Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Sean Paul Murphy, Writer
Sean Paul Murphy, Writer

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Greg Kihn: Horror Show

Baltimore native Greg Kihn had a couple of Top 5 hits including "The Break Up Song" and "Jeopardy" back in the glorious 1980s.  He was even cool enough to have Weird Al do a parody of one of his songs, but, to me, the most impressive album he did was for my friend Jack Heyrman's Clean Cuts label.  The album was called "Mutiny" and I just loved it.

Greg came back to Baltimore to do a follow-up to "Mutiny" called "Horror Show," and I was invited to edit the video.  It was directed by David Butler and the performance segments were shot entirely in my house.  Why my house?  Because I had a screening room in my basement and a bunch of 16mm projectors.  David wanted to do a black and white video with film footage being projected over him.  The original thought was to project footage from public domain horror films like "Night of the Living Dead" over him singing the song.  However, Jack also had some terrific 16mm home movies his father, who had served in the OSS, took in Germany right after the end of World War II.  That's the bulk of the footage we used.  And it was perfect.

When Greg arrived at my humble abode, we soon discovered we had something in common.  No, not musical genius.  He had enough of that for both of us.  No, it was a love of film.  He noticed I had a copy of a magazine called The Big Reel where film collectors traded their wares. Greg didn't collect films, but he said he once had a sizable collection of movie posters.   Groovy.

After we completed the performance portion of the video, Dave and I snuck into the most scenic and ritzy boneyard in Baltimore:  Greenmount Cemetery.  The final resting for generals, admirals, senators, congressmen, judges, governors, mayors, writers, athletes and even Presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth.  Greenmount is very particular about who they let film in their cemetery so we neglected to inform them of our presence.  Guerilla filmmaking at its best.

The video was a labor of love, which is another way of saying extremely low-budget.  I think David shot it himself on High 8.  I edited it on the Avid at Sheffield Audio Video Recording.  I didn't make a cent on job.  Jack had done us all too many favors over years.  I was only too happy to do one for him.  Plus, now I can always brag that Greg Kihn (CENSORED) at my house.

I really enjoyed the song and the video.  It always make me kind of sad about guys like Greg.  I think he was doing the best work of his career, but the radio stations weren't listening like they used to back in the 1980s.

Their loss!

Here's the video:

Some other fun videos I edited:
Crack The Sky: Mr. President
Nils Lofgren: Alone
Face Dancer: Red Shoes

Be sure to check out my book The Promise, or the Pros and Cons of Talking with God.  It is available in paperback and on Kindle courtesy of TouchPoint Press.

1 comment:

  1. Great post about Kihn, one of the all-time best of the singer-songwriter-power-poppers. I'd go so far as to say the radio stations didn't even really listen to Kihn as much as they could have in the '80s. Sure, "The Break-Up Song" and "Jeopardy" were both terrific and both charted yet Kihn had a string of singles worthy of radio play and chart success. These included "Happy Man," "Testify," "Lucky," "Reunited," "Love & Rock 'n Roll" and several others. Thankfully in North Jersey the great rock station WDHA gave Kihn his do by playing these singles and they'd show up at odd hours on MTV, but by and large they weren't shown the same love as Kihn's two hits. But we know better.