Many a band has had to battle its demons along the path of its career. Creed's been there, but at this moment they're also going to war with metal-plated beasts and giant, saber-toothed spiders.
The creatures are characters in the computer-animated video for "Bullets," the follow-up to Weathered's "My Sacrifice." Created by video game developers Vision Scape Interactive ("SeaBlade," "Twisted Metal" 3 & 4), the clip depicts Creed as soldiers of the light battling forces of darkness.
Many scenes are reminiscent of "Lord of the Rings," but with imagery meant to reflect the way Creed have dealt with the biting words of journalists.
"Scott [Stapp] said the bullets [in the song] were like stabbing comments from the critics," said Vision Scape President Matt McDonald. "And he said that before he and his group react to those comments, they think about them. So that was why when all the demons shoot bullets at them, they go back to this zone which we called the 'happy place.' They prepare themselves for battle before they just lash out with a bunch of retorts and random comments."
Vision Scape created the "Bullets" video in two months for $473,000 with a staff of 15 employees working more than 18 hours a day, McDonald said. They modeled much of the footage after fight scenes in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and "Iron Monkey." And Vision Scape went to great lengths to make sure Creed were depicted accurately and to their liking, tattoos and all. Although the band was on tour during the creation of the video, the company kept in touch by posting the latest images on a special Web site.
"Originally, the character we had for Scott Stapp was more of an arch angel," said McDonald's wife, Tammy, who co-runs Vision Scape. "It was very futuristic, and the wings were metallic. But Scott wanted to take it and make it more earthy and apply it to his American Indian roots. So we made his wings more like those of an eagle or a hawk."
"It was important that Mark [Tremonti] do battle with an axe because he's a guitar player," added Matt McDonald. "And then Scott Phillips is a drummer, so we gave him two swords. And the designs on the swords came from his tattoos. It was really important to the guys that we matched all their tattoos perfectly. The only thing we did different is we made them a little buffer than they are now."
The roots of the "Bullets" video date back more than a year to when the McDonalds were watching the Creed "Behind the Music" episode. Intrigued by the band's message and energy, they asked Creed if they were interested in contributing songs to a video game called "Revelations." Tammy McDonald contacted the group through Mark Tremonti's younger brother, Dan Tremonti, who oversees Creed's artwork, and found out Mark was video game freak. So the McDonalds sent the "Revelations" schematics and waited for a response.
And waited and waited. Then last Christmas, Dan Tremonti called and said the band wanted Vision Scape to create a video using the visuals from "Revelations." Originally, Creed were interested in including band footage, but that proved impossible since they were maintaining a hectic road schedule and the Tremontis' mother was dying of cancer at the time.
"They really dug what we did," Matt McDonald said. "But they liked it all the more because they were able to have the video made and not even have to be around for it."
Creed liked the "Bullets" clip so much that they asked Vision Scape to work on the video for their next, still undetermined, video. In addition, the McDonalds remain hopeful that Creed will let them use their likeness in the upcoming "Revelations" game, currently in the planning stages.
"Now that we have digital versions of them in the computer, we can do anything we want as long as they agree," Matt McDonald said. "We have another project called 'Speed Metal' which is more of a car battle racing game, and if they have a song that works with that art, then we'd love to have them be characters in that as well."