Monday, December 08, 2008


If a musical act or artist is good (or lucky) they get to stick around long enough to have a lengthy and profitable career. If they are really good (or extra lucky) they might stick around so long they don’t want to be in their own videos any more.

This post is about the game of ‘hide a band’ that certain videos play. Squirreling away the artist in the deep background (or out of the clip all together) because their looks no longer appeal to the demographic is a tried and true technique.

Let’s be clear. I am NOT talking about the kind of (often indie/alt/dance) artists that never appear in their own videos. I am also not talking about a creative concept that is based around not showing the performance (Smack My Bitch Up) – especially if the artist has other clips that do feature them prominently (Firestarter).

I am also NOT talking about the director that often chooses to use flaming people or dancing Oscar Winners. This ‘no star on screen’ idea goes way back (Queen) – and can often make for highly effective clips. I am also not talking about putting supermodels or Fletch in your video as surrogates, none of these videos mentioned above really seem to qualify as band hiding.

The phenomenon I am talking about is an artist who has been front and center in their videos, but then – as age and the rock and roll lifestyle take their toll – they step aside to let a younger face carry the day. Hide-a-band is actually easiest to recognize when you look for a clip that the artist/band is in, but their performance is pushed to the margins. The artist is there, but like a magician’s assistant – wouldn’t you really rather look at someone pretty?

The past masters of this genre are clearly Aerosmith. With their dueling Silverstone videos for ‘Cryin’ and ‘Crazy’ – the band was able to keep the parking lots rocking by giving the MTV viewers some age appropriate eye candy to distract them from the parent-aged musicians who actually made the songs. Aerosmith was IN these videos, but the focus was definitely moved over to someone or something else.

Bon Jovi used this approach with ‘It’s My Life’ where the video spends most of its time with a teen-friendly protagonist fighting his way towards the band’s performance. The New Jersey rockers are definitely in the clip – but there are plenty of stunts performed by a teen to make viewers think of their own, obstacle plagued adolescence rather that marveling at ‘What the f&*% happened to the guitarist’s face?!?

Mick gave us Shannyn Sossamon, Lenny Kravitz and some nausea inducing body-mounted cameras so we wouldn’t notice that he was not with the rest of the Stones.

Elton John even had a young and sexy Timberlake play Elton John, well before he got the gigs box dicking and jizz mopping.

There must be more. I keep thinking there was a late-period George Michael clip like this. Send any suggestions along while I hide my ancient visage over here behind some parkour guys or hipster skateboarders.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

That would be "Too Funky"
And there's that Jon Spencer Blues Explosion video where the band is played by actors. I forget the name of it, but Winona Ryder does a mean Jon Spencer.
This comment has been removed by the author.
george michael 'freedom' by david fincher
DM and Patrick Daughters are in on the “band cameo” idea:

Love the blog.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?