So I’m taking my lunch and I’m reading this weeks Rolling Stone (the one about the Rolling Stone / MTV 100 greatest pop songs) and I come across Dave Grohl’s personal Top 5 and right there in between the Beatles and The Pixies is Tears For Fears? “Head Over Heels.” His comment was “The video’s the best: The bizarre-looking New Wave guy has a crush on the librarian, and it pans out.”
Wow! The whole Head Over Heels shoot was a big trial for me, so much was going on and I was always a bit disappointed by the result but I guess Dave liked it.
The video was shot in Toronto but the truth is we shouldn’t have been there at all. TFF had been having hits in Europe for ages but they meant virtually nothing in the US apart from California. I’d already shot the “Shout” and “Everybody Want To Rule The World” videos and was supposed to shoot a live concert with them at the Hammersmith Odeon when Roland pulled the gig at the last moment with a throat infection. They were in the middle of a massive tour and the only way to pick up the shoot was to fly with them to Toronto and shoot some gigs they had planned at the Massey Hall. Then some genius said “Why don’t you shoot the video for Head Over Heels” at the same time!
The idea, as always, was Roland’s and I was very skeptical about pulling it off – his feelings about everything were so strong and vivid and mine were always so polite and English. He had vision, I had excuses. At this time I was not only directing but producing too. To complicate matters I was also the record company client and while we were in Canada I had someone shooting Dexy’s Midnight Runners for me in New York and Dominic Senna and Greg Gold (later to become my partners at Propaganda) shooting Vitamin Z for me in Istanbul. By the time I’d found a chimp (Zippy came from across the border and was the most expensive element in the video), argued with Roland about who the girl should be (Roland won), I realized that we were shooting the video during the day and shooting the live concert (my first ever multi-camera shoot) at night. I even found time to fit in a cameo: I’m one of the three string players. The other two are the wonderful Sean Ryerson (my co-producer) and Steve Surjick (the art director who later went on to direct Wayne’s World 2). Then the phone rang and the guys found out Everybody Wants To Rule The World had gone to number one in the States. A rush for all of us.
One evening the stress was so much I slipped away and sat on the fire escape behind the Massey Hall to chill out. I felt as if my head was going to split in two, I couldn’t deal with anything. That’s when the Much Music Video crew found me and I did my first ever on-camera interview. They used some of it in the 2gether Opening Montage back in February and did I look shagged out or what?
I was not happy with the footage when we got home and hated the four-leaf clover animation but despite it all Dave Grohl loved the video. So now I’m wondering what him and Kurt and Chris were doing at the point that the video was first getting played.
So I’m going to return the favour. What’s my Top 5 (like anyone gives a turd)?
- Overnight Sensation – The Raspberries
- All Right Now – Free
- Twist And Shout – The Beatles
- Don’t Dream It’s Over – Crowded House
- Learn To Fly – Foo Fighters