Live's Sex Video Over The Top?

Chit-chat dispensed with in new Live video. Take a number, then go for it on the bed.

If, like us, you were a little surprised and mystified by the new Live video

for the song "Lakini's Juice," then you'll be glad to know we cornered the

video's director, Gavin Bowden (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Butthole Surfers, Fun

Loving Criminals) and spoke with him about the decidedly carnal video for a

song who's title makes reference to the Hindu goddess of destruction.

"The

video is really very earthbound and human," said Bowden of the clip, which, if

you haven't seen it, features a dozen or so photogenic men and women in various

stages of undress (you know, scanty bikinis for the women; boxer shorts for the

men), many of whom end up fucking on a bed in the middle of the set, while the

others wait their turn to mount the bed (and each other). "Unlike much of

Live's music, it's pretty devoid of any spirituality at all," said Bowden. "I

tried to remove any sense of beauty or spirit or love by giving the set both a

swimming pool changing room look and a slightly eerie concentration camp

aesthetic."

Bowden says the concept was a very personal one for him,

reflective of his life at the time the video was shot on a sound stage in the

Valley this past Dec. "I was basically looking inside myself and seeing how I

work, while also taking the textures from the music, the crazy guitar sounds

and also lyrics that used words like 'skin,' which jumped out at me."

But

it's the most unusual image in the video, that of an older man in a room full

of what looks like the chalk you use when playing pool, that has the strangest

explanation. "Well, that's the room where the man who watches over the lard is

stationed. To me, the lard represented very basic human sexual desires, totally

powerful desires and passions, the sexual human animal...



"But these are not passions that can exist all the time

because they will destroy you," continued Bowden. "And, if you boiled down a

human, you would get this white, viscous thing, but because that thing can't

exist, it is stored away by the curator of the lard. The people in the video

have to go to him to get the lard so they can go through their physical

passions. They have to get in line and take a number. The lard man is not

necessarily our friend."

Bowden says the band was into doing something a

bit "nasty," since they felt they'd come off too squeaky clean in previous

videos like "Lightning Crashes." "They loved it right away and were way into it

and hopefully, it will get played a lot because there's something truthful

about the images and situations between the characters that I think the band

sensed too. It's real people going through some struggle, some crisis."

As

comfortable as some of the actors and actresses look rolling around together,

they were, for the most part, complete strangers. "The atmosphere on the set

was extraordinarily tense," said Bowden. "You had people making out on the bed

that didn't know each other, who were paired off on the set. It was like a very

tense, weird, uncomfortable party. Usually you go to a party to meet somebody

and hope to go home and have sex, here there was a situation where the bed was

right in the middle of the room and I was saying, 'So, how about making out?' I

felt like the worst kind of pimp."

Surprisingly, MTV had very few cuts to

suggest when the video was screened last month. "A lot of people told me MTV

would never play it, but then, I think maybe the big sales of Live's last

record may have had something to do with it," said Bowden. "Or maybe the fact

that they're seen as a band with integrity, a songwriting band that has a

spirituality about them. But, a band like that with financial power can

certainly get away with a little more."

Bowden says MTV's two suggestions

mainly involved scenes featuring grinding hips, which he replaced with three

scenes he thinks are even more suggestive. "We weren't trying to make

pornography. So, they didn't need to be naked, that would have really changed

it and been distracting."

But what's the deal with the kidney-shaped

swimming pool at the end? "Well, I liked the idea of them standing on top of

this kidney, this basic human organ that filters out our urine and waste and

then, underneath it, is a swimming pool which has been used in so many corny

R&B videos where people are having sex in pools. I've never done that, I don't

know who has. It's sort of absurd that they find this swimming pool and it's

empty, which sort of speaks for itself. By the time these people find that

moment where they can exist freely with their passions, maybe it's too late,

the pool is empty. It's pretty hopeless and sad, but they still get in because

of their animal nature."

Next up, ATN's four-part series on the lighting

schemes of Bush's "Greedy Fly" video.