There’s a lot to be said about “Tell Me Anything (Turn to Gold)”, the latest music video from Chuck Prophet. However, any description is best left up to the man himself, who goes into great and humorous detail about the video with PopMatters, saying, “I’ve been a longtime fan of Steve Hanft. Steve is a legend, tirelessly creative, with a sideways vision of the world, and is probably best known for directing early Beck videos. His videos are always inventive and devoid of bells and whistles. He’s a punk rock auteur.
“Through a mutual friend we met up when I was in southern California visiting family and catching some waves. We got together at Cantor’s Deli on the day after Christmas, and bonded over surfing. All the while Steve watched me eat a pastrami sandwich as big as my head. When we got up to leave, he said, ‘So what do you want your video to be?’
Prophet was quite forward with his director: “I said, I want sex. I want nudity. And of course lots of violence, but not directed at women. You know, explicit but somehow tasteful. Steve and I are also both fans of noir, especially the under-appreciated subgenre of TV noir.
“Jumping ahead, it dawned on me a little too late that his solution was for all the violence to be directed at me. I was pretty bruised up afterwards. A swollen mess. An 80-pound girl beat my ass, a real smack down.
“Steve said, ‘When you say nudity, I assume we’re talking about female nudity?’ And I was like, ‘No, male nudity too.’ We ended up with just enough male nudity to show people why there isn’t more demand for it, even from women!
“What can I tell you about Steve? He’s fearless and prefers to work with just one other guy. His assistant Aaron had a ’60s station wagon with a burned out alternator. So, wherever we went we had to leave the car running. Steve is from the Ed Wood, ‘Ok, and CUT! PERFECT! PRINT IT!’ school, and he rarely does more than one take of anything. So, we didn’t stay in any one spot too long.
“We didn’t get to all the scenes. I wrote a scene where we stop at the bathroom at a gas station (or better yet a KFC) and I dye my hair blonde in the sink. So for the second half of the song, I’ve got bleached blonde hair. You know the look: that kind of Fargo meets German pedophile meets Jeffrey Lee Pierce look. Anyway, a scene where I’m dyeing my hair and maybe getting a massage at the same time. A foot massage. We didn’t pull that one together. But we got the nudity. We weren’t out to shock. We were after the truth. And the naked truth is always better than some dressed-up white lie.
“When we were filming the take after take of the scene where the girl swings me around and I shoot her with my gun and she kicks the gun out of my hand and kills me and I land on my ass sprawled out and dying on the corner with ketchup smeared all over me like an open gut wound, I was kind of surprised that no one blinked an eye. I mean, it was a busy sidewalk next to a busy intersection. Being that it was L.A., I guess they were just used to watching people getting murdered. As a part of a movie, of course.”
Night Surfer is out now via Yep Roc. In his 8 out of 10 review of the album for PopMatters, Charles Pitter breaks it down simply: “Night Surfer is as good as it gets and you don’t need much more, if anything at all.”
April 1 — Double Door Inn — Charlotte, NC
April 2 — The Earl — Atlanta, GA
April 3 — Colonial Quarter — St. Augustine, FL w/The Baseball Project
April 4 — Skipper’s Smokehouse — Tampa, FL w/The Baseball Project
April 9 — Zanzabar — Louisville, KY
April 10 — Southgate House Revival — Newport, KY
April 11 — Memorial Opera House — Valparaiso, IN
April 13 — Weatherwax Hall — Jackson, MI
April 14 — SPACE — Chicago, IL
April 16 — Off Broadway — St. Louis, MO
April 18 — Old Settler’s Music Festival – Austin, TX