The J5 go jogging with Bush
IN the new music video for “Work It Out,” a song from backpacker rap quintet Jurassic 5 featuring Dave Matthews, a presidential jog through downtown Los Angeles lampoons George W. Bush and sends up a grab bag of social woes to make sly political commentary.
The video’s Dubya impersonator -- Timothy Bottoms from the short-lived Comedy Central sketch show “That’s My Bush!” -- bumbles through various urban scenarios, blissfully unaware he is making matters worse whenever he tries to help.
The president mistakes a group of immigrant Latinos fleeing from border agents for runners in an impromptu 100-meter dash, he cools off by dousing himself with bottled water earmarked for disaster relief victims, and he inadvertently aids a crowd of looters who are emptying out an electronics store. Toward the end of the video, a Dick Cheney doppelganger on a Segway scooter is shown chasing terrified conscripts into a military recruitment office (the impersonator is later shown being administered to with a defibrillator after suffering a heart attack).
Absent geysers of Champagne, scantily clad booty dancers and tricked-out luxury cars, “Work It Out” isn’t your usual rap video. With all its visual in-jokes and Bush bashing, the clip -- www.spitfire-media.com/movies/newj5link.mov -- is closer in spirit to what you might find on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” than on MTV Overdrive.
“We heard the song and knew that it had a deeper meaning, that it was talking to bigger problems in the world,” says Brendan Malloy, who directed the video with his brother Emmett. “So we were thinking about doing an idea big enough to visually represent what the group was talking about. Then we had the idea to have somebody misinterpret the idea of ‘working it out’ and have them think it’s just about working out.”
According to Jurassic 5 rhyme sayer Chali 2na, the video’s lighthearted treatment of serious problems -- racial and class divisions, wartime unrest, declining faith in presidential leadership -- is in keeping with the original idea for the song, which was recorded in Matthews’ Seattle studio, the Kitchen.
“We didn’t want it to be massively ‘conscious’ -- down your throat with politics,” he says. “But we did have something to say. We wanted it to be easy to swallow, but you could learn from it if you looked.”
Slayer cover art a no-go in Fullerton
THE cover art for “Christ Illusion,” the latest album from trailblazing heavy metal group Slayer, isn’t exactly easy on the eyes.
Reproduced from an original painting by Larry Carroll (who also did covers for Slayer’s “Reign in Blood,” “South of Heaven” and “Seasons in the Abyss” -- are we detecting a motif here?), the cover art depicts Jesus with his arms cut off below the elbows and looking forlorn, standing in a lake of blood, surrounded by decapitated heads.
Such imagery may articulate the group’s blitzkrieg rock assault and death fascination appropriately enough. But after the artwork outraged locals in Fullerton this week, city officials removed ads for “Christ Illusion” from 17 bus benches throughout the city -- without consulting the group’s record label, American Recordings.
Fullerton city officials did not return calls seeking comment. But Slayer guitarist Kerry King is hopping mad.
“This is entertainment,” he wrote in an e-mail response to Fast Tracks. “If you don’t want to hear the music, change the channel.... If you don’t want to see the bus bench, turn away. It’s time people either mind their own business or shut ... up.... Government has no place here.”
‘Snakes’ on a radio -- is nothing safe?
SAMUEL L. JACKSON’S thriller “Snakes on a Plane” is one of summer’s most hotly anticipated Big Dumb Action Flicks thanks to its blissfully gimmick-free premise -- for those of you who are just back from a desert island, it’s about deadly snakes creating havoc on a plane in flight. In an outpouring of cultish zeal, fans have created homemade movie trailers, posters, T-shirts and artwork based on the film (which hits theaters Friday), posting their handiwork on websites such as www.snakesonablog.com.
And now, it seems, those same “Snakes” freaks are helping make the movie’s theme song a hit. “Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)” by the fittingly named alterna-rock outfit Cobra Starship is one of the most requested songs on KROQ-FM (106.7), and last week the single premiered at No. 37 on Billboard’s Modern Rock chart.
“Times are strange / We got a free upgrade for snakes on a plane,” sings Cobra Starship’s Gabe Saporta. “So kiss me goodbye / I can see the venom in their eyes.”
The group will perform Thursday on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Part 2, overdue
AN expanded edition of Bruce Springsteen’s most recent album, “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions -- American Land,” hits stores in October, a month later than its initial release date.
The title comes from an original Springsteen song of the same name, “American Land,” introduced on his recent North American tour. The CD also will include his versions of Blind Alfred Reed’s “How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live” and Pete Seeger’s “Bring ‘Em Home,” which were part of the tour set lists.