This footage has become something of a Holy Grail for Lennon fans. We know that director Jay Dubin shot video footage at the Hit Factory recording studio in August of 1980 for promotional videos for “(Just Like) Starting Over” and “I’m Losing You.” Afterward, John was apparently unhappy with his appearance and allegedly destroyed the footage. (By September he had cut his hair short.) A brief clip of Yoko’s “I’m Moving On” from the same session later appeared in a 1984 A&E documentary (“Yoko Ono: Then & Now”), which offered hope that the rest of the video still existed somewhere.
The above video is a montage of some of this newly unearthed B-roll footage mixed together with the 1998 video featuring Cheap Trick that was made to promote the Lennon Anthology box set. Surely if the powers that be had access to this footage in 1998 they would have used it, which proves this is a new discovery. Hopefully, some of the A-roll footage survives as well; it would be great to see some closeups of John lip-syncing the song. Then again, I would guess the bootleggers who made this video would have used it if they had it.
Still, it’s cool to finally be able to see the last professionally shot video footage of John Lennon before he was killed on December 8. Look at that funky guitar!
Bun E. Carlos (drummer for Cheap Trick): When the movie came out, we were still up-and-coming and not yet rock stars. This was our first major soundtrack; we hadn’t had a hit single yet. We were just glad to be asked to participate.
There were two scenes in particular that really worked well with our music. The first scene was when the kid [Mark] shoots the cop car with a BB gun. That song was “Downed,” and it was brand-new. The guitar had a kind of helter-skelter sound, and it was very effective. The second scene was when the other kid [Carl] lies on his bed, listening to headphones with “Surrender” playing. I just thought it was great.
The director admits that one of the teenaged actresses “was practically the music supervisor for the movie. I just listened to what she played me and paid attention. The movie is better for it.” The soundtrack is amazing and—in addition to Cheap Trick—also features the Cars, Van Halen, and the Ramones. Badass.
Jim DeRogatis talks to former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha about Tinted Windows, his new band that features members of Hanson, Cheap Trick, and Fountains of Wayne:
Well, Adam [Schlesinger] and I are friends, and we have these various businesses together: We have our recording studio in Chelsea, and we had the label together [Scratchie], but we lost the backing from New Line because everyone got fired there. I was talking to him one day and he was friends with Taylor Hanson; they’ve been friends since Fountains of Wayne’s and Hanson’s first records came out and the guy who signed Tinted Windows told Adam in the ’90s, “You should write with these kids from Oklahoma.”
We came up with this idea of Adam and Taylor singing over loud guitars and doing a power-pop record, trying to keep it down and dirty: no keyboards, no three-part harmonies, with references like the Buzzcocks, the Knack and the Ramones–just all things fun and loud. So the three of us all wrote songs that fit that concept; then we figured, “Well, we have to get a drummer.” We had a couple of ideas, one of the references I said was, “He has to play like Bun E. Carlos!” Then we went, “Hey, let’s call Bun E. Carlos! All he can do is say no.” We sent him the demos and he went, “I’m into it!” He came to New York and rocked like no one’s business and we did the record in two days.
In the past year I’ve seen the two groups most associated with power pop. One developed the archetype in the 60s with songs like “Can’t Explain” and “Glow Girl” and the other perfected it in the 70s with “Surrender” and “The Dream Police.” Now, I saw both of these groups well after what would be considered their prime, but I couldn’t help but wonder if they were still viable performing an art form so tied to youth in their 50s and 60s. Is power pop only the domain of the young?
Cheap Trick played an unannounced, invitation-only show last night at the Double Door in Chicago to a crowd of around 300. I, along with GLONO founder Jake Brown, was on that guest list and we made our way to Wicker Park expecting rehashed old tunes from the 70s from face-lifted has-beens in their 50s. Perhaps a spotting of the nefarious Real World cast would inject a bit of youth into this most perplexing of oldies tours.
But what we found was a group at its best; rocking and sweating, not to the oldies, but to an entire set of new material, fresh with power chords and youthful lyrics that would make Dave Grohl cry.
Cheap Trick took the stage at 8:30 sharp and rocked for over two hours, showcasing new material that would officially debut in their upcoming tour. Despite the fact that drummer Bun E. Carlos was enjoying his first show back with the band after back surgery, the group pushed comfortably through a set of original material that spanned a range of sounds from their proto-punk beginnings to their sappy “Flame” sound of the mid-80s. To see a 50-something Rick Nielsen hopping around and slashing out riffs like a 19-year old Rivers Cuomo was truly inspiring. The energy and enthusiasm was apparent in ¾ of the band, if not in lead singer Robin Zander himself, who seemed a bit nervous at times struggling with lyrics he hasn’t yet memorized and looking eerily like Kurt Cobain.
Cheap Trick perfected the sound that has stood as the blue print to current pretenders like Blink 182, Green Day, Jimmy Eat World and Foo Fighters. And tonight they reclaimed their rights to Raise Hell in a sweaty club on a Monday night like thousands of bands mimicking their sound across the country.