THROWBACK THURSDAY – SPIKE JONZE x WEEZER – TEXT LUKE BATHER
When I was about 13 years old I bought a bootleg VHS tape from a market stall, it was full of Sum 41 MTV specials that were taped directly from the TV (hey, I was 13 and I didn’t have MTV at my house. Needs must.)
As is often the case with bootlegs, there wasn’t much care and attention put into the running order, meaning that sometimes the show would finish but the tape would keep going, meaning I’d end up with ten minute blocks of extra music videos that I hadn’t bargained for, this is where I first encountered the work of Spike Jonze. Firstly there was Beastie Boys’ video for Sabotage, followed in spectacular one-two punch style by Weezer’s Buddy Holly.
In case you haven’t seen it, the Buddy Holly video takes place in Al’s Diner, within the Happy Days universe. Weezer perform as part of the ‘You Wanted To See It’ showcase, there’s footage from Happy Days seamlessly mixed in with the band’s performance and the Fonz rocks up, steals the show and gets the girls. Brilliant.
There’s a strong case for Buddy Holly being the perfect music video – the concept sits nicely in the realm of fun, light hearted and a little bit goofy. It looks convincing enough to be impressive today and it’s a rare performance video that introduces the world to a band in a playful way that doesn’t feel forced, keeps them central to the concept and sets the tone for how they’ll go on to be perceived in the public eye (remember that in the years following this, Weezer go on to appear alongside baby animals, The Muppets and just about every YouTube celebrity from 2004 – 2009).
The true genius stroke of this whole production is that intentionally making it ‘dated’ at the time (this is a video made in 1994, referencing a show that went off the air in 1984 about American life in 1954) actually helps to make the whole thing feel completely timeless.