Berk, plus Mike Schnee of Chissum Worthington and Wormstew fame who writes some of the songs.
Before we go any further, have a gander at the video:
All right, that out of the way you might ask what the heck was that all about?
Well, when it started, I was revamping Karma Frog’s press list from the bottom up and it became obvious that it was going to be useful to have a video for the first single. There are so many great songs on the new album, WANNABE NOBODY, that it was initially hard to pick but after a while “And Everyone The Fashion (So Sorry)” singled itself out as the obvious choice. It’s just a terrific song and has everything – it’s short, it encompasses all the band’s different influences seamlessly, Doug’s performance on the vocal is outstanding, and the arrangement is off the rails in a good way. If you want a song to get everyone’s attention, without testing their patience, this is a good one.
So at first Doug wasn’t all that into doing a video as he was busy with some other things and I said I could try to put something together. I gathered some shots around Bali and also hired a woman I knew who works as a model and has a very particular sense of style to do some ’80s-ish camera teasing, figuring I could key around the “fashion” part of the video and also there’s been so many videos of all of us middle-aged men that why not do something sexy for a change.
I cut that first version of the video together – feeling pretty proud of my editing skills – and sent it out for review. It, um, “tested badly” – being a middle-aged guy myself, it hadn’t occurred to me that this kind of approach might be really off-putting to many post-feminist western women, times having moved on quite a bit since Whitesnake made that video with the girl on the car. Also, nobody really picked up on the “fashion” part of the concept which was admittedly pretty vague to begin with. So I understood all that.
I was somewhat hamstrung though because I didn’t have much else to work with. If I’d had anything better to film I would have! Luckily, the rest of the band prevailed on Doug to do something and he filmed a very nicely psychotic turn at the mic which, when I edited his shots against the scenes of the model, contrasted really well. With the help of some of the other people that had been critiquing the work, I figured out a loose implied storyline where the woman was inside the TV, the guy was ogling her, and there’s a battle taking place over who gets to exist in reality and who gets to exist in TV. In the end, the woman fights him to a draw and gets to live in reality.
Well, sort of! The concept was still pretty loose. With the addition of some public domain (well, sort of) cartoon footage, it all came together in a way that seemed to go well with the chaotic nature of the song and let fans of garage rock and power pop enjoy something other than old white guys playing guitars while keeping things properly gender balanced. It took longer than I would have liked, but I learned a lot about editing videos, and it was great that I had friends to give me feedback who were able to keep me (and Doug) from putting out a video that would have undercut the song, which I think is a real winner.
By the way, if you’re of a mind to order Mod Hippie’s new album, or anything else on my label, hustle on over to www.karmafrog.com/store.html and have a look at what’s there.