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.
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.
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.
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).
Set at Bethells beach and in a tunnel somewhere in Ellerslie, this award-winning video from Whale Rider director Niki Caro traces a sea nymph, a beating heart and an elderly gentleman's struggle with his hat. Clearly reluctant to move into the 90s, the eternally rock Shayne Carter looks splendid in dark eye shadow — a look he would later describe as "definitely a low point in rock". Bad Note for a Heart was judged best music video at the 1990 NZ Music Awards.
Director Andrew Dominik captures the dreamy essence of this early 90s gem superbly, while adding a slightly sinister edge (check out a sneering Shayne Carter). The use of colour over black and white, superimposed imagery (and "mouth cam") makes for a liquid delight. "Join the slide ..." Dominik went on to direct acclaimed features Chopper based on notorious Aussie crim Mark "Chopper" Read, starring Eric Bana; and The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, and Killing Them Softly, both starring Brad Pitt.
The title track and first single from the debut Straitjacket Fits album displays the trademark epic, brooding menace they did so well. An old brass tap dripping rust (or blood) and a plumber threatening with a wrench are among the disquieting scenes in the accompanying video; there is also a reaper figure running through the tunnels on Waiheke Island. The video effects of the period get a good workout, as do the carnival/merry-go-round images which graced the cover of the original record album (but not the subsequent CD versions, which used completely different artwork).
A triumph of imagination and creativity over budget, this now classic Jonathan Ogilvie clip cost just $250 to make, and the song is probably their best known. Coloured cellophane and a projector created the far out psychedelic look on the band members’ underwater heads; the performance shots capture the Fits on the back of a truck, going through the Lyttelton tunnel. The ever-cool Shayne Carter snarl is supported by an almost-mullet — apparently self-styled.