Top 5 Weirdest 80’s Music Videos of All Time w/ Chris Vasilas and Calvin Thomas

So Chris, Calvin and I got together some time ago and had a discussion on how odd some of the videos from the 80’s were. We came up with a list and… I made some executive decisions and vetos, but all in all this is what we came up with. To preface, we love the 80s as much as the next group of 90s kids but these are simply our observations.

5. Never Gonna Give You Up- Rich Astly

Between the very odd dance moves, the ginger with a distinct but oddly deep voice and the way too into the jams black dude behind the bar… This video 100% made the cut. It’s not nearly as odd as our top picks, but it definitely breaks the surface. Besides, the live video of his performance at The Roxy in 1987 definitely gave it another level of weird factor. We didn’t understand the lady in the mirror… but if you can give us insight or explanation… we’d love to hear it. That video is below.

4. Video Killed the Radio Star- The Buggles

Even though this video and song technically came out in 1979 its difficult to consider this song a song of the 70s. The moves and the way the guys are performing is reminiscent of the evil twins in the TV show Superjail. The keys player is even playing two sets of keys at one point looking dead ahead with no emotion. The two girls are acting like floozies (The blonde playing the part way more) and there’s an audience that looks about like they’re taking a lesson in school. I do love the sunglasses however.

3. Whip it- Devo

Now they have asked the video not be embedded, but you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIEVqFB4WUo

Now Devo is already impressively odd with the wardrobe… but add a whip and a western theme where a woman is having her clothes ripped apart in front of an audience as what I can only assume is the birth mother of Sloth from The Goonies… and have her feed the audience whipped cream for dinner… and have said woman with her clothes being ripped off move around like a busted android in the tunnel of love at the end of the video… and you have and incredibly weird Devo masterpiece.

2. The Safety Dance- Men Without Hats

I don’t think I have to say much about the song everyone assumed was the song about safe sex… just three things.

a. Angry man meets a happy midget… wait… little person.
b. That dance move though…
c. This video is probably directed by a homeless guy that went through one too many acid trips at Woodstock and has this very experience anytime he walks through the streets of New York.

1. Cars- Gary Numan

Embedding is also disabled for good reason… so check it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ldyx3KHOFXw

There is so much… this is so weird it’s just plain creepy. From the fact that it’s reminiscent of making videos on the computer in 8th grade, to the fact that there isn’t a single car in the video. Gary Numan also looks like an alien abducted Jamie Lee Curtis’s brother… so there’s that. When you then put Jamie Lee Curtis’s alien abducted brother in a tambourine, then pretending to drive a car on a keyboard, and finally the creepiest part… turning his head and having it appear on the other side of the screen… You have the weirdest and maybe most horrifying video of all of the 80’s.

Some honorable mentions.

I Ran- A Flock of Seagulls
Superfreak- Rick James
The Way You Make Me Feel- Michael Jackson (He is white here Chris…)
Love Song- The Cure

Did we miss any videos? What would you suggest? What is your nightmare of an 80’s music video? Let us know and we’ll be compiling those up at the end of the month for our Top 5 Readers Videos.

Hope you enjoyed! Next week we have the Most Popular 80’s videos. See you then.

-Mike

Local Notes: The Capitol Heights- Spec, Virginia

 1. What was behind the thoughts of the lyrics to this song? Any life experiences or back stories?

The lyrics were inspired by an article we read on dcist.com about an abandoned iron mine in Spec, VA (article here). We used the idea of an iron working town as the foundation of a fictional story of a miner trying to win the heart of a girl while the mine is on the verge of depletion. It is apparent through the song that the man is in some state of delusion or denial, but he insists on trying to marry the girl – Analien – under the guise that he will be able to work through the troubled times and provide a life for the couple. The song gives an obvious dark – sad sound and theme in the lyrics – but we tried to give it an uplifting undertone to underscore the man’s separation from the reality the mine, and town, does not have a future. The song can also be interpreted as a simple love proclamation, but the deeper you dig, you see it plays on the sad history of these towns built around the success and failure of a mine.

2. How did you come up with the harmonies that seem to come and go in the song? Why place them where they are and not throughout the whole song?

The harmonies are mainly built around the melody and were placed in order to make the song more dynamic. There are certain areas of the song where we decided to not have a harmony (i.e. the opening and the beginning of the bridge) to give the impression it is the man giving his proposition by himself.

3. Artists often feel they are giving vibes from musicians they appreciate. Did you guys feel like you were channeling anyone when writing and playing this song?

We definitely had a few inspirations in terms of artists. Admittedly – we were listening to a lot of Sufjan Stevens (Carrie and Lowell) and Iron and Wine (Our Endless Numbered Days) and I think that shows in the feel of the song. We were able to give it our own flavor with the topic, timbre of our vocals and harmonies, and instrumentation.

Check out Josh and Kenny at their…

1. Website!

2. Soundcloud

3. Facebook

4. Twitter

What’s on the L.O.W.?!: Scott Siskind – Vinny Vegas

In this edition of What’s on the L.O.W.?! I reconnected with an amazing musician and graphic designer Scott Siskind.

Vinny Vegas – Audiotree Live from Audiotree Live on Vimeo.


Scott not only founded the group but also makes fantastic music with them. They have performed all over the nation and also have a few tours under their belts.We’ve been fans for years now and have continued to keep up with their work since we had performed with them as The Offset years ago.

This time around Scott and I discussed their music, their love of performing, their favorite tracks from their latest record “The Big White Whale” and how life, friends, and loved ones have affected their music. The Moose cover and font scheme for the group was done by Erin Ellis and the Big Blue Whale, The Treehouse and the Blue Tunnel were all done by Michael Miller. Check into their work, maybe you’ll get some work done by them soon for your next album!

 
An2S: What are the roots of Vinny Vegas? When did you guys get started? What brought you all together?

Scott: The band started with Jason Cohen and I back in 2007. We began no differently than a lot of bands in that we would just go down to the basement and jam for hours. I had a few song ideas I was trying to put a full band together for, and once we formed a full lineup, we all began writing together.

 

An2S: How do you decide on the cities to visit when you go on tour? Which has been your favorite to play so far?

Scott: Well, when we first started traveling and playing, we would mostly just go to where ever we wanted to visit that was close enough to get to in a few days off of work. In time, we started building small followings and sort of built a little circuit for ourselves. Mostly these days, we honestly just try to keep coming back to the places we know people and can have the best time at shows with friends we don’t get to see often.

An2S: What’s your favorite song to perform from your latest album “The Big White Whale”? and Which is your favorite to listen to?

Scott: I think if you ask most members of the band, you will get the answer of “Highs and Lows” as our favorite song to perform live. As far as my favorite song to listen to, I think it’s probably a tie between Sleeping Cliffs, and Taste of Your Own Tongue.

 

An2S: Where do you guys draw inspiration to write and perform the music you do?

Scott: I could list about a thousand bands and musicians here as influences. But honestly, for me at this point, the inspiration comes from life I would say more than anything. After doing this thing for the past 8 years and getting to experience the things I’ve gotten to with these guys(both good and bad), I find myself very grateful to just have this artistic expression in my life, and it’s really opened me up to putting my best effort into creating good, honest music.

 

  

An2S: What can we expect next from Vinny Vegas?

Scott: We’re really focused on writing at the moment, and are working on a new record.

 

Check out Scott’s stuff with Vinny Vegas at http://vinnyvegasmusic.com/ and be sure to pick up their latest, The Big White Whale.

What’s on the L.O.W.?! – Chris Carrigan of The Fem Doms

This week on What’s on the L.O.W.?! We’re showcasing local band The Fem Doms.

I got in touch with old buddy band mate and friend Chris Carrigan formerly of Carbon Copy and Spanish Noir to discuss life on the road, his most recent album with the group and how they got started.

In their latest album The Fem Doms play seven tracks that are sure to have you head banging and moshing with your favorite pet alone in your living room for a solid half an hour. Chris’s vocals are reminiscent of Robert Plant at times but you can occasionally get the same old feel of Rob Thomas coming in that he always seemed to have from the start. The rhythms have the distinct vibe that NOVA produces as you can hear the Foo Fighters basis around it while there are also hints of the obvious Zepplin and Cage the Elephant. The Fem Doms have really worked toward and created a sound truly original and distinct and they’ve definitely made a fan out of me!

Check out the interview with Chris below. They are currently touring and are planning on releasing a new album very soon. Be sure to hit them up for the album when they come to a town near you!

What’s on the L.O.W.?! – Phil Spiess of Two Canadians

Recently I had the pleasure of doing an interview with a friend and fellow musician, Phil Spiess. We met when Burd and I played a show back when lots of things were different. Empire was open and was not Empire but Jaxx, Two Canadians was not Two Canadians but Union Street, and A Note Two Self was not that but The Offset. We ended up playing music with them quite a bit through the years and formed a pretty solid friendship with all of the musicians. You can check out Phil’s recent works with another member of Union Street, Joe, up above.

Their music really reminds me of old school gritty but meaningful good old fashioned rock n’ roll. With hints of The Doors and Bob Dylan the Two Canadians have found an equation that mixes grungy sounding guitars with profound and beautiful lyrics.

To start, a bio….Phil Profile

Philip Spiess has worked as a live sound and recording engineer since 2005, beginning with the Marine Corps Band, Air Force Band, Navy Band, and as the head sound engineer for Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Philip has worked and understudied with Jim Bienemann and Mike Atherton at Common Ground on the Hill since his arrival in 2006, mixing sound on various festival stages since 2009. He has done sound mixing and engineering for Taylor Swift, Carbon Leaf, State Radio, Red Jump Suit Apparatus, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Sierra Hull, Tony Trischka, and Walt Michael and Company. Currently he is a fire fighter in Woodbridge, Virginia, and is recording his first solo album.

Phil opted for the written interview. I shot him a message on Facebook and the questions began! On a Table
An2S: So Phil, What got you guys started on this project?
Phil: I started writing and working in various bands and I wanted something that was my own.  I felt acoustic left it the most raw and most open to personal interaction with the people I was playing for and found it more fun for everyone. Right now it’s just me playing as me so Joe isn’t with me anymore, he’s currently serving in the Marine Corp.
An2S: What influences… artists, life, anything… gives you the drive to continue making the music you do?
Phil: The biggest influences are actually my friends who are doing it professionally, Josh Hisle, Dan Collins, and poet Blaine Martin. I’ve worked a lot with them and toured with Dan and Josh. We met at Gettin' DownCommon Ground on the hill and they have taken me under their wings in the business.
An2S: What do you like more? Performing live for an audience, or working it behind the scenes?
Phil: Doing audio work vs performing… I love both. You can’t really compare them or put them up against each other. It’s two completely different disciplines and mind sets.
An2S: I really dig the song Boston Harbor. What is the premise and some of the meanings behind the words?
Phil: Boston harbor is an old song haha. I don’t really write happy music. It’s about being in love with someone but you never know if they Banjolove you or the idea of you until obviously it’s too late and your hearts broken. If you think it’s normally the way it really is.

An2S: How long have you an Joe been playing together and when can we expect more music from the two of you?

Phil: Me and Joe played together in high school and through part of college. We split up back in 2011 so until he gets out of the military probably no bass lines from Joe sadly.
It was great being able to interview Phil and revisit the music I first heard years ago with The Offset.To find more from Phil Spiess and Two Canadians check out their stuff on ReverbNation.
Stay tuned for next weeks What’s on the L.O.W.?! When I interview Chris Carrigan of The Fem Doms and showcase their album Thump.