Halfway through the shooting of the video for their new single "Re-Offender," members of the U.K. band Travis were at each other's throats.
In a huff, vocalist Fran Healy pushed bassist Dougie Payne, who responded by throttling the singer. Then punches flew. A few minutes later, the situation escalated as drummer Neil Primrose put Payne in a chokehold and then threw him on the ground. Then, director Anton Corbijn yelled, "Cut!"
Instead of making the video sobering and serious, Corbijn decided it might be better received if it were dark and quirky. So he decided to contrast shots of the bandmembers performing amicably onstage with scenes of them beating the crap out of one another. "Things just build and build until the very end," Healy said. "It's one of the most violent videos I've ever seen. Our faces are really battered by the end."
"Re-Offender" is a melancholy song about domestic abuse, and it includes the chorus, "Say you're sorry, then you do it again, you do it again." It may seem strange that a kooky video was shot for such a serious song, but for Healy the whimsy provided a bit of relief following the harsh memories that were triggered when he wrote the tune.
The first single from the band's album 12 Memories (out October 14), "Re-Offender" is based on a conversation the singer had with his mother about her abusive relationship with his father. As he worked on the lyrics, Healy expanded the theme to encompass other cases of domestic abuse.
"It's about a woman who's stuck in a brutal relationship and how she fools herself," Healy said. "Many people stay in domestic violent relationships because they're afraid of the unknown. They'd rather be beaten up than be in a world they don't know. I've worked with women who come in with black eyes and braces around their necks, and I say, 'Why do you stay with this guy? Why? Why?' And she says, 'Because I love him.' "
Healy is clearly contemptuous of anyone abusive to a loved one, however he feels part of the blame falls on society in general. He argued that it's hard to break the cycle of violence, which is why abused kids often end up abusing their own children.
"People say, 'Oh, it's all your fault' to the guy who's violent, but I don't believe in that," Healy said. "It's his fault for not breaking the chain, but I think it all goes back to war. My grandfather, who was violent, was a soldier and so was his father."
Not only does he feel that the military breeds violent behavior, he's convinced that anyone who endures combat situations has an extremely difficult time readjusting to everyday life.
"Guys at war have bullets flying over their heads and grenades going off," Healy explained. "Then they return to their little village where the little crickets are chirping at night, and they've got all of this anger and rage. They beat their kids up, they beat their wives. The kids grow up, the wives hit the kids, the kids grow up and they hit their kids and it passes on from generation to generation like an emotional parcel."