Matthew and Gunnar Nelson are the twin sons of the late, 1950s teen idol, Ricky Nelson. In 1989, they signed a recording contract with Geffen Records. As Nelson, they released their first album, After the Rain, in 1990. Coming at the tail end of the hair metal era, Nelson specialized in the type of hard rock that was so radio friendly and inoffensive that even your mother could safely listen to them. Nelson achieved brief fame before Nirvana came along and permanently changed the musical landscape.
The first single released off of Nelson’s debut album was the title track, After the Rain. It was also their first music video.
I can’t remember where it was but I once saw the video for After The Rain at the top of a list of the worst music videos of all time. Actually, I’ve seen it at the top of several similar lists. After The Rain‘s bad reputation is almost entirely due to the first two minutes of the video.
A slob in a trailer park yells at his son. The sobbing teen lies down underneath a big Nelson poster than no one over the age of 12 would actually have hanging next to their bed. Suddenly, the poster comes to life and, in true Dr. Strange fashion, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson take the trailer park teen’s astral form on a journey to some sort of sweat lodge, when a Native American shaman holds up a feather. The magic feather transports the troubled teen to a Nelson concert and everything is instantly better.
What does it all mean, beyond suggesting that Nelson was the preferred band of both the trailer park and the sweat lodge? I don’t know. And was anyone’s life ever actually improved by going to a Nelson concert? Again, I just don’t know.
Like many bands of the era, Nelson’s popularity was washed away by a tidal wave of Seattle grunge. Nelson may now be forgotten but we’ll always have the feather.