Friday, June 08, 2012

Somehow I Don't Think This is What They Mean By Kraut-Rock

From 1969, please enjoy (hitherto unheard by me) Teutonic popsters The Petards and their perhaps unfortunately monikered German hit "On the Road With My Bag."

The best description of the song itself I can muster at the moment is "inoffensive," but the video has inspired a couple of questions. First of all -- and if we have any readers conversant with the German language, this is for you -- does the band's name sound better auf Deutsch than it does in English? Secondly, and more important, was that woman with the baby carriage a paid extra, or was she merely out for a walk when the thing was being shot?

20 comments:

Haik Mendelovich said...

This is hilarious!

I especially like that the drummer looks like Ginger Baker, and has a Keith Moon-style double-bass kit... but plays like the kid on the Partridge Family!

buzzbabyjesus said...

I'll bet she's neither. Looks like one of their moms. And the song has no redeeming qualities. Offensively bland.

tommy quest said...

was their album titled 'hoisted!'?

Peter said...

This video may seem fairly innocuous, but it messes with my mind in a big way.

Before I itemise my reactions (I have to do this, otherwise my mind will get even more messed up if I don't tell someone about it), I'll offer my opinion about the woman with the carriage (from 0:37 to 0:46 in the video) – or, as I'd like to call her, The Woman In Black. I reckon she's an unpaid extra. Further to that, I firmly believe that no-one associated with this video was paid money.

Now, to the things that are messing with my mind:

1. THE BUS
At the start of video, the cameraman/woman pans out to a wide-shot revealing (on the left of screen) what I thought was the band's tour bus. I was convinced that the band had simply unloaded their equipment from the bus and just left their rather large vehicle in the shot. But then from 0:21 the doors close and the bus drives away, revealing itself to be a regular, public transport bus. I found that weird.

2. THE STRUMMING
The guitarist's strumming from 1:25-1:40 is possibly the most bizarre I've ever seen in a music video. I thought that maybe the video and audio weren't correctly synchronized, but he's miming his vocals very well. It's just those strums – they're so brain-twistingly unmatched to how a guitarist usually strums simple rhythms on a guitar. It doesn't look possible to me, how he can sing and strum the way he's strumming at the same time.

3. THE TRACKING SHOT
I really like the tracking shot from 1:59-2:39, where the weird-strummin' guitarist is on the car, moving slowly towards the drummer. ("We're going for a ride. Wheee!") There are a few things I like about this shot. First, I like how you now how the shot was done (i.e., with a camera on an automobile) because you can see the guitarist is sitting on the bonnet of a car. Next, I got a sense that the members of the band probably like each other, because the car didn't attempt to run anyone down as it made its way to the drummer. And at the end of the shot I like how the car didn't crash into the drummer, stopping just before there was contact. (Although there may have been words from the drummer before the video was made: "Don't you dare touch my drums".) But throughout all of that I was wondering: "Where is the cameraman/woman? On the roof of the car? Or on the bonnet with the guitarist?". Overall, this tracking shot was my favourite part of the video.

4. THE CAR
I was extremely curious about this scene looking through an automobile to the band. Coming so soon (i.e., immediately) after the previous scene, I wondered if that was the same car used in the tracking scene. Was it? Or was it an entirely different car? (One that someone thought would be just the right car to look through to the band: "I think we'll use... that car. No, not that one. The one next to it.") Hmm.

5. THE ENTIRELY UNRELATED BIT AT THE END
The end of the video, from 3:30. When I saw that I thought: "What?". And then I thought: "What???" The more I looked at that last scene the more I started to (possibly unhelpfully) ponder the possibility that this video is part of a movie, and that bit at the end signified moving on to the next, non-musical, scene. Maybe. I don't know. This video messes with my mind.

I've just spent way too much time on this comment. I think I want to watch that video again. But I don't know why.

steve simels said...

Are you familiar with the Brechtian concept of the alienation effect?
:-)

Anonymous said...

Steve are you familiar with the term old?

Brooklyn Girl said...

Anonymous said...

Steve are you familiar with the term old?


Are you familiar with the term asshole?

Peter said...

Hey, Steve:

"Are you familiar with the Brechtian concept of the alienation effect?
:-)"


Nope.

Hang on...

I've consulted Wikipedia, and they call it the "distancing effect". I'm having a look at the page. Wow, that's a lot of text.

Apparently, the distancing effect is one "which prevents the audience from losing itself passively and completely in the character created by the actor, and which consequently leads the audience to be a consciously critical observer."

For me, I'd simply all of that and just call it The "Huh?" Effect.

Peter said...

Oops. Typo Alert.

It's "I'd simplify all of that", not "I'd simply...".

Many apologies to typo hunters everywhere.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Brooklyn Girl said...
Anonymous said...

Steve are you familiar with the term old?

Are you familiar with the term asshole?

Brooklyn Girl was too kind.

steve simels said...

Uh...seems to be a loss of sense of humor this afternoon.
:-)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous here. When I say old in reference to Mr. Simels it is used as an Honorific.

Simels regrets...

:)

buzzbabyjesus said...

Anonymous said...
Anonymous here. When I say old in reference to Mr. Simels it is used as an Honorific.

Thanks for the clarification.
I still don't get it but..........

Brooklyn Girl said...

Now that I've watched this all the way through ... kid chewing gum, lead singer sitting on hood of car, guy in bowler throwing ball, etc., etc. ... I'm wondering if this is some homage to "Blow Up" (and is it East German? I only ask because of the Russian-looking cars).

And yes, I am clearly suffering from the "distancing effect" ...

Anonymous said...

I kept hoping the car was going to plow into the drums!
Gently, just enough to knock the drums and the drummer over. That would have be fun.

ROTP(lumber)

Jerry Lee said...

Very surreal. The white VW Beetle driving backwards in the beginning. The baby carriage lady is on a mission, and won't be stopped. The band continues, they probably can't afford more film for another take. The guitarist politely swings the peghead out of her way. Then the director shows his film school chops with the "Touch of Evil" tracking shot, the French New Wave shot through the car window, then the Fellini-esque bowler hat dude with a bouncing ball. I like the "Sunshine Of Your Love" drum solo, with the two nippled bass drums.

Peter said...

Hey, Jerry Lee:

"I like the "Sunshine Of Your Love" drum solo..."

...while the drummer's doing his darnedest not to touch any of those those drums with his sticks.

(Drummers "miming" drums – i.e., not letting the drum sticks touch the drums heads or cymbals, but trying to give the impression that the drummer is playing the drums – is an unsettling experience for me. It looks weird.)

"...with the two nippled bass drums."

I'd never noticed the nipple-ness of the bass drum heads.

And I'd never noticed that backwards VW Beetle before, either. Having a look at it now (0:28-0:37), I've just noticed that when the VW first appears it does so from behind the bus. But before that, I don't see it anywhere on any road. It's just there, emerging from behind the bus. Where was it before then?

There's much, much more to this video than I had originally thought.

(I had originally thought that it was simply an inexpensive video made by a German rock band simply making do with what they had at their disposal.)

Jerry Lee said...

Yo Peter-

I didn't notice the drum miming, and he's barely touching the cymbals, maybe they'll get shut down if they make too much noise. I wonder if the singer's just mouthing the lyrics? If those drums aren't nippled, then they're Simpson's eyes. Wonder how this looks if it's played in reverse?

Peter said...

Hey, Jerry Lee:

"Wonder how this looks if it's played in reverse?"

"Just as weird" is my guess.

Peter said...

Hey, Jerry Lee (again):

"I didn't notice the drum miming, and he's barely touching the cymbals..."

I think that when he does touch the cymbals, it's accidental. (I can also picture someone off-camera shushing him: "Don't hit those drums! They'll be too loud here, and you'll annoy everyone." I can imagine this being a very polite band.)

"...maybe they'll get shut down if they make too much noise."

Yep. That's what I reckon, too.

"I wonder if the singer's just mouthing the lyrics?"

Given how gentle and considerate the band members look in the video, I'd say yes. ("Shhh – not too much noise, boys.")