VVV: JDiggz “Make It Hot”

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!

VVV: Third Eye Blind, “Semi-Charmed Life”

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.

VVV: OMD “Telegraph”

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

OMD’s best song had a Karmann Ghia in the video, but this isn’t a half-bad song. The great 12″ single cover was designed by Peter Saville and there’s evidence he was involved in the video; his secondhand futurism is echoed a bit, and his cover for their first album is used as a backdrop.

Check in next vednesday, when… we’ll have already forgotten that we promised to do this veekly!

Don’t Touch My Bikini

Matt and I keep finding videos for old favorite bands and songs that we didn’t even know had videos. And the Halo Benders’ (Calvin from Beat Happening and Doug from Built to Spill) “Don’t Touch my Bikini” even has a moped in it, so I have an excuse to post it here!

I ♥ K, and I ♥ grainy out-of-focus un-color-balanced Super 8. Makes me wanna put out a ‘zine again.

The Vespa Experiment

Vespanomics is in motion for the Vespa Experiment, in which three singer-songwriters are in the midst of a Vespa tour of California nightclubs and coffee bars. A solid idea, everyone loves acoustic folk peppered with pseudo-environmental PiaggioUSA talking points, until you hear raging bullshit like (take it away, Paolo!):

“If the 69% of Americans who own two or more cars would just switch one set of four wheels for two, the reduction in fuel consumption, emissions, congestion and cost would be significant – not years from now, but right now,”

So all we need to do is immediately and permanently change the transportation habits of a mere 69% of Americans? If only America’s 21 million 2-or-more-car households* bought a scooter (a Vespa, natch), we’d se a significant change?

Am I cynical? Am I a big hater? No. That’s just a ridiculous dream.

Piaggio sold 15 million Vespas worldwide between 1946 and 1996. VespaUSA bragged a few years ago that with new plants in Brazil and Asia, they could supply the American market with 1 million scooters a year, even that was a pipe dream, seeing as how the MIC reported that only 222,000 scooters were sold in the U.S. 2008, the best year for scooter sales in decades.

(Feel free to quote those numbers if you go to one of the shows.)

Also, here’s a bit more detail on Vespa’s Pandora music channels (is that ANOTHER ad agency?) and news that Vespa’s doing a promo tie-in with that sad new Da Vinci Code-prequel.

*The exact number here is arguable, but we’re probably being more conservative than Timoni. First, we’re assuming he’s talking about households, not individuals, it’s ludicrous to think 65% of Americans own two cars personally. We found stats citing 21 million multi-car households in the U.S in 2005, and went with that. If Timoni’s “69%” was applied to all US households (105.5 million in 2000), that would mean 72.5 million multi-car households. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and stick with 21 million rather than 72.5 million. Or! Maybe he meant “69% of the Americans” rather than “the 69% of Americans,” that would get him down to only 15 million scooters. The gist remains the same.

Melody Maker’s Mod revival revival revival.

melodymakermodAh, 1994. Back then I was going out to see bands three nights a week and spending $50 at the record store every night. I didn’t have a scooter yet, but I noticed the mod revival revival revival going on in Engerland and that (among other things) probably had some effect on my scanning the classifieds for old Vespas a year later. As a musicophile and anglophile since high school, I’ve certainly read my fair share of NMEs and Melody Makers, so when I came across Archived Music Press, it was heaven. Continue reading “Melody Maker’s Mod revival revival revival.”

Dealer Expo 2009, Part 2.5: Sorry, Chuck D.

“Public Enemy” “welcome to the terrordome” rap song lyrics

Lots more to cover, but here’s a little ditty while you’re waiting:

I got so much scooter on my mind
Newcastle Sign
“Michelle Rodriguez” on my ticket
Hear Phil Waters get wicked
My crew is few, we hype the Black Jack
Attack then we drank
and yacked, Then slapped the iMac
Now Im ready to post it
(you know I made up most of it)
Hear my favoritism roll, oh
OMG, is that Mattheu Solo?
TGB Lasers, scooters like Razors
Hallways to blaze, with brain and foot pain
The way Im livin, forgiven
What Im givin up
Ron on the Nikon, shoot this now
Where’s the party at later?
As for now I’m grillin at the Chinese pavillion
Man Ive had it up to here
CF Moto logos appear
Kymco’s a no-show,
saw P-town just a bit ago
never-ending show,
Adjust the white balance.
Work to keep from gettin jerked
Changin’ some ways
To way back in the 2-stroke days
Chinese hockey mask molds,
never mind the highway codes
Still thousands sold.
Never question what I am, Who knows?
Cause I’m comin from the bar
What I got better get some
(soft pretzels) master of scooter culture
hard-ridden
Been splashed in the face
But the helmet keeps fittin’
Eating nothing healthy, ranting with Chelsea
Seth and Dave and everyone elsee
Check the spec sheets
ripped a hole in my jeans knees
rolling on the ground, looking for a VIN please
Walked the halls, took the falls
Broke the laws
my Sambas are fallin
more or less square
Getting up there in years
Still. I growl at the plastic cowls
Thanking Christ Indiana’s not my home
So welcome to the Hooiserdome.

Chuck Mead’s scooterrific new video (is back!)

This might be the most scooterific video ever, and would you believe it’s a country song? Check out the new video from BR-549 frontman Chuck Mead: “I Wish It Was Friday,” featuring a Honda Cub, Vespas new and old, Genuine Buddys*, and more, plus lots of footage from East Side Scooters in Nashville.

As far as country songs about weekends, It’s hard to beat Robbie Fulks,’ but Robbie, sadly, doesn’t have a video full of scooters. I wandered into a BR-549 show at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge several years ago, and that alone made Nashville my favorite city south of the Ohio and east of the Mississipi. (Thanks to Louie from Modern Vespa for the link!)

UPDATE: It’s back on YouTube!, thanks to KymCoJones for his behind the scenes videos and keeping us up to date on the progress).

* “Buddies” just never looks right in print.

Originally posted 2/15/09, updated on 2/25/09 when video was re-posted on YouTube

Berryoke benefit tonight

Chicago’s best Karaoke, Berryoke, is doing a benefit tonight at Frank and Mary’s for Patrick O’Dea’s nephew who was seriously injured in a auto/bicycle incident. If you’ve always loved karaoke but hated the music selection, check it out, the Berrys have everything good. Sorry for the late notice, I always put off posting local events until they get closer, then forget about it until the last minute.

Chuck Mead: behind the scenes

We posted Chuck Mead’s great new video a few days ago, but it’s since been pulled from YouTube, The same YouTube link appears on Chuck’s MySpace page, so that’s strange, but being a big-shot music video director myself, I’m aware things don’t always happen the way you’d like, ha.

So we’ll get that re-linked ASAP, BUT! There’s good news! There are two other videos on YouTube with outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage from the video shoot, both of which are nearly as entertaining as the real video, especially because Chuck gets hassled by the Man in one of ’em. Check it:

Black Lungrophenia


Poor Black Lungs guy. First zombies, now this. If Quadrophenia filtered the ’60s through the ’70s, this video filters the ’60s through the ’70s through the ’80s through the ’90s on a Canadian indie-label budget. Can you believe there are people so young they think of Rancid as “old-school?” Nice (though repetitive) footage, though, and very sweet barn-fresh Vespas. And hey, it’s fun.
(Thanks, Zombie Bill, who sent it in a better player but I wanted to embed it, without ads.)