A cringe-inducing moment from director Cooper Johnson's childhood eventually became the inspiration for Staind's video for "Falling," the second single off their fifth album, Chapter V.
Johnson, who's worked with the likes of Hot Hot Heat and Glassjaw, says it was an incident he's never lived down — in his own mind, anyway. And he'll be reliving it for the New England dude-core band in Los Angeles on Sunday.
"It's a dark depiction of a Pee Wee football game," he explained. "The thing that happened to me when I was a kid involved basketball — me taking the ball and shooting at the wrong basket. I wasn't the big sports guy, but I was on the team. The game had already been won, and they started putting in the bench warmers so they'd get a little game time. I'd done this move in practice so many times, where you fake this way, you fake that way and go up for a layup. But I'm on the wrong side of the court. So I got [the ball], I panicked, I faked and I faked, and I jumped up and made the basket.
"This video is about these moments in our lives that are very embarrassing," he continued, "where, like the song says, you fall, but you can pick yourself up off the ground, dust yourself off and move on."
Johnson said the video will focus on a small child who's called into the Pee Wee action when the team's star player is hurt. The ball winds up in the kid's hands toward the end of the game, which is tied. He heads downfield, and the camera follows him in slow motion. From time to time the action cuts away to the parents on the sidelines who, according to the director, are "just freaking out and screaming," and then to the coach, "who is jumping around and falling over the Gatorade," and finally, to the boy's teammates, who are crushed by what ends up being a loss.
"And then the kid jumps into the end zone, totally victorious, on top of the world, and everyone else is a mess," Johnson said. "We're poking fun at the parents who are usually involved in these games who get really intense." Expect the clip to feature incensed fathers embroiled in fisticuffs and crazed mothers losing their cool.
"The video focuses on the pressures that might be put on some kids by their parents," Staind guitarist Mike Mushok said. "You hear about those things where two fathers get into a fight over a game or with a coach, but it's just a game. It's not the Super Bowl. That's what the video pokes fun at: the parents' reactions and them fighting in the stands. It points out that these people should relax a bit and let the kids have fun."
Much like Audioslave's clip for "Doesn't Remind Me" (see "Audioslave Avoid Being Aerosmith Circa 1987 Thanks To Chris Milk"), "Falling," the harder-hitting follow-up to the ductile radio ballad "Right Here," will be the first of Staind's videos to be story-based from tip to toe, with none of the band's members featured in it. According to Mushok, that was more an issue of timing than anything else.
"It's a lazy man's way of doing a video," Mushok said. "My original idea was to make it like an ultimate-highlights clip from ESPN — because that's my interpretation of Aaron [Lewis'] lyrics, 'Falling is easy/ It's getting back up that becomes the problem' — and showing guys in baseball running into the wall and dropping the ball; guys colliding with each other when there's a good hit in football; some skateboarder doing some super trick [that] he doesn't land. But then turn around and show some of those same guys making great plays." Mushok said the band might do an alternate version of the video, using just that idea.
Staind, who've been touring nonstop since even before Chapter V's initial release this past August, are gearing up for the Fall Brawl (see "P.O.D., Staind Get In The Ring For Fall Brawl Tour") and have no immediate plans to take a rest. Mushok said the band hopes to be on the road throughout much of 2006. He also said fans can expect to hear some of the band's oldest material, which will be included in set-list rotation for the Brawl.
"Some of these songs we've never played out," he said. "It makes for kind of an interesting set. We wanted to mix it up to make it special for people who have seen us before. We'll be doing 'Break' and 'Come Again' off of Tormented and some songs from 14 Shades of Grey, like 'Blow Away' and 'Reality.' "
On November 15, Staind will reissue Chapter V with improved packaging, a DVD, a 36-page booklet and five bonus cuts, including "The Beetlejuice Song" (see "Stern's Beetlejuice: The Jolly Dwarf With Staind, Blues Traveler In His Corner").
The booklet features photos of Staind during the band's earliest years. ("There's one of Aaron and me in drag," Mushok said. "If you think I'm ugly as a guy, you should see me in a dress.") Also included are concert posters and advertisements, including those from the band's first gig, at Hartford, Connecticut's Webster Theater, where Staind met Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, who helped them get signed.
The DVD, which features concert footage and acoustic sessions, also has bloopers. "I haven't seen those," the guitarist said. "I'm sure there's a bunch of me making an ass of myself."