Let Time Be Still

Greg Johnson, Music Video, 2000

Inspired by the words of poet James K Baxter, ‘Let Time Be Still' was one of 12 songs recorded for 2000 tribute album Baxter. With help from studio whizz Joost Langeveld, Greg Johnson goes for a spare, percussive approach which puts the lyrics of Baxter's early love poem at front and centre. The video merges blue-washed images of Johnson in and around Jerusalem, with the long-haired, mokoed object of his affection. In 2010 the poem was given a more classical treatment by composer Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal.  

Liberty

Greg Johnson, Music Video, 1997

Auckland troubadour Greg Johnson won the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll songwriting award for 1997 with this moody, tortured love song from his fourth album (and first for a major label), Chinese Whispers. The elegant, uncluttered video was directed and edited by Jonathan King. The video was shot in the Auckland suburbs of Newmarket and Parnell. With a narrative straight out of Hitchcock, Johnson is cast as narrator — and both the victim and accomplice of a blonde femme fatale in what appears to be a murder ... with a mysterious handbag the only clue.

Cut to the Chase

Greg Johnson, Music Video, 2000

This music video features Greg Johnson sitting in front of a kaleidoscopic green screen, while the backdrop changes through green paddock to wavy blue, and everything in between. Alongside the Kiwi scenery, Johnson sings of a woman he is extremely keen to know better. The clip’s final shot reveals a different locale than expected. 'Cut to the Chase' is taken from 2000 album Sea Breeze Hotel, which NZ Herald writer Russell Baillie praised as expressive and wide-ranging.

Looking Out on Monday

Greg Johnson, Music Video, 2008

The lyrics to Greg Johnson's ‘Looking out on Monday’ pay tribute to the satisfaction of sleeping in, and skiving off work; they also mention recognising that “failure is in your lover’s eyes”. Johnson's long time musical collaborator Ted Brown appears in the video as the friend who pops over to Greg's place (in Los Angeles?) to say hello. 'Looking Out on Monday' is taken from 2008's Seven Day Cure, which NZ Herald critic Russell Baillie called “one of the most fully realised Johnson albums yet”. The track was included in Dustin Hoffman / Emma Thompson romance Last Chance Harvey.

Don't Wait Another Day (featuring Boh Runga)

Greg Johnson, Music Video, 1995

This cautionary tale about the perils of lost love comes from singer-songwriter Greg Johnson's third album Vine Street Stories (named for the address of the Auckland house where it was recorded). Director James Holt (a flatmate at the time) shot the clip on 35mm and gave it a rich, golden-hued setting of brocades, leathers, candles and curtains to showcase musicians including Pagan Records founder (and broadcaster) Trevor Reekie and Johnny Fleury (father of Zowie) on Chapman Stick. Boh Runga contributes vocals (around the time she formed her own band Stellar*).

Isabelle

Greg Johnson, Music Video, 1992

Written and recorded in less than a day, Isabelle became Greg Johnson's biggest single to date, despite the fears of guitarist and label boss Trevor Reekie that a lack of drums limited its radio chances. The enigmatic lyrics — memory, cities under siege, a woman from Zagreb — are complimented by moody images of future Shortland Street actor Josephine Davison, and the band in obligatory sunglasses. Director James Holt now directs commercials around the globe.

Lovers +

Hallelujah Picassos, Music Video, 1992

After releasing a couple of cassettes and EPs, Hallelujah Picassos unveiled their debut album Hateman in Love in 1992, which included this single. Their genre-bending sound, incorporating elements of ska, hip-hop, punk, and indie rock made them a staple of the Auckland live scene. Frontman Roland Rorschach takes centre stage in the Bruce Sheridan directed video, performing over images of the band playing while being observed by men in white protective suits. Also featured are the talents of Greg Johnson on trumpet, and Alice Latham on saxophone.   

Sweet Disorder

Strawpeople, Music Video, 1995

Strawpeople Paul Casserly and Mark Tierney took themselves to Hong Kong (with guest vocalist Leza Corban) for this video. Corban's jazzy vocal and the chilled beats contrast with the hustle and bustle of the cityscape (still under the flight path of Kai Tak airport at the time). The trumpet is courtesy of Greg Johnson and the sampled voice is Richard Nixon talking to the Apollo 11 astronauts on the moon. Co-written by Tierney and Casserly with Anthony Ioasa, Sweet Disorder won the 1995 APRA Silver Scroll for songwriting, plus the songwriting gong at the 1996 NZ Music Awards.

Beautiful Skin

Strawpeople, Music Video, 1995

Vocalist Victoria Kelly is very much the focus of this moody Strawpeople video. Singing enigmatically of dreams, knives and possible obsession— and magically changing outfits off camera, in patented music vid style  she performs in a shadowy, red-lit dive for an audience that consists of Strawpeople founders Paul Casserly and Mark Tierney. Tierney left the group in 1996. Plans for Victoria Kelly to take on a bigger role in Strawpeople would be derailed by her increasingly busy career as a film composer. ‘Beautiful Skin’ was composed by Strawpeople collaborator Greg Johnson.