The video for Pink’s “U + UR Hand” appears at first to be just another excuse for the singer to dress up in a series of revealing, sexy outfits. Which is kind of weird, since the clip for “Stupid Girls” basically made fun of bubble-headed starlets who get over by using their bodies.
But if you dig deeper into the inspiration for the clip, which recently hit #1 on “TRL,” you’ll find everything from ancient, obscure black-magic books to some of the edgy comic characters of late New Zealand artist Martin Emond. It’s a subversive concept from director David Meyers to turn the “Stupid Girls” clip on its head (see “Pink’s ‘Stupid’ New Video Features Fake Breasts, Fake 50 Cent” ).
But to notice those aspects of the video, people actually had to see it first. Filmed at the same time as the “Stupid Girl” clip nearly a year ago, Meyers said Pink’s label originally wanted “U + UR Hand” to be the first single from her I’m Not Dead album, but the singer convinced them otherwise and “Stupid Girls” got the first shot.
“The compromise was that they gave us money for two videos and we did them at the same time,” said Meyers, who has helmed almost all the singer’s videos. He came up with the concept of the clip’s central character, Lady Delish, a futuristic woman who is having trouble finding a man. It’s a scenario that Meyers said fit Pink’s own story before her marriage earlier this year to motocross star Carey Hart (see “Pink Marries Carey Hart In Costa Rica” ).
” ‘Stupid Girls’ was such a big success and she’s scantily clad in it, so for a while it seemed like maybe this one would never see the light of day,” Meyers said. “But it’s about content. In this one, she’s a smart girl living in a futuristic world and she’s not ass-shaking and doing stupid stuff, so the sexy outfits make sense.”
Half the scenarios in the video were inspired by the drawings of underground comic artist Emond, best known for his collaborations with metal singer Danzig. Meyers said Pink brought him a book of Emond’s drawings while they were brainstorming for the clip and the pair looked through them and picked out a few characters that would fit Pink’s personality.
They include the helmet-clad Rocker Biker Girl, the first character we meet at a place called “Pancho’s Garage,” as well as Hard Candy, seen working a punching bag while wearing diamond-encrusted gloves in the “Hell Hole” chapter. Emond’s work also pops up in a visit to the dizzying rooftop Windy Whistle bar, where Pink portrays the flame-haired, short-shorts-wearing Baby Redknuckles.
Emond, the prolific artist who worked on comics such as “White Trash” and “Accident Man,” painted covers for Danzig albums and co-founded the street-wear clothing label Illicit. His paintings and sketches were heavily influenced by skin art and often featured skulls and knives mixed with hearts, stars, birds and gothic lettering. His comic book drawings frequently involved fierce, muscled women with a gothic/undead look and exaggerated features.
The homage to the beloved creations of Emond — who committed suicide at age 34 in Los Angeles in 2004 — has been generating a stir on comic blogs ever since the clip first began airing in Europe earlier this summer. Meyers said the idea all along was to honor Emond’s art. “It was definitely a source of inspiration for some of the setups, and I wanted to change her outfits for each verse, so we mixed those characters in with the ones I came up with,” the director said.
Even stranger inspiration was behind a setup called the “Tea Garden,” in which Pink is dressed in a straight black wig and plays a goth/vampire character who reads the mysteriously titled book “A Suggestive Inquiry Into Hermetic Mystery.” Mary A. Atwood’s 1850 volume on the occult speculated that the goal of the dark arts is to reach spiritual perfection. But Atwood allegedly worried after its publication that she had revealed too many secrets and attempted to buy up and destroy as many copies as possible.
Meyers said he chose the book as another way of combating the “stupid girls” image of the first video. “Having her read that occult book was kind of a way to turn everything on its edge,” he said. “You always see girls in coffee shops reading something and trying to eye their guy. There’s this place called the Zen Tea Garden in Los Angeles that inspired that setup. I wanted to have her reading some kind of book women aren’t supposed to read, and the fact that it’s written by a woman [makes it more effective].”