Sunday, April 18, 2010

Music Video/Rock'n'Roll History Homage.

For their 2006 album, Stadium Arcadium, The Red Hot Chili Peppers made a music video for their hit song, Dani California. The video was directed by Tony Kaye, director of American History X, and features the band in segments that highlight the evolution of rock music. The band impersonates specific figures as well as eras/styles of rock music. The film quality and appearance is also a direct parody of the times selected. The music doesn't change, so the band uses costumes and mannerisms to pay tribute to the bands of rocks past.

The video starts off with curtains opening with grainy 50s era style footage. The lead singer impersonates Elvis' physical mannerism, while the music and voice is the Peppers'. The band does not just represent Elvis', but styles of bands of that era of music, by their haircuts and mannerisms. Then the video transitions to the Beatles impersonation, the drummer stands out here, copying Ringo's mannerisms exactly. Then it goes to the first color segment, in full psychedelic power, impersonating 70s era personalities like Jimmi Hendrix. Another segment dedicated to the 70s rock scene in general, the scene reminds me of the Rock Band game, which features this song. Then to a David Bowie segment, glam rock get-ups with the bassist looking like Bowie instead of the singer. Then back to black and white with a Sex Pistols segment highlighting 70s Punk era. Jumping into the 80s with goth rock with the singer made up with a devil-lock hairstyle, signature hairstyle of Glenn Danzig from the The Misfits. Then the segment featuring Hair-Metal, the heavier 80s version of Glam, with the band dressed-up like Poison or Motley Crue. Cut to the candle lit Nirvana parody, which is my personal favorite, getting through the 90s grunge era. Finally the band gets up to date, with the band being themselves, but the singers outfit does suggest Green Day.

The rest of the music video takes place in the modern era with pieces of the past eras cut in. Though tribute impersonation, the Peppers' show the history of their medium. This is caricature as homage. The Peppers' are very aware of what came before and their own place in rock music. To me that makes this one of the best music videos ever made.


  1. Personally, I think it would have been funnier if they had found look-alikes so that you thought it was the Peppers dressing up as Elvis/Bowie etc...and then you realized it was not even them. But that would have been unsatisfying for many.

  2. A lot of tribute bands to popular rock sensations are considered even more pure than the bands themselves these days. It's funny that caricatures of real bands can draw as much attention.

    Les Zepplin for example are women who play the all male bands tracks. I think this means that carbon imitations aren't carbon and hold spirit and are more down to earth than real bands now.

    Tribute bands and imagery are caricatures that just hold the aesthtics that make music appealing and make us realise if its video advertising or the music that makes us obsesse over them.