Here’s the Foo Fighters on the extensive screening process they employed when selecting a video for their second single, “D.O.A.”:
“All video treatments kind of look the same — especially when you read like 20 of them in one sitting — they’re all roughly the same,” Chris Shiflett said. “So we went for one that was, like, the anti-treatment.”
“All the other treatments were like, ’Oh, OK, so this treatment probably went to, like, Limp Bizkit, and they passed on it, so they just retooled it and sent it to us,’ ” drummer Taylor Hawkins added. “So we decided on one that just sort of stuck out.”
Maybe the Foos were suffering from a bit of an emotional letdown after the high-charged clip they shot for “Best of You” with director Mark Pellington (see “Foo Fighters Get Serious With Director Of Pearl Jam’s ’Jeremy’ “ ), but they went through a whole bunch of treatments — and a lot of potential directors — for “D.O.A.” They finally settled on a gravity-defying concept pitched to them by Mike Palmieri, the young mastermind behind the Bravery’s chock-full-o’-dominoes “An Honest Mistake” video (see “The Bravery Bring Today’s Technology To Yesterday’s Sounds” ).
“The video had bounced around to a lot of people, and they were having some difficulty finding the right treatment, and I came in at the very end of the process and submitted this idea that I’ve always wanted to do,” Palmieri said. “I was waiting to spring this idea on the right band. It needed to right band to actually survive making the video.”
In the clip, the Foos are strapped inside a room that rotates clockwise and counter-clockwise, with a stationary camera capturing the action. As “D.O.A.” progresses, the room begins a 360-degree rotation while the Foos perform the song. The idea, Palmieri said, is to create the illusion that during the course of the song, the room completes one full rotation.
“Halfway through the song, they’re completely upside down. The whole video goes one 360-degree rotation … and at the end … it’s back to zero,” he explained. “So when you’re watching the video, it’s slowly turning upside down on you. You’ll see the band, and the camera is locked, but their hair is sideways, at a 90-degree angle, which shows that it’s the first minute of the video mark. It’s pretty much the most confusing video idea ever.”
Sounds like a pretty fair assessment. In order to help viewers understand the concept, Palmieri also added a few graphics to the screen, including “a little mouse on a treadmill that powers a stopwatch,” showing just how much time has elapsed in the song.
“Actually, the whole thing is a combination of really high-tech stuff and the slow-motion tunnel sequence on ’The Six Million Dollar Man,’ ” Palmieri laughed. “It’s full of physics and gravity. It makes no sense and it’s completely ridiculous, but that’s what it makes it fun.”
And while the whole thing seems fairly innocuous — simply rotating around a room a few times isn’t all that difficult — the director was quick to praise the Foos’ dedication. After all, they were forced to endure take after take in the rotating room, which frontman Dave Grohl affectionately dubbed “The Barf Ball.”
“We had to do about 15 takes inside the room. No one barfed, but they were really getting sick. And they didn’t let us know,” Palmieri said. “We’d give them breaks, but as they were getting makeup, and they’d be like, ’Oh my God, I almost peed my pants. I’m gonna die up there!’ They really took one for the team.”