When it came time to shoot the video for their single “Keep The Ships At Bay,” off their upcoming sophomore LP Slip Away, Brooklyn band Total Slacker found inspiration in both “Unsolved Mysteries” and Paris Hilton.
“The whole idea originally came from those shows like ’Unsolved Mysteries’ or some of the newer ones that are on Netflix — these reality, situational shows about people disappearing or aliens coming down to the Southwest or something like that,” lead singer Tucker Rountree told MTV News, explaining that the band was inspired by the exaggerated, reenactment scenes in such shows. “So that’s why the version of me that’s in the video is kind of like an embellishment or an exaggeration of the real-life persona of myself onstage.”
The Nate Ford-directed video kicks off with guitarist David Anthony Tassy playing the “host,” wandering down a dark alley while intoning, “Tonight you’ll hear the story of a good band gone bad. Meet Total Slacker.” The action then erupts into a kind of “Bonnie & Clyde” tale in which Rountree — sporting a wild bowlcut wig over his signature bowlcut hairdo — and bassist Emily Oppenheimer steal a guitar, raid a bodega and just generally smash everything to smithereens.
Given the general havoc wrecked in the vid — and Rountree’s frayed s’pants (that’s short pants) — one would never guess the band’s other inspiration for the work: Miss “That’s Hot” herself.
“We were watching Paris Hilton’s new video about a month ago and we were vibing off that,” Rountree said, referring to “Good Time,” which features the heiress reigning over a massive pool party complete with glow sticks, Lil Wayne and a 10-foot-tall robot called Kryoman.
“I have to be honest, part of that inspired us because there’s something about [that] exaggeration,” Rountree said.
When speaking with MTV News recently, Hilton described the video as “sexy and so much fun, I really wanted it to be colorful and full of life and my friend Kryoman flew out to be in it and he just makes the video so much fun like spraying all the CO2 canisters.”
Total Slacker’s video may be a bit darker than Hilton’s “Spring Breakers”-hued affair, but what it lacks in C02 canisters and robots it makes up for in whipped cream and flaming guitars.
The song itself is one of the more heavy affairs on the band’s upcoming record — their first on new label Black Bell/ADA and since their former drummer, Terence Connor, was killed in a hit-and-run in October 2012. Zoë Brecher came on as his replacement for the disc.
“Everyone in their lives has these places they come from and these situations — the past that they draw from, from their personal experience,” Rountree said. “The song is just a real simple message about learning about where you’ve come from and assimilating that into your adult life, but also remembering that there’s only so much you can draw from the past.”
Slip Away, which drops on February 11, is the follow-up to 2011’s Thrashin’, and — on the whole — retains the twisted whimsy of the band, an act that’s obsessed with the Olive Garden and has sung, in the past, about the mysterious lure of the video store rental guy as well as “creepos” on Facebook.
With an upcoming record that contains jams about everything from ThighMasters to having a balls-out battle with you babysitter’s boyfriend, it’s easy to see how “Unsolved Mysteries” and Paris could come together in unholy matrimony in the mind of Total Slacker.
Check out the premiere here and make sure to hit up the band on their MTV Artists page.