Back in “the day,” we used to post music videos featuring scooters on ”Vespa Video Vednesdays,” and just the other day Matty sent me one so good that I decided to revive it next time a Wednesday rolled around. But that one is in the hopper. In the meantime, i want to share a story that came to mind today, even though it’s Monday: Continue reading “VVV: Your Wildest Dreams”
Even though Bryan has his weekly VVV where he showcases a scooter centric videos each and every week, I had to share this new video from The Lions. The Lions feature members from Hepcat and a few other LA area bands and the video for their new single features some nice Vespa/Lambretta footage. Notice that only the Vespa riders receive credit at the end.
It’s been a while since Vespa Video Vednesday, unless you count last week, and let’s not. Here’s another good one from David Smith’s big list:
Generally I like to go on at great length about these, but it’s five minutes to Thursday and I have a lot of American Scooterist work to do still. More importantly, I don’t know jack about these guys aside from what I see on their Myspace page. They’re English, they’ve been plugging away at it since 2005, and this video is from circa 2008. The video’s got a good chunk of joyful P-series Vespa riding footage shot with a secret prototype Holga Super-8 camera and cross-processed for a nice vintage look.
A couple hours left for a Vespa Video Vednesday, so here’s a quickie musical Interlude with scooters: The Spades (featuring Roky Erickson) doing We Sell Soul, featuring a nice slideshow of mod scooters. No one could be less mod than Roky Erickson, but it works. I’m DJing at Slaughterhouse, maybe this song will get me cut off so I can get to the bar faster.
It’s been a while, but Vespa Vthursday VIdeo is back. Today we appropriately honor one of Haiti’s greatest exports, Wyclef Jean, with an entirely inappropriate song, given the circumstances. In 1998, Jean covered Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” with help from Fugees bandmate Pras, Free and Canibus. The song was produced for the Small Soldiers soundtrack, but thankfully they ignored the film and brought in uberdirector Michel Gondry. It goes a little something like this…
Artist: Wyclef Jean feat. Pras Michel, Canibus, and Free Song: “Another One Bites the Dust” Album:Small Soldiers film soundtrack (1998) Scooter(s): Vespa P-series Scooter content: 5 seconds Jump to the good parts: 1:33 to 1:38
The original Queen 45 was in constant rotation on my Fisher-Price record player and at #1 on the Q102 top ten for weeks, until “I Love Rock and Roll” came out and changed everything, forever. I’m sticking to that story even though I just checked Wikipedia and the songs came out 20 months apart. It was Cincinnati, time means nothing there, as the XYLs will tell you.
This version, like many cover versions, seems entirely unnecessary, but it’s not bad. The song’s not Wyclef’s best work, but it’s allright. The video’s not Gondry’s best work, and certainly not his most original concept, but it’s suitably weird, fun, and full of Gondry-style camera tricks, gimmicks, and visual puns. And best of all, it’s got nothing to do with the film it’s promoting, preventing the typical “Who’s Johnny”-type debacle.
As far as scooter content, not too great, but they can’t all be, right? After the remote-control olive-green Vespa P-series is introduced for a few seconds at 1:33, I expected it to come back and save the day later, but oh well, it’s still a pretty good video, and the vintage Mini makes up for it.
So yeah, Haiti. This is what passes for a tribute on 2strokebuzz. I’ll go donate some money now.
Artist: David Bowie Song: “That’s Motivation” Album:Absolute Beginners film soundtrack (1986) Scooter(s): Vespa GS Scooter content: 20 seconds Jump to the good parts: 3:56 to end
There’s not much to add to last week’s rant about “Absolute Beginners,” the musical. Great book, sort-of-embarassing film. As much as I love Bowie, his performance (or is it his character, Vendice Partners?) is a bit stilted and creepy. His Busby-Berkeley-inspired paean to advertising was probably meant to be the film’s centerpiece, but as far as overblown showtune production pieces go, Ray Davies’ Music-Hall romp “Quiet Life” steals the show and somehow seems to fit the story better. And Edward Tudor-Pole’s “song” isn’t on YouTube, but there’s a Vespa billboard in the background. If all this makes you want to see the film, I’m doing it wrong. OK, fine, it’s a guilty pleasure. But the book is a must!
But hey, back to the point, there’s a scooter in Bowie’s number. And it’s not really so bad as I remembered it. And another VVV is written and posted, on an actual Vednesday. That’s Motivation!
Did we just post two videos? and did we just miss two weeks of Vespa Video Vednesday? Never fear, we didn’t forget you. Today we have another clip from David’s list that just so happens to be one of my favorite songs:
Artist: David Bowie Song: “Absolute Beginners” Album:Absolute Beginners film soundtrack (1986) Scooter(s): Vespa GS Scooter content: 5 seconds Jump to the good parts: 2:19, 2:22, 2:36
David Bowie, of course, is a genius. As Jon Langford would put it, he’s the “Chameleon of Rock.” And Colin MacInnes’ Absolute Beginners, is definitely one of my favorite books. So what could be better than a film version directed by Great Rock and Roll Swindle director Julien Temple, featuring David Bowie AND Ray Davies (AND Edward Tudor-Pole)!?
Well, the film turned out to be nothing but a marginally entertaining (at best) musical (no!) love story that nearly ignored the book’s rich drama of gentrification, race relations, and the rise of the English teenager. The Fifties setting was overwhelmed by the Eighties set design, and today it looks dated and campy. The soundtrack holds up a little better, featuring songs from Jerry Dammers (of the Specials), the Style Council*, and rare proof that Sade was a promising talent back when she had a last name. Even Ray Davies’ subtle nostalgic song is pretty good. But the gem was this David Bowie track.
Julien Temple directed Bowie’s epic “Jazzin’ for Blue Jean” video in 1984, and Bowie was chosen to appear in the film as shady advertising magnate Vendice Partners. The single was recorded in June 1985 but delayed to wait for the film’s release. The video is nothing special, a Duran Duran-inspired parody of British “Strand” cigarette commercials with awkwardly-chromakeyed film footage worked in. The scooter footage is minimal, and all from the film (a Vespa GS graces the soundtrack album cover and makes a few appearances in the film).
But, oh, the song is so great. It strikes me as the anti-“Uptown Girl,” showing Billy Joel that Eighties arena pop could actually be fused with doo-wop without disastrous results, and thus proving David Bowie is actually capable of anything. The lyrics are beautifully vague and can make me cry if I’ve had a couple beers and I pretend it’s about whatever dramatic situation is troubling me at the moment. Even the obligatory Eighties sax solo is magnificent. It’s perhaps a bit long, though it’s available in several remixes of varying lengths across CD, CD3(!) LP, 7″, 12″ releases. The film was massively hyped before release, then panned by critics and fans, but the single reached #2 in England and nearly cracked the top 50 in the U.S.
There, it’s ten minutes until midnight, and VVV lives. All that for five seconds of secondhand scooter footage. See you next Vednesday.
*Speaking of Paul Weller, The Jam’s “Absolute Beginners,” (#4 UK charts in 1981) is surely also inspired (though equally subtly) by MacInnes’ book. It’s really a must-read novel, and in this age of remakes and re-hashed ideas, hopefully another filmmaker has a go at it, but it’s going to be hard to top the two great songs it’s already inspired.
Rancid: A little ska, a lot of punk, almost cartoonish machismo, it’s no wonder they’re a scooterist favorite. And it doesn’t hurt that their videos are loaded with scooters. Welcome to a triple-play Vespa Video Vednesday.
Artist: Rancid Song: “Salvation” Album:Let’s Go (1994) Scooter(s): Several vintage Vespas and Lambrettas Scooter content: about 15 seconds Jump to the good parts: 1:22, 2:08
After a few weeks of VVV, we start to see a pattern develop: when you need some subbacultcha cred, just call the local club and have ’em show up for the video shoot. In this case (my favorite Rancid song, if you care), the boys are on the run from the suits, and they get chased through an alley full of scooters, which later join in the chase. Good footage, the scooters dont’ seem too extraneous, and it’s a good song. I bet this video sent a lot of punker kids to the classifieds looking for scooters.
VVV listmaster David Smith says there’s a scooter in the video for Rancid’s biggest hit, Time Bomb, but I’m not seeing it. Maybe at 1:16? (Sorry, can’t embed that video. Amazingly, the YouTube videos linked from Rancid’s site were removed by their label, and some of the ones that remain have embedding blocked)
Artist: Rancid Song: “Red Hot Moon” Album:Indestructible (2003) Scooter(s): 4 vintage Vespas Scooter content: 3 seconds Jump to the good parts: 0:00
Rancid hasn’t gone away, they pop up with a new album every few years (the latest came out a couple months ago). This video is for a lesser known track from 2003, but it’s a good one. It appears to be shot in and around the historic New York City club CBGB (which sadly closed last year), and the opening shots feature a group of mods and rockers parked in front of the club. From there, the video goes all over the place, with some live footage, and a couple different storylines, and we don’t see the scooters again, but if David’s right (I’m sure the comments will be full of people telling me how blind I am), that makes three videos with scooters from one well-known and famously uncompromising band, two of them fairly big hits. That’s going to be hard to top.
Velcome! It’s Vednesday, and here’s your Video: today we’ve got another of the dozens of videos on David Smith’s list that I’d never seen. Les Breastfeeders from Montreal:
Artist: Les Breastfeeders Song: “Mini Jupe et Watusi” Album:Déjeuner Sur l’herbe (2004) Scooter(s): ’60s Vespa (VBB?) Scooter content: about 30 seconds Jump to the good parts: throughout
For the second week in a row, we milk Canada (or should I say MuchMusic) for a VVV, and while JDiggz’ video was fun, this one is even more fun, and the song is way more up our alley. Les Breastfeeders have been around for a few years, mixing up a garage rock sound with power pop and a hint of classic Yé Yé that Stereo Total stole from Serge Gainsbourg and Françoise Hardy. Which, hell, how can you not love that combo? They top it off with an undead tambourine player named Johnny Maldoror, who I’m guessing is the Quebecois version of Bez out of Happy Mondays, or the weird old guy in Arrested Development (not Jeffery Tambor, I’m talking about the band!).
In this particular effort, they tie together a song honoring the mini skirt and Watusi with a slick video featuring a Godfather-style gangster plot. Les Breastfeeders’ bassist Suzie McLelove appears on a white Mod Vespa throughout the frenetic video, and delivers the hit weapon and facilitates the getaway. This is the best video/song combo to grace VVV yet, and I’m having a hard time seeing it going anywhere but downhill from here. I’m definitely going to be tracking down some more music from these guys and putting VIna’s nearly-useless bachelors’ degree in French to the test.
Thanks to everyone who’s been sending in videos! David’s list contains enough to last a couple years of Vednesdays, but keep ’em coming! Hard to believe there are so many!
Vespa Video Vednesday is back, on an actual Vednesday! Here’s a good one that I think ten people sent me two years ago when it was new and I never even watched until I saw it on David Smith’s master list that inspired this enterprise:
Artist: JDiggz Song: “Make It Hot” Album:Memoirs of a Playbwoy (2007) Scooter(s): Series 1 Lambretta, Vespa P-series Scooter content: about 30 seconds Jump to the good parts: 1:11, 1:42, 4:08
Canadian rapper JDiggz’ tune doesn’t do much for me, but it’s at least innocuous. The fact that the video is so totally incongruous to the song kinda makes it better, and the fact that they steered clear of the obvious gang-war motif buys them some points, too. It’s very nicely shot, and fun. JDiggz looks totally slick, and his posse of mods and hot-pantsed bootie chicks is somehow funny and believable.
The La Dolce Vita-esque intro is funny, but doesn’t really fit with the Quadrophenia thing. Though it appears to be a TV175, the Series-1 Lambretta predates the mods-and-rockers era, and the P-series Vespa is even more out of place. Of course JDiggz fans could care less about that. It’s obviously shot in Toronto on a leftover Jackie Chan movie set, which doesn’t really evoke London or Brighton, but JDiggz looks just about as wobbly and uncomfortable on a scooter as Phil Daniels.
Remember that time we had an idea for a regular feature and only kept it up for three weeks? Check back next week and see if we can break our record!
So we’re back with the second installment of Vespa Video Vednesday, only a couple days late, and this time we’ll choose a video at random from David Smith’s list… Ah, crap, not this one…
Band: Third Eye Blind Song: “Semi-Charmed Life” Album:Third Eye Blind (1997) Scooter(s): Many vintage Vespas and Lambrettas Scooter content: 30-40 seconds Jump to the good parts: all over the place
This is the sound of late-nineties douchebaggery, the sound of Spin-Doctors-wannabees stomping on Kurt Cobain’s grave throughout the second half of the decade. To be honest, it’s not a terrible song, it’s catchy enough, but its oversaturation in commercials, movies, shitty parties, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch was more than enough to make these guys rich, and they probably hate the song more than I do. It’s such a chick flick cliche that even chick flicks make fun of it now.
I didn’t have a TV for the second half of the nineties, so I never saw this video until a few years ago. I don’t imagine I would have cut the song a break even knowing about the scads of sweet vintage scooters in the promo clip. If you turn down the sound, and you aren’t prone to seziures from the EXTREME! NINETIES! ONE! SECOND! EDITS!, there’s a lot to see here. Clearly they rounded up a So-Cal club at the height of the vintage glory days (Burgundy Topz? Secret Society? someone will post an angry comment and tell us, I’m sure) and you can see in the scooterist’s faces, they’re hoping the song doesn’t catch on and immortalize the two afternoons they spent hanging out with these guys.
Check in next vednesday! Ve promise it vill be better.
Every few years, our old friend David Smith, a Chicagoan living in Japan, gets in touch, and it’s always something good. This time he sent me a list of about 100 music videos featuring scooters. Some are obvious, and some are obscure, even in Japan. Some feature dozens of scooters throughout the video, some just flash one on the screen in the background for a few seconds.
So that (and Matt’s Halo Benders find) gave me the idea to try another weekly feature on 2strokebuzz: Vespa Video Vednesday (pronounce it like Count Floyd). Every week (or two) we’ll feature (steal) a video featuring a scooter. Goodtimes! Right?
Let’s kick off with a video that’s not on David’s list, that I posted a while back: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark’s “Telegraph.” With no further ado:
Band: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark Song: “Telegraph” Album: Dazzle Ships (1982) Scooter(s): 3 red Vespa 50 Specials Scooter content: 5 seconds Jump to the good parts: 0:42, 1:00