Jesse Hodges, formerly of the band Pterodactyl, produced this strange, soft and bleary music video for Spray Paint's invigorating sweat-jam, “Nose Whiskey,” using footage from his favorite episode of Unsolved Mysteries. I emailed him about his affinity for, “UM.”
How did you end up directing this video?
I've been close friends with the guys in Spray Paint for a really long time. George was the best man in my wedding and I in his. We also all used to play in another band called When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth together. I've been a fan of their new project since day one and their self titled debut for SS Records is fantastically transfixing. They've done a really great job at combing all these old No Wave type influences with a lot of other interests and making a new type of sound. It's harsh and repetitive but also extremely listenable and has tons of replay value. The creepy lyrics really sat well with the visual material I was working with. Needless to say I've listened to the record about 100 times now due to working on the video and I'm still not sick of it…which is crazy. When they sent me the record I knew right away that I wanted to make a Spray Paint music video and I think I stitched together something that sits well with their sound.
What's up with you and that one episode of Unsolved Mysteries?
My grandparents were really into shows like Unsolved Mysteries and Rescue 911. Whenever I would stay at their house for the weekend we would watch them before they put me to bed. UM, in particular, scared the shit of me and that feeling was exciting to me. To this day I still get goosebumps when I hear the ethereal swaying of the opening credits music and as it begins to gently recede into it's last notes, Robert Stack's booming voice stating “This program is about unsolved mysteries. Whenever possible, the actual family members and police officials have participated in recreating the events. What you are about to see is not a news broadcast.” The second half of that little speech Stack would give at the beginning of each episode is where my obsession germinated. After viewing countless hours of the show I came to love low budget reenactments. They allow the viewer to really throw themselves into the story without the narrative being compromised by a familiar face such as that of a movie star or seasoned character actor. It makes it more real. What makes UM even more realistic is that they used people who were a part of the actual story, when and if possible. This still really blows my mind. Some of these cases are about the murder of a loved one and to imagine choosing to relive that experience by playing yourself in a reenactment of the crime or situations leading up to sed mystery is almost impossible for me to fathom.
As much as I like UM in general…I'm particularly obsessed with the segment “Bad Chief” which accounts for 95% of footage used in the video for Spray Paint's “Nose Whiskey”. The “actor” who plays the villain Greg Webb is particularly amazing. There are multiple scenes where he overplays his guilt by doing weird things with his eyes. I've rewinded and rewatched these moments thousands of times over the years. You couldn't do this type of thing as a comedian and it be as effective humorously in a comedy. There is something about this guy's seriousness as an actor and how he overplays his role which accidentally elevates his performance into something of comic genius. The “actress” playing the victim, Ana Anton, also goes totally overboard and consistently overacts making any scene she is in overtly cartoonish. The woman playing Ana's best friend and the FBI agent are as you might have guessed it, playing themselves. They of course have a scene together which in itself is about as fucking bizarre as you can get although their portrayal of themselves isn't particuarly interesting.
Over the years I've found myself trying again and again to find a way to fit this segment into my art. When I was in the band Pterodactyl we named an EP after the town in Nebraska (Arnold's Park) where Ana Anton (the victim) met the man who would later killer her. The title track was of course my ode to the story. A little bit later I found myself wanting to recreate the whole reenactment much like what was done in the infamous Beaver Triology. I even had the idea of potentially seeking out the original actors involved in the UM reenactment to see if they would be interested in reprising their roles in a scene for scene remake. At one point the thought of contacting the real Greg Webb even crossed my mind. I'm glad I didn't though because he is a murderer. Luckily those opportunities to transform myself into a real post-meta-millennial creep never got past the idea stages though I'd be lying if I said they didn't excite me to some degree. In the end I drew the line at transforming the reenactment itself by making this video and putting this particular obsession to rest with a weird homage of sorts to both the segment and the show.
“She had it coming.”
Spray Paint's upcoming SXSW performance schedule:
14 @ Beerland – 5:25pm
15 @ Trailer Space – 3:45pm
16 @ Barbarella – 4:05pm
17 @ Hideout Theater – 11:30pm