Tales from MVT is a regularly-occurring series of blog posts where I choose one of the videos from our Music Video Theatre sessions and write about it. Music Video Theatre has become one of the most fun and enriching experiences of my current life, and for a multitude of reasons, has sparked abundant creativity. It serves as the inspiration for this series of silly little blog posts.
Artist: RED FANG
Director: Whitey McConnaughy
Appeared in: MVT Vol. 8
Chosen by: Jeff
If you ever choose to go down the RED FANG music video rabbit hole (and I highly suggest that you do), the aesthetic doesn’t much stray but within one standard deviation of its base mood. Sonically, RED FANG makes sludgy, driving, riff-heavy, hard rock music that feels like if trees in the Pacific Northwest could express their exhaustion and frustration with the constant rain through the magic of heavily distorted guitar. Visually, RED FANG is four bearded, dirtbag dudes who you could tell me are 29 or 49, and I’d believe you either way without asking any follow up questions. If you’ve spent literally any time in and around your city’s rock clubs, you’ve seen these dudes or their analogs without even trying.
So, calibrate your own tolerance and enthusiasm for watching large men drink copious amounts of PBR buttressed by various and assorted low-rent immature shenanigans, and proceed accordingly down the aforementioned rabbit hole.
But if you have space in your life for only one RED FANG video, make it “Wires.”
Jeff is known for a handful of recurring motifs in his MVT selections, as we all are. There’s playful horndog Jeff, like in Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction.” There’s impossible-to-describe animation enthusiast Jeff, like in Blockhead’s “The Music Scene” (whose top comment reads: “Who has the brain and the hands to animate something like that?”). And there’s Destructo-Jeff! Like in this video!
The video opens with a member of RED FANG approaching his house holding a red gas can. He picks up the mail, enters the living room, hands the gas can to a fellow bandmate who gets right to work assembling Molotov cocktails while he shuffles through a stack of overdue bills. At the bottom of that mail pile is a $5,000 check from their record label for their music video shoot.
And buddy… here’s where the video goes from good to great. They drive straight to a convenience store and load up on junk food where the clerk (played by Brian Posehn) encourages them to “enjoy their diarrhea.” Then it’s off to a sketchy check-cashing place where they walk out with a fat gangster’s roll of moolah, buy some piece of shit car for $685 which they modify with a giant welded cowcatcher on the front, and land at the grocery store to buy… 80 gallons of milk?!
But HOO BOY, then it’s off to an airport runway where they dutifully set up the milk and DRIVE STRAIGHT THE FUCK THROUGH IT. YES!!!!!!!! MILK APOCALYPSE! DESTRUCTION! My inner Beavis is thrilled! You can guess where it goes from here, and yes, it’s just as satisfying as you’re hoping, which makes this an exquisite Roland Barthes approved expression of form.
Mannequins, a platform of watermelons, a champagne tower, an ornate china cabinet, a stack of energy drink cans, a pyramid of old CRT televisions, a pinball machine and tons more stuff meet their doom by getting run the fuck over in an orgiastic bacchanal of juvenile destruction, all while a chyron at the bottom alerts us to their ever-dwindling remaining budget. Inside of each of us is a bored 14 year-old dying to get out and just wreck some shit, and this video is its purest manifestation. The video ends with them buying a $14 Zippo lighter, blazing up a cigarette and torching the car.
I suppose one could say they wasted $5,000 in the stupidest way possible, but that’s inaccurate. If I took five grand and spent it exactly this way, I’d probably count it as one the greatest days of my entire life. The fuck am I talking about “probably?”
It bears mention that independent of Jeff selecting this video, Jason chose blink-182’s “The Rock Show” for the very same list, which has a similar storyline, but with a budget far exceeding $5,000. Blink’s version has its undeniable charms, and the hive mind that caused the two of them to choose simultaneously videos with similar conceits makes my heart swell, but I vastly prefer RED FANG’s version here. It’s got a certain dirtbag charm whereas seeing blink perform inside a bank’s safety deposit box area reeks of manufactured corporate subversion.
I think a lot about what makes a music video great. Sometimes it’s an absolutely unhinged performance by a solo actress. Sometimes it’s cool high concept shit like “what if classic paintings were made to lip sync to this pop song?” And sometimes it’s just some dirtbags getting drunk (presumably) and running a bunch of stuff over with a beater car.
See, I never know what’s coming, or sometimes what I’m even gonna choose, and that’s what makes MVT such a fun goddamn time.