Music Video Of The Day: Club Michelle by Eddie Money (1984, directed by ????)

You have to feel for Eddie Money in this video.

Years ago, he met the girl of his dreams at the Club Michelle but now that he’s back in town, he can’t find her.  Not in the bars.  Not on the street corner.  Not anywhere.  Instead, he’s reduced to asking his cab driver if he’s seen her.  I am not sure where this music video is taking place.  If he’s in New York, he’s never going to find her.  He can’t even find the club again!

As a performer, Eddie Money’s popularity was due to being a rock star who still came across as being a total doofus.  Listeners could relate to him in a way that they couldn’t relate to some other rock stars.  If Mick Jagger said he couldn’t remember where the club was, you’d never buy it.  But Eddie Money?  You would be shocked if he didn’t get lost in New York.


Music Video Of The Day: Loaded by Primal Scream (1992, directed by ????)

“Just what is it that you want to do?”

“We wanna get loaded and we wanna have a good time”

That, of course, is Peter Fonda who is heard at the start of Primal Scream’s Loaded.  This vocal sample was lifted from the 1966 biker film, The Wild Angels.  Peter Fonda played Heavenly Blues.  Nancy Sinatra was Mike.  Together, they had a very good time.  The biking legacy of Heavenly Blues is continued in the video for the song.

As a result of this song, like a lot of 90s kids, I could perfectly quote Peter Fonda’s speech even though I didn’t even know that it was taken from a movie.  (I think most of us assumed it was just a member of the band saying something cool.)  It wasn’t until years later that I would watch The Wild Angels and I would discover just exactly who it was who wanted to get loaded and where they wanted to do it.

Loaded started out as a remix of a previous Primal Scream song, I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have.  Producer Andrew Weatherall added in not only Peter Fonda’s speech from The Wild Angels but also a vocal sample from The Emotions’ I Don’t Want To Lose Your Love, a drum loop from Edie Brickell’s What I Am, and also Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie singing a line from Robert Johnson’s Terraplane Blues.  Years later, Gillespie would tell an interviewer from NME that he wasn’t sure how he managed to clear the rights for all the samples but that if he hadn’t, Primal Scream never would have become the success that it did.  Loaded would go on to become Primal Scream’s first top 10 hit in the UK and, in many ways, it remains their signature song.

All thanks to Peter Fonda.


Peter Fonda, Rest In Peace

Peter Fonda has died from complications due to lung cancer.  He was 79 years old.

As an actor, Peter Fonda never got as much respect as the rest of this family.  Unlike his sister or his father, he never won an Academy Award, though he was nominated for two of them (one for writing Easy Rider and another for starring in Ulee’s Gold).  During the late 80s and the 90s, he was better known for being Bridget Fonda’s father than for the majority of the films that he appeared in during that time.  While the rest of his family was appearing in prestige pictures and working with directors like Fred Zinnemann, Sidney Lumet, William Wyler, Francis Ford Coppola, and Quentin Tarantino, Peter Fonda spent most of his career appearing in B-movies.  But today, many of those B-movies are more fondly remembered than the big films that he missed out on.

Peter Fonda made his film debut in 1963, playing the romantic lead in Tammy and the Doctor.  Fonda hated the film and often called it Tammy and the Schmuckface.  After that less-than-stellar beginning, Peter went on to find his groove as a lifelong member of the Hollywood counterculture.  In the classic biker film, The Wild Angels, he played Heavenly Blues and let the world know that all he wanted to do was “get loaded and have a good time.”  In The Trip, he played a disillusioned television director whose world is turned upside down by acid.

And then there was Easy Rider.  In this seminal independent film from 1969, Peter played Wyatt, a.k.a. Captain America.  Wyatt was the biker and drug smuggler who went “searching for America and couldn’t find it.”  This was Peter Fonda’s most famous role.  Along with acting in the film, he also produced it and co-wrote it.  (He was also responsible for keeping Dennis Hopper under control.  Or, at least as under control as anyone could keep Dennis Hopper in 1969.)  The role made Peter Fonda a symbol of rebellion, an American icon riding across the desert with the American Flag literally on his back.  Today, we still debate what Wyatt meant when he said, “We blew it.”  Peter Fonda, himself, later said that he was delivering the line as himself and not as Wyatt because he was convinced that Easy Rider would be a career-ending flop.

In the 70s and 80s, Fonda continued to play rebels.  His subsequent films were never as successful as Easy Rider, though many of them are still entertaining.  Peter made his directorial debut in 1971, with The Hired Hand, an elegiac and thoughtful Western in which Peter co-starred with another cult icon, Warren Oates.  Years later, Fonda would be among the many celebrities who made a cameo appearance in The Cannonball Run.  Of course, Peter played a biker and he got to fight Jackie Chan.

In the 90s, Peter Fonda played a lot of old hippies in many forgettable films.  However, in that decade, he also gave two of his best performances.  In The Limey, Fonda played the music producer who Terrence Stamp holds responsible for the death of his daughter.  And, in Ulee’s Gold, Fonda played a cantankerous bee keeper who finds himself taking care of his two granddaughters.  It was a role that many could imagine having once been played by Henry Fonda.  For Ulee’s Gold, Peter was nominated for an Oscar.  He lost to his co-star from Easy Rider, Jack Nicholson.

Peter Fonda continued to work up until his death.  With his passing, America loses another screen icon and a man who epitomized an era.  Rest in Peace.

Music Video Of The Day: Pop Muzik by M. (1979, directed by Brian Grant)

“I was looking to make a fusion of various styles which somehow would summarise the last 25 years of pop music. It was a deliberate point I was trying to make. Whereas rock and roll had created a generation gap, disco was bringing people together on an enormous scale. That’s why I really wanted to make a simple, bland statement, which was, ‘All we’re talking about basically (is) pop music.”

— Robin Scott, on Pop Muzik

Before adapting the persona of M., Robin Scott attended Croydon College with Malcolm McLaren (who would later manage the Sex Pistols) and released a folk album called Woman From The Warm Grass.  Scott eventually walked away from his folk roots, turning instead to electronic music.  Pop Muzik, which was written from the perspective of a DJ, was arguably the first new wave hit and this music video was extremely popular during the early years of MTV.

The video was the first to be directed by Brian Grant, who was a BBC producer at the time.  Working with a £2000 budget, Grant created a video that was revolutionary for the time.  (In the late 70s, music videos were mostly just straight performance clips.)  The success of Pop Muzik led to Grant becoming one of the busiest music video directors around.  Grant went on to direct videos for The Human League, The Fixx, Squeeze, Duran Duran, and many others.  If you were a New Wave group, Brian Grant probably directed at least one video for you.

I searched but I could not find the names of the two models who appeared in this video.  Does anyone reading this know?


Music Video Of The Day: City of Crime by Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks (1987, directed by Marty Callner)

“They didn’t have enough confidence in the material that they had to try and hook kids in with some disco thing.”

— Gene Siskel on Dragnet (1987)

In 1987, Dragnet was released into theaters.  Based on the classic television series, Dragnet was a comedy that featured Dan Aykroyd as straight-laced Sgt. Joe Friday and Tom Hanks as his new partner, Det. Pep Streebeck.  Perhaps realizing that they had spent $20,000,000 making a movie about a show that most teenagers had never heard of, Universal Pictures decided to promote the film by having Aykroyd and Hanks rap about fighting crime.

The end result was City of Crime and this music video.  Collaborating with Aykroyd and Hanks on this song are former Deep Purple and Black Sabbath vocalist Glenn Hughes and famed guitarist Pat Thrall.  This video was directed by Marty Callner, who is best-known for doing videos for Aerosmith and Poison.



Music Video Of The Day: Dreamworld by Midnight Oil (1987, directed by ????)

One of the most popular bands to ever come out of Australia, Midnight Oil is known for their energetic protest songs.  In Dreamworld, which was the last single to be released off of Diesel and Dust, Midnight Oil protested what they viewed as being the destruction of Queensland’s heritage under Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

Belke-Petersen, who served as premier from 1968 to 1987, remains a controversial figure in the history of Australia.  He was viewed by many as being a corrupt authoritarian who held onto power by disenfranchising urban voters.  At the same time, during the time that Belke-Petersen was premier, Queensland underwent significant economic development.

Unfortunately, much of that development involved demolishing many of Queensland’s best-known historical locales.  Among those was the Cloudland Dance Hall, which had previously hosted Buddy Holly in 1985 and, years later, Midnight Oil themselves.  The song, itself, was named after Queensland’s Dreamworld theme park, which can be spotted briefly in the song’s music video.


Video Games Are Not To Blame

When I was growing up, I used to love to play Castle Wolfenstein and Doom.  While playing those games, I fired every weapon that I could get my hands on and I killed a countless number of Nazis and demons.

In real life, I have never shot anyone nor have I ever been tempted to.

Later on, I discovered the Grand Theft Auto games.  While playing those games, I’ve stolen a countless number of cars and I’ve run down a lot of people.  Most of them I didn’t mean to run down.  Everyone knows how difficult it is to go in reverse when you’re playing Grand Theft Auto.

In real life, I have never stolen car and I’ve never never run anyone over.  Nor have I ever been tempted to.

That’s because I’ve always known that video games are not real life.  Even when I was a kid, I understood that if someone died in real life, they wouldn’t just respawn and continue playing the game.  I would say that’s true of 99.9% of all gamers.  As for the .1% that doesn’t understand the difference, they have problems that started long before the played their first game.

Whenever there’s a mass shooting or any other traumatic act of public violence, people demand to know how it could have happened.  Video games are always a convenient scapegoat.  Many video games are violent and gamers are easy targets for the media to pick on.  But this idea that little Johnny was perfectly normal until he played Call of Duty or Fortnite is ludicrous and everyone knows it.  When I hear about a school shooter who spent hours playing a violent video game, I don’t care about which game he was playing.  Instead, what I want to know is where were his parents while he was doing this?  Too often video games are blamed because no one wants to admit that they either ignored all of the obvious red flags or they didn’t have the courage to confront what they knew was happening.

Video games are not to blame and neither are gamers.  Using them as a scapegoat is not going to solve a thing.  People with a propensity for violence are always going to seek out ways to be violent.  Banning video games isn’t going to make that type of person any less violent.  It’s just going to inspire him to find a new way to express whatever it is that’s going on inside his head.

Until we get serious and stop looking for easy targets to blame, the shootings like we saw this weekend are going to continue and they’re going to keep getting worse.  Solely blaming video games — as if a mass-produced game is somehow more responsible for an individual’s actions than the individual himself — is not a serious response and anyone doing it is not a serious person.