Taking Back Sunday’s video for “Faith (When I Let You Down)” is a social commentary about the fleeting nature of Internet fame, as illustrated by a fake cat trying to make it in Hollywood. It also happens to be the latest installment in the kooky videography of music video auteur Chris Marrs Piliero.
“It was an idea that I had floating around in my head, and when I listened to the song … the meaning of the song clicked in my brain,” the director said of the clip, which follows his cheeky video for Britney Spears’ “I Wanna Go.”
“People just love cat videos,” he explained. “And I just thought it would be fun to see what it would like if a cat had the brain to be like, ’Sh–, I’m a big deal.’ ”
In the video, Taking Back Sunday post a clip of their cat online, and soon “OMG, WTF TBS Cat” goes viral. The cat eventually hops on a bus to L.A. (with a quick nod to Guns N’ Roses “Welcome to the Jungle”), finds fame, disses the TBS guys, fails to make it as an actor, winds up in porn and eventually can’t handle the pressure. Then, of course, TBS Cat heads back home.
Was that cat as difficult in real life as he was in the video?
“I was like halfway into the shoot, and he was throwing out demands,” Piliero recalled, laughing. “It got to the point where no one was allowed to make eye contact with him on set. I had to sit him down and have a heart to heart with him.”
Along with the GNR homage and a few other pop-culture references, the video includes a cute Easter egg for Britney fans: One of TBS cat’s discarded audition scripts is for the fantasy Spears sequel, “Crossroads 2: Cross Harder,” which is also on the marquee in “I Wanna Go.”
“I made the TBS video right after the Britney video,” he said. “I felt like the cat could exist in the same world as the ’I Wanna Go’ world, so I thought it would be a fun little Easter egg. Also, [frontman] Adam [Lazzara] from TBS texted me after watching the Britney video, and I didn’t even realize that during the paparazzi fight when she swings the mic around — that is something that Adam does all the time, which is something I was very conscious of — but I didn’t realize the scene happened in front of a store called Keaton’s, and his son is called Keaton!”