Wednesday, November 6, 2013

TMFW 9 - The Red Hot Chili Peppers' Best Video

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have a broad diversity of quality music videos - see, for example, the hyper green-screened "Higher Ground," the black-and-white desert classic "Give it Away," the "bands fooling around in the studio" "Suck My Kiss," the shirtless-Anthony-Kiedis-running-in-slow-motion "Under the Bridge," the prismatic "Breaking the Girl," the video game-inspired "Californication," the genre-hopping "Dani California," and even the Coneheads-soundtrack hit "Soul To Squeeze" (a super-underrated song).  Though they reached peak fame in the mid-'90s, one of their more recent videos ranks among their best.   
Stadium Arcadium's track "Tell Me Baby" touches on the theme of young people coming out to LA with dreams of stardom.  The song starts "They come from every state to find / Some dreams were meant to be declined / Tell the man what did you have in mind / What have you come to do?"  In that spirit, the music video's directors - who have an impressive resume that includes Extreme's "More Than Words" video and the film Little Miss Sunshine (trailer) - decided to make an "audition video" for the song.  
The video for "Tell Me Baby" starts with several unknown performers who are seeking their fame in LA.  They stand in a small room and talk about their journey and their goals (some seemingly in the past but some ahead of them).  Then - intercut with scenes of the band playing - they turn for the camera to show their various profile angles and perform along with a recording of the song, giving the best show they can.  The video is already entertaining when they introduce the twist: as each person is playing, the Chili Peppers come in behind them and join the performance.  The reactions of the performers - as they realize they are in a music video and that they are jamming with the Red Hot Chili Peppers - are fantastic.  It's the simplest concept, but Flea called it their best video.  I agree. 
For more on the video, there is a two-part "behind the scenes" video here and here.  The first part focuses more on the band, while the second features longer reactions from the participants.
BONUS FACT:  Another great pure fun video is Len's "Steal My Sunshine."  As part of their record deal, Len's frontman Marc Costanzo demanded the ability to direct the band's videos.  For "Steal My Sunshine," he took the $100,000 budget and spent it to fly a bunch of the band's buddies from Canada to Daytona Beach, Florida.  There, they hung around on the beach and drank beers and rode scooters and acted stupid, all in the name of art.  The fun comes through brilliantly.
BONUS FACT 2:  On the subject of "creative uses for a video budget," the pop-punk band Blink-182 made "blowing the record label's video budget on frivolous things" into a video itself.  Their video for "The Rock Show" opens with them showing a check from the label for $500,000, and they spend the rest of the song driving around in a van and wasting it - including handing out wads of money to various strangers, throwing a flurry of cash off of a roof, buying (then immediately releasing) doves from a pet shop, buying a car and then paying a work crew to drop it from a crane to smash it, paying people to shave their heads, etc.

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