The coolest video I've seen in a long time is the Dandy Warhols' "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth." And what's quite amazing is that I saw it on MTV.
We tend to slag MTV so much at Addicted To Noise, that when they do something right, it deserves attention.
The Dandy Warhols, in case you haven't been paying attention, are a Portland-based band that draw on '60s psychedelia and first generation Brit-pop. I mean singer/guitarist Courtney Taylor plays a Vox guitar (just like the late Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones) in the new video.
First the song. "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth" is a clever "Just Say No" number that manages to stick it to all the grunge wannabes who figured a junk habit went along with flannel and a depressed attitude. "So passŽ, nowadays/ You never thought you'd get addicted just be cooler in an obvious way/ I can say/ Shouldn't you have gotten a couple of piercings /And decided maybe that you were gay."
Lifestyle as fashion accessory?
But what's really cool about the Dandy Warhols, is that just because they're dealing with a heavy subject--hard drug addiction--they don't feel any need to be self-righteous about it.
Which brings us to the video, a Busby Berkley-style number that includes dancers in hypodermic needle outfits and a classic segment where dancers dressed as nurses on gurneys go through their routines as if they were on stage at Radio City Music Hall.
Oh yeah. They're got a cartoon punk throwing up in a toilet, and the big finale has an actress dressed as a mourner showing off a hearse and some tombstones as if they were prizes on "The Price Is Right."
We've seen a lot of drug casualties, and drug deaths in recent years. Certainly you've read the stories about a heroin epidemic of sorts.
Rock bands dissing junk is nothing new. John Lennon did it with "Cold Turkey" decades ago, and Everclear's "Heroin Girl" was an equally rockin' song that delivered a message with its beat.
But there was no MTV when "Cold Turkey" came out, and I don't recall "Heroin Girl" making the cut. Time will tell if the Warhols' video makes it into heavy rotation (I saw it at about 8 a.m. this morning, not exactly prime time).
No one wants to hear a boring lecture about heroin, but when a band can make a statement about something real in as clever a way as the Warhols have with "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth," it's worth taking notice.
We Call That Stealing Over Here In The U.S.
Too bad the New Musical Express didn't see fit to credit the story they lifted from Addicted To Noise. I'm talking about the piece we ran, based on my interview with Liam Howlett of Prodigy, headlined: "Prodigy's Liam Howlett Turns Down Madonna."
Here's the story we ran on July 29:
"When the owner of the record company you've just signed up with asks you to produce an album, what do you do? If you're Prodigy mastermind Liam Howlett, you tell her to forget it. 'Yeah, Madonna asked me to produce her album,' Howlett told ATN last week. 'There's no way I would even think about that. There's no way that I'd commercialize our sound. I wouldn't give our sound away. To give that to Madonna is like selling my soul to the devil. It's absolutely no good.'
"With their third album, The Fat Of The Land, still in the U. S. top 10, and with worldwide sales in the millions, Howlett can afford to be particular. Despite numerous calls for his services, the producer/songwriter is turning all offers down at present. 'Anything I do at the moment is for Prodigy, 'he said. 'This is what's happening for us. I shouldn't be distracted in any way from what I'm doing here at the moment.'
"Howlett did say that he hoped to collaborate with other artists. 'I found it interesting collaborating with a band like Rage Against The Machine,' he said, referring to the song 'One Man Army' that he worked on with Rage guitarist Tom Morello, and which appears on the Spawn soundtrack album. 'I've spoken to Korn, and I would imagine if all the guys are into it that at some point we'll get together.'"
Here's what the NME ran last week:
"PRODIGY have turned down the opportunity to produce Madonna's
new album. Liam Howlett said last week: 'Madonna asked me but
there's no way I would even think about it. There's no way that I'd
commercialize our sound or give it away. To give that to Madonna
would be like selling my soul to the Devil.' Howlett was adamant that he
would not be involved in Madonna's new recording despite the fact that
the Prodigy are signed to her Maverick label in America. Howlett also revealed that, apart from a possible collaboration with American metal band Korn, the Prodigy would be turning down all current offers for their remixing and production services having recently worked with Rage Against The Machine on the track 'One Man Army' for the Spawn movie soundtrack.
"Howlett said: 'Anything I do at the moment is for Prodigy. I shouldn't be
distracted in any way from what I'm doing here at the moment. (But) I
found it interesting collaborating with a band like Rage Against The
Machine, and I've spoken to Korn, and I would imagine if all the guys are
in to it that at some point we'll get together.'"
Next time maybe they'll think to include an "as reported in the online rock 'n' roll magazine, Addicted To Noise."