A page for people who had a role in shaping the videos of the day.
Kent - Kiss/Michael Jackson and More | Kick Axe | Quarterflash | Night Ranger - Sister Christian |
Did you meet Kiss when you starred in I Love it Loud?
Gene Simmons is involved in every aspect of what goes on with that band. He
is actually a business genius. He and Paul basically oversaw the casting. Oddly
enough, the final choice came down to myself and my good friend/room mate. Gene
chose me because he wanted more "All-American", and my friend was
Jewish. (even though I was too naive to know the difference at the time, Gene
himself is Jewish, so it was quite distinguishable to him). I had been a Kiss
fan as a kid, but at this time, I was a total 80s club guy. So it seemed almost
juvenile to me, but I was still quite impressed and a little in awe. I was
getting to see these guys with their makeup off too, which hadn't been publicly
revealed, so that was a big deal also. If I recall correctly, this was a time
when Ace was still a part of the band, but a big screw-up alcoholic. In fact, I
think that he showed up so drunk and off his rocker that they had to hold him up
for the video ending shot and I don't think they had many, if any,
performance shots of him in the video. Therefore, I never saw Ace as he was
largely absent and in in tense conflict with Gene and Paul at that time. I did meet
Eric Carr though, who was a newcomer to the band. In many regards, Eric
considered himself to be in the same boat as me... having grown up being a fan
and now working with them in their presence. The video shot before or as the
album was coming out - and certainly before they toured, so Eric had no sense of
fame whatsoever. I think he was a humble person to begin with, but - wow - what
an incredibly kind and generous person he was. I was truly and deeply saddened
to hear of his early and untimely death.
How much were you paid?
I think I was paid something like $300 for that project, but really am not sure. It was non-union so I am sure it was a buy-out. I did stay in touch, and got back stage passes to their concerts in the LA area for the next 2 tours, but after the 2nd tour, I felt like I had worn out my welcome - you know - being an item of the past kind of thing.
The first tour was really cool though. They played in Long Beach, CA if I remember correctly... OMG! the girls - lordy lordy lordy. Fact is, they were backstage with one focus, and it wasn't me - but oh my, what a sight!
You couldn't use the the fact you were in the video to get a date?
I tried - they were unimpressed. I think they wanted Gene's tongue
So for the white eye shots was that a prosthetic or did they just paint
your eye lids?
For me, they paid a prep day and had a FX makeup artist do a mold over my face and then manufacture a prosthetic. For the reflective material, they sprayed the same material used on road signs on the "eyeballs" of the prosthetic, then cut little holes in there for me to see. It was very uncomfortable and restrictive - I had absolutely no peripheral sight. For the masses, they made general (not mold fitted) prosthetics of the same material.
When you were in "Beat It" did you get to hang out with Michael Jackson?
Yes and no... there were a lot of people there. The cool thing was that he
was still black and normal at the time. On the first night, my agency gave me wrong info (idiots), and I showed up
looking like more of a 50s guy, so I was used in the far background mostly on
that night. They got people from the following; Two rival gangs and hired Dancers Hired Extras
On the first night, we met in a very large staging area. I can remember the rival gangs on opposite sides of the room sort of squaring off and flashing signs, while the hired talent was in the center sort of wetting their pants (me too). Then Michael came in and took the time to go around and personally shake the hand of each person there... The mood totally changed, and everyone was all of a sudden melded together as one happy family by some intangible force.
On day 2, I showed up with my Pompadour, as I usually went clubbing with at the time. As I was walking by a trailer, MJ was just coming out and stopped me with a "Hey, I like your hair" and a "Can I touch it?". It was pretty cool and another extra I knew happened to have his camera there, so he got a great shot of Michael and I together, along with other production stills.
That shot was later stolen from a party I had and I could never again reach the guy who took the picture. Bottom line was that in his pre-glove, black days which I believe ended with Thriller He was pretty cool.
Real gangs!? That doesn't seem too bright unless they were supposed to kill each other!
Actually, it was a controversial move that got them a lot of publicity at the
time. Remember, "Billy Jean" was not being aired on MTV, and it was
only just surfacing on MV3 at the time. Although he had previous notoriety,
he was not yet the superstar. IMHO, "Billy Jean" launched and
"Beat It" solidified his jump to superstardom, and
"Thriller" was a punctual response to the achievement. If you
have ever seen "Beat It" on popup videos, they got most of the behind
the scenes correct. One note - Michael DeLorenzo who went on to star in his own
series among other things, appeared in a very small role.
There is a very funny side story though that I have been tempted to submit, but never have. I had one other shot in the video which did not make the final edit. It is at the end of the video, when the gangs come in to a stand off in the warehouse. The camera moves along and stops on the leader. In every take, I was the guy standing next to the white gang leader, except one shot where some jerk pushed me out of the way and stood in my spot. Fighting with the guy during the take would not be professional, so I let it go. Wouldn't you know it, that was the take they used. Years later I was describing this to a director I was working with. I was producing and he was directing a video for Desiree Coleman. We were in the edit bay, and as we were waiting for dubs or something, "Beat It" came up. I told him I was in it, and he told me he was in it. I went on to describe the jerk who pushed me out of the way and he replied, " I think I was that jerk". Sure enough he was the jerk! BUT, that is not the best of it. This guys background was as an established choreographer working with the likes of Debbie Allen from the days of Fame . The video actually opens with or on him - he is the guy in green. A choreographer who became a director. Now watch the dance scene at the end... if you watch closely, in almost every shot, he is messing up the dance moves, going the wrong direction, not stopping right with everyone else, and so forth. All of this immortalized forever. I could see his embarrassment which was gratification enough for him having pushed me out of the way. Nevertheless, we became great friends.
Were you called back for Weird Al's Eat it?
No, only the main dancers.
Did you ever see Jackson again?
I worked on the first day of the Pepsi commercial where he got burned. They used paid talent on day one and got all the intimate shots, while putting out a radio invitation for day 2 and the big crowd shots. It was cool to work with him on a paid basis, but I declined to go and fight a crowd for free. Of course, it was day 2 when he got burned.
Did he remember you?
You know, there were only a few of us hired extras in "Beat It", while many on the Pepsi shoot. Ironically, I think both were by the same director, Bob Giraldi. Nevertheless, by the time of the Pepsi shoot, he reached superstar status, had the glove thing going on and everything else and security was pretty tight. I bet if I had the opportunity to ask him at the time, with reference to the Pompadour, he would have remembered, but now I don't believe he would.
Were you one of the football players checking the girls locker room in Dwight Twilley's Girls?
That was a long time ago... I don't recall interacting with the girls on that shoot as much as shoots - you know, the girls in those situations are usually trying to kiss up to the artist and the director at that point so that they get featured more prominently.
The thing that sticks out most to my recollection are 2 things...
1. I was able to bring on a friend of mine, Brian, as a fellow football player (I had many music influences growing up - rock until about 8th grade - then funk through high school - then New Wave after that). Long before Hip-Hop was cool and before white youth was nearly as accepting or embracing of black youth, I had gone to a school that bordered Compton and really got into black culture. I took that appreciation with me when I moved to Orange County, and developed some very good inter-racial friendships with some of the guys I went dancing with at the time. The point is that one of these special friends was the guy that appeared in the video with me, and we've long since lost touch. I miss him very much and that gives this video a special place in my heart.
2. Whereas the "Make Up / Wardrobe" team was trying to smear and smudge dirt onto other players to make it look like they had played... Brian and I just went out onto the field and did these crazy collisions into each other, then running and diving with our hands at our sides etc. in order to get that real look.
I do recall getting on well with Dwight, and actually going back to a party at his offices. They were right next to the "Sunset Grill", and of course, this was before the song made the tiny eatery famous. Anyway, I once had still pictures from the shoot, but those too have been long lost. They could be in storage, but buried deep.
Most of the video is in the locker room and shower including looking into
the girls lockers at one point. Dwight plays the coach.
Yes, I do remember that much - lol - I remember filming in the locker room, I remember Dwight being the "coach", I remember the jerseys as having been blue with white or silver lettering... I remember the girls...
What I get confused with is that we shot this at around the same time as when I was filming on "Private School" with Matthew Modine and Phoebe Cates. There were several of those 80s shower scene follow ups to Porky's. I don't think I was ever aloud to just hang out when they were shooting them, and mostly (Porky's is a good example) it is shot so that you don't ever see the guys and girls together on film, which means they shoot it separately and one isn't actually there for the other....
Therefore, it is hard to distinguish which shoots were which when it comes to the naked truth.
What other videos were in?
Wow, I'm not sure I could say. It was so long ago, and a lot of the videos were cheesy video tape shoots. I actually thought some of the effects in the KISS video were cheesy at the time. To me, the power and the movement during the early days of Music Videos was New Wave (or related - like Ska, etc), so I largely discounted other projects in my mind then and do not remember.
What did you do on Rockwell's Obscene Phone Caller?
I worked as a P.A. It was the most hours I ever worked - my longest day, and I was on the replacement crew. I put in a 32 hour day, with maybe a nap in there somewhere. We shot it at the now defunct Ambassador Hotel in L.A. - the place Robert Kennedy was shot. They just went on and on and started swapping crew out. I don't know if they had an air date deadline or what. I can remember napping in one of the rooms, and the blonde chick in there at the time. I was really fascinated and pre-occupied with the location - the history, architecture, the whole nine yards.
Why did this take so long? It was basically shot in the one hotel room with him answering the phone and doing his thing.
Dude, I couldn't tell you why it took so long. I have a faint recollection that there was creative conflict, or artist absence or something. Sometimes (I AM NOT SAYING THAT THIS WAS DEFINITIVELY ONE OF THOSE TIMES), Artists would just disappear and go off doing drugs. Back in the 80s, there were a lot of drugs around, and on long shoots, cocaine was a favorite for the crews (along with everyone else in the 80s).
What did you do on Miami Sound Machine's Bad Boy?
I also worked as a P.A, directed by D.J. Webster . The Coordinator (now famed
as having been an Executive Producer at the Music Video dominating Propaganda
Films and Michael Bay's producer) forgot to have the motor home
"emptied", and it was starting to fill up and stink up (the motor home
provides the crew bathroom). It was the second day of a 2 day shoot in downtown
L.A., overnight. I was young and didn't know much better. I offered to
"handle it"... and drove the motor home to a remote area, parking next
to a storm drain, opening the hood, putting on the flashers, and dumping at the
same time since cops never stop to help you if you look like you are broken
down. Anyway, I had no idea the severity of the violation, and would never do it
again. Gloria sure was cute though, and working next to her with that outfit had
my wheels spinning. I actually thought I had a green light to at least flirt
with her the way she looked at me once, but did not want to risk the
embarrassment of being wrong. I think the choreographer from this - Russell
something - went on to be well distinguished.
You were on The Unforgiven - I Hear The Call ?
It was directed by D.J. Webster and I worked as a P.A. We were working in a mocked up ghost town out in a rural area (ironically, close to where I live now). At one point, near one of the buildings, the producer, director, cameraman, the artist and a couple of other people along with myself were having a production meeting. As I was standing there, I could not walk away due to the content of the meeting, but I had to let one go... back in the day, I could clear a room - nasty diet. Anyway, I emitted a silent but deadly one, and about a minute later, the producer put a halt to the big production meeting declaring that there must be a dead animal decomposing under the wooden deck, and suggested we move across the street to finish the meeting. I about died from holding in the laughter.
For more about Kent check out http://members.lycos.co.uk/mv3vidz/
I was just 16 and my classmates mom was the makeup person on the shoot. We all (my 10th grade class) got to go over to Notre Dame high school in LA for the shoot on a Saturday. They asked that we wear preppie clothes. I ended up in the back row of the schoolroom wearing my topsiders and button down shirt. In the video the Bass player kicks open the back door and comes into the room in a cloud of dry ice smoke. I'm the kid who whips his head around when the door blows in. My big one second moment! Ha.
The makeup crew then dressed us all up as "rockers". Spiking our hair with gel and putting dog collars and stuff on us. As the teacher morphs into a "rocker chick" the kids change too. All I remember is jumping around and dancing a lot.
The video was shot at the old tire manufacturing plant on the side of the 5 freeway in L.A., it had been vacant for a long time. It has since been refurbished into a retail store of some kind I think. I had forgotten about the drum sticks on our helmets...LOL. It was a trip watching their crew produce the video, the smoke machines and watching the singer pretend to "play" the sax or whatever that was. She got pretty dramatic teasing us with the mouth piece. :-) I still have some photos taken at the video.
The drummer wrote the song and he seemed like the nicest guy in the whole band. He wrote it to his little sister or niece to try to convince her to not go full throttle as a teen. The video did jump start my desire to get into filmmaking. They picked my high school: San Rafael High School because it looked like a catholic school (it doesn't to me - but hey). The budget on the video was reportedly super low so they used any means to get a better video. The principal of the school was very enthusiastic about the video and probably didn't charge a proper location fee. There should be a POP-up video version made of the video someday...capping on Jack Blade, and where are they now etc.. (touring in Japan evidently!) Jack was super cheesy - him and the blond guitarist guy Jeff Watson were very full of themselves (pretty typical) but the drummer, Kelly Keagy, seemed cool which made me feel better about being a part of the video knowing it was his song. I was amazed it was #1 on MTV for so long. I hate (and love) when I hear that song played. It's so cheesy and I had to hear it OVER and over again during 'playback'. I hate it like I hate hearing Aerosmith's Janie's Got a Gun (another video I worked on and had to hear the playback too many times not to mention I had to cue card gal to Steve Tyler cause the song was new and David Fincher kept stopping takes every 5 seconds for one reason or another).
© 2003-08 Thrawn for Thrawn's Realm