NEW YORK — In their debut video, for the song "Get Free," the Vines perform in a lightning storm and are eventually struck by the fiery bolts. So being the targets of a food fight for their next video, "Outtathaway!," was a cake walk.

"It's not as bad as lightning," frontman Craig Nicholls agreed while backstage at rehearsals for the MTV Video Music Awards (see "Ashanti's Toes On Fire, Vines Ready For A Sword Fight At VMA Rehearsals"). "We almost died doing the first one, but it looked good. That was the main thing. We were prepared to risk our lives for it because that's how we feel about the band."

The new video was shot August 13 and 14 in Los Angeles by David LaChapelle, who has worked with Elton John and Mariah Carey, among others, and it should air in the coming weeks. So, what's the video about?

"Well, the FBI's looking for me 'cause they heard that I killed someone 10 years ago in the future," joked the ever-sarcastic Nicholls. "No, there's no plot. We just play our song onstage in a little club and we get food thrown at us."

Like "Get Free," "Outtathaway!" features hellacious Kurt Cobain-inspired howls, churning feedback-saturated guitars and attitude galore, but it's more melodic and multi-faceted than the first single, incorporating jangly, garagey guitars, and even sunny "ahh-ahh" background vocals.

"I like it better than the first one," Nicholls said. "It's kind of similar, [lyrically]. It's about moving or thinking or dreaming, whether you do it physically or mentally. It's all about escapism and creation."

The Vines will perform right after the Hives Thursday (August 29) at the VMAs, and judging from his blackened left eye, which he got last week in London slamming his face into the stage, it would make sense to guess Nicholls could engage in some guitar-smashing drama as his lamented hero Cobain used to do. But Nicholls insists otherwise.

"I would never smash my guitar," he said straight-faced. "I think guitars are sacred and they all have souls. Except acoustic guitars. They're the devil's instruments."

"Saturday Night Live" comedian Jimmy Fallon will host the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, which will be broadcast live from New York's Radio City Music Hall at 8 p.m. ET/PT on August 29. For all the news on the big night, check out Video Music Awards headlines.