Eat These Tunes, Videomonster!
What is easily the measure of a musical artist's
success? Duh! Video! No successful bands ever got away without having
the best videos with them lipsynching the best on TRL. It just didn't
ever happen. Napoleon wouldn't have been such a successful general without
his hot music videos, and I'm not about to fail where he succeeded!
The first ideas of music videos I was ever
involved in were during the time period of The
Adventures of Joe. My sister and I were absolutely camera-crazy. We
recorded a music video to The Small Faces' "The Nice," where
I wore a hippie hat with black hair protruding from it (at this time,
I had little head hair to claim for myself), and I looked just like Ozzy
Osbourne. Unfortunately for you, that video doesn't exist to my knowledge.
After that, most of The Adventures of Joe could possibly be considered
music videos, but I know we had some honest-to-the-balls music videos
at some point....
It wasn't until I was working on Turkey's
Revenge that a music video to MY music ever seemed in-the-question.
My sister and I were babysitting two young'ns, Chloe and Elliot Stuart,
and as a method of calming them down, I created a remix of some of their
speech called "Go for a Walk."
Chloe and Elliot were so excited, they wanted
to make a music video. Or maybe I did. Or maybe my sister did. Either
way, we got to doing so. Since I had recently edited The Adventures of
Joe in its snazzy, failed Video CD format, I knew a little about computer
editing, and we kept that in mind while filming. We attached Christmas
lights to the socket in our house which could be turned on and off with
the light switch and filmed them wrapped them around Elliot as he moved
around. We filmed myopic flashing green skeleton lights. We filmed Chloe
dancing. We filmed my hand in a glove going over a blanket. We filmed
In the end there were around 30 seconds of
usable footage. Taking that in with our primitive capture card, I was
able to edit the first half first, then the second half afterwards and
I joined them together (it suffered the same problems described in the
TAoJ section). The video was an instant hit! Straight to #1!!!
Years later, a film project was advertised
in the local paper which sparked the collective interest of Joe, Chad,
and myself. The premise was that entries have to have toasters in them.
That was all.
Sometimes, Joe will randomly start dancing
to music he hears in public places. He did that one day while we were
in the mall talking about toaster ideas, and I shouted, "You could
always just dance like that near a toaster!" We kept talking about
funny special effects, such as multiple copies of himself... it got outrageous.
Either way, he did say he was going to do it, but what was he going to
Music I made for him, of course! Every idea
past my initial dancing+toaster concept was his, though he still insists
the whole thing was his idea (NOPE!). Joe also made another toaster video,
but neither of them got turned in to the contest. After the success of
the Wrotenmusic+Worthenvideo combination, there have been quite a few
When Joe was still trying to decide what college to go to, he was getting together some videos to submit to his various choices. He wanted to make a brand new one, too, mixing strange video and manually-scanned animation. The resulting video was the ever-strange "Guest"...
He wanted some piano and breakbeat music. I believe that's what I gave him! It's a bizarre video, definitely.
Months later, he had to make a montage video for his film class. Most people had to construct their video around the music they picked, but Joe knew he could use my skills to do his in reverse. He came over and mapped out what happened at different time markers, and I crafted the music in a two-hour session with him. The result is "The Shift"...
I am disappointed that he wanted techno so adamantly in the middle section, but... it's his video.
Stemming as another idea in the Wm+Wv line
of success, I had the idea to write an electronic piece of music and give
it to both Joe and his Film and Video class to see how he interpreted
it in contrast with them. Unfortunately, things got all wishy-washy and
the video became a collaboration of everyone together (including Joe).
At first, it seems like it could possibly
be cool... until you realize that it's a breakup video. Does my music
sound like anything relating to breakups? NO! It sounds like subtle violence
involving breaking televisions and golfclubs, which was Joe's idea.
Once in college, I hooked up with the famous Matt Aughtry to work on soundtracks for him. The first he wanted me to do was a violin/piano piece for a pseudo-French New Wave film, "Les Brisures."
I had two days to write the music since the film was being entered in a competition. It seems like I may just have said, "Naw, not enough time," but I really enjoyed the deadline. I wrote the whole soundtrack in eight hours. It's quite lovely. The version in the video is merely computer playback, though. Shucks.
I've continued to work with Matt since, producing many soundtracks for his films. Another of particular interest is the ~9 minute "Time After Time." Matt wanted to pay homage to the late Charlie Chaplin, so he donned the outfit and character and made his own silent film...
I spent a week making the piano soundtrack (again, sadly performed only by the computer for the video). It shifts from being very tonal in the beginning (the past) to atonal and crazy in the middle (the present) and back. I really dig it, though silent films aren't generally my cup of tea.