Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Time For Leaving

Here’s the music video I just finished up for No Depression style rockers McCabe & Mrs. Miller. The bulk of the video was shot in and around Joshua Tree and Yucca Valley. Each year the band plays at the Camper/Cracker Campout the first week of September. We’ve always stayed at the Yucca Valley Inn, a quaint and comfortable old school desert motel. This year, however, things were far from quaint or comfortable. The hotel was in foreclosure or bankruptcy status and we were greeted with the option of a room with no air conditioning or a room with no hot water. We opted for the air over the hot water. We had to switch rooms after finding an army of dead frogs in our bathtub. The pool was drained, caution tape was everywhere, and a generally desolate vibe was in the air. In other words, what a perfect spot for a video shoot! Especially a melancholy song about life on the road.

We hadn’t really planned on a shooting a video that weekend, and given that Alison and Victor were playing in about 6 bands between the two of them, I wasn’t sure that they would have anytime to shoot anything as a band. But since we were all going to be in the same place at the same time for two days, I brought a camera with me, just in case. While others drank beer, slept, or watched college football, I was wandering around shooting. We actually found two hours to shoot the band performing in the hotel room. Unfortunately that footage was unusable. I didn’t bring any lights and the room was just too dark and dank to look good.

When we got back to the Bay Area, we set a new shoot date for the band footage for November. Alison and I desperately started scouring the Bay Area for a hotel with a seedy, worn down interior. And let me tell you, that is no easy task in this day and age. Green shag carpeting and wood paneling are a tough order to fill. Off-white porcelain and neutral colors are the order of the day. Even in the cheap hotels. If it’s been remodeled after 1985, there’s little sense of style. Things were looking grim but on our last day of scouting we came across the perfect spot in San Mateo, California. We couldn’t have set designed it better ourselves. It had the shag. It had the wood panel. And the furniture was so flimsy we could move stuff around at will. Always a plus on a film shoot. The beds were even on wheels. An added bonus was this hotel had clearly bought its furniture from the same hotel supply store that the Yucca had bought their furniture from. It was a perfect match. Check out the opening shot of the lobby of the Yucca. Then take a look at the interior shots of the hotel with the band playing. Same carpeting. Same patterns on bedspreads and couches. What luck.

Special thanks to Chris Xefos for helping out on all the shooting in Joshua Tree and KC Smith for doing the great job lighting the hotel interiors.

In any event, I hope you enjoy the video. It’s a great song.

I wrote about their album a few months back. You can read that post here and download a couple of songs from the album there as well.

1 comment:

Chuck said...

Enjoyed your commentary about the filming and the band's performance. The setting and the song are in sync. You are right about the foreclosure. I brokered the Yucca Inn to the Idnani Brothers in November and they have refurbished and rebuilt much of the Inn.