Lenny Kravitz Insists Decadent New Video Is Actually Anti-Decadence

Goal was to depict a lifestyle where rocker's 'soul isn't being nourished.'

Lenny Kravitz's latest video shows him living the degenerate rock and roll lifestyle to the hilt, cramming as many models as he can into his hotel rooms, limos and private jets. But the rocker insists that the clip for "Where Are We Runnin'?" is actually designed to be a cautionary tale and isn't meant to glamorize anything.

"People don't realize it, but no one lives that rock and roll life 24-7," Kravitz said. "They think it's hundreds of bottles of champagne flowing and private jets and money. But there's a lot of time when you're traveling — time to think, time to be lonely. Sometimes it gets to you."

That's why the video (which, contrary to speculative reports, does not feature actress Scarlett Johansson) starts and ends with shots in which he's shown just staring at himself in a mirror.

"I'm flipping [the stereotypical depiction of rock highlife] at the end," Kravitz said. "If you look at the characters, nobody's saying, 'Check this out.' They're not even paying attention, they're just there. You're just seeing what he's into, what he's lost [himself] into. It looks like fun, 'Oh, I want to be like that.' But that ain't it, especially when you're in a place where your soul isn't being nourished."

That's also why the uncut version of the video was a bit seedier, Kravitz said. The edited version shows his character waking up in a hotel room crammed with scantily clad models, but the original featured nudity (including an unclothed Kravitz). Drugs, too, entered the picture — enormous piles of cocaine on a coffee table, syringes on the plane — but those, of course, were also edited out for broadcast. Kravitz knew that would happen — so why would he bother incorporating images that would have to be removed in order for the video to be aired?

"I have to do whatever I'm seeing in my head first," he said. "And then everyone tells me, 'You can't do that!' But it's the artistic achievement. This is stuff that I needed to say, for myself."

Kravitz, who also plans to make a semiautobiographical film (see "Lenny Kravitz's Film Debut: Woody Allen Meets 'Purple Rain' "), says that by stretching the boundaries, he ultimately was just trying to make a point about the emptiness of the braggadocio and materialism so prominent in music videos today.

"If you look at the guys in the '70s, like Led Zeppelin, they had bigger planes than we do, they had more money," Kravitz claimed. "But they weren't singing about it. Their songs weren't about 'Look at my so-and-so car, my million grand.' [Those things] were just there."