'Circus Kids' was the second single from Bike’s sole long-play record Take In The Sun. It is a prime example of the layered, classically-inspired arrangements and pop songcraft that frontman Andrew Brough had touched on in his previous band Straitjacket Fits. In this swirling, elegantly-gothic promo video, an innocent young boy goes a-wandering, and discovers the seedy underbelly of circus life — all rendered in lush black and white by director Jonathan King, and veteran cinematographer Neil Cervin.
In 1992 songwriter and guitarist Andrew Brough left Straitjacket Fits, determined to perform his own brand of "f***ing uplifting pop music". Three years later he formed Bike with drummer Karl Buckley and bassist Tristan Mason. Debut single 'Save My Life' was a finalist in the APRA Silver Scrolls. Brough was a fan of sunny, West Coast guitar jangle and 'Save My Life' has a bob each way: guitars chime, while a morbid lyric ('Don't you try and save my life /cos' I'm already dead') floats overhead. Director Mark Tierney chooses a dreamy palette which combines orange with monochrome.
From Straitjacket Fits’ third and final album Blow, ‘If I Were You’ keeps its hand on the sonic brake, while providing contrast with the melodic sounds of recently departed bandmember Andrew Brough. Director Andrew Dominik’s moody music video accents Shayne Carter’s niggly ‘agony uncle’ lyrical advice via fireworks, watery prism effects and lip close-ups. The Fits’ final single made APRA’s Top 100 Kiwi song list. Dominik went on to direct Chopper, Killing Them Softly and acclaimed Nick Cave documentary One More Time with Feeling.
The first single from the final Straitjacket Fits album features a typically oblique Shayne Carter lyric hinting at despair and defiance — possibly touching on the departure of founding member Andrew Brough. The overcast lyrical content and lurching, hard edged guitars find their match in this black and white video from director Andrew Dominik, which shrouds the band in studio shadows. Dominik went on to direct lauded films Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Killing Them Softly (the latter two starring Brad Pitt).
This video for Andrew Brough's band Bike features the group playing in a moving caravan, which is being driven by a frazzled father (Topless Women Talk about their Lives actor Ian Hughes). Says director Jonathan King: "I had a vision of Shayne Carter in mirror shades playing a policeman. He agreed on the condition he wouldn't shave his mo. Of course it just added to the moment. Ian Hughes brought his new puppy, Olive, along because he had no one to look after it, so we integrated it into the action. In fact much of the fun stuff he does was him just improvising on the day."
The Straitjacket Fits were one of the most accomplished of the 1980s Dunedin bands. 1987 EP Life In One Chord spawned driving guitar classic 'She Speeds'. The unlikely melding of Shayne (Dimmer) Carter's snarling sonic edge and Andrew Brough's pop instincts saw world domination hailed as imminent. In 1992 Melody Maker called them the weirdest and best guitar band in the world. After Hail, Melt and Brough-less third album Blow, they disbanded in 1994. They were inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Andrew Brough was the McCartney to Shayne Carter's Lennon when Straitjacket Fits led the southern charge, during Flying Nun's late 80s golden age. After leaving the band, eager to develop more of his own material, Brough rolled back into the spotlight in 1995 with Bike. 'Save My Life', from their debut EP, was a songwriting finalist at the 1996 Silver Scrolls, and featured in classic Dunedin movie Scarfies. Bike were nominated as most promising new band at the 1997 NZ Music Awards. Bike's sole album Take In The Sun affirmed Brough's status as an eminent crafter of yearning, liquid guitar pop.
This is one of four videos directed by Kiwi-born Andrew Dominik for band Straitjacket Fits. The brooding, disdainful 'Cat Inna Can' was the first single from the the Fits' third album, Blow, recorded in LA after the departure of guitarist Andrew Brough. The meowing guitars are matched with circling, swooping camerawork, in a video shot in a Sydney warehouse and cooling tower. Dominik went on to direct acclaimed crime films Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Killing Them Softly — the latter two starring Brad Pitt.
At one point Mike King was so famous, he appeared on three TV channels on the same night.
Starting in the late 1980s, Matt Elliott was a pioneering Kiwi stand-up comedian. He has gone on to write 1997 book Kiwi Jokers: The Rise and Rise of New Zealand Comedy and a 2009 bio of Billy T James.