THE GREYBOY ALLSTARS
SCI FIDELITY RECORDS/KNOWLEDGE ROOM RECORDINGS
Josh Hassin & Matt Goldman
April 4, 2008
Hey, everybody, it’s Andy Gesner from HIP Video Promo, here with another irresistible clip from a longtime indie favorite. We can’t speak for everybody, but we think that puppets in music videos always steal the show. And when you want a puppet, why not go to the best? The Monkey Boys have built and performed the plush characters for shows such as Avenue Q, Book of Pooh, Go Diego Go! Live, Little Shop Of Horrors, and countless adverts and shorts. Their style – think Muppets with an edge – is instantly recognizable, and their unerring ability to bring their characters’ personalities to vivid life in a few gestures has won them fans around the world. Those most familiar with the Monkey Boys for their work in offbeat kids’ productions may be surprised to know that they also have performed the puppets for the decidedly-adult Crank Yankers. They’ve got no problem representing grownup entertainers – as their all-puppet incarnation of The Greyboy Allstars (and their audience) demonstrates!
Then again, it’s easy to see why puppeteers would be attracted to The Greyboy Allstars. The five members of the San Diego soul-jazz band exude personality: each musician brings a distinct style and character to the collective. What Happened To Television?, the group’s latest release, is the Allstars’ first set of new material in a decade, but that doesn’t mean the members haven’t been busy. DJ Greyboy has continued to release records under his own name; charismatic sax man and founding member Karl Denson has fronted several bands of his own; electrifying B-3 organist Robert Walter has toured with (among many others) Fred Wesley, Steve Kimock, and Phil Upchurch; Elgin Park (aka Michael Andrews) has scored the critically praised films Donnie Darko and Me and You & Everyone We Know; electrifying B-3 organist Robert Walter has toured with (among many others) Fred Wesley, Steve Kimock, and Phil Upchurch. What Happened To Television? – and the tour that followed its celebrated release – brings back the original Greyboy Allstars lineup that helped spark the soul-jazz renaissance of the mid-Nineties. The five instrumentalists were pretty stunning back then; now, with ten years’ further experience in cross-pollinating American musical styles, they’re absolutely unstoppable.
The hip-shaking “Still Waiting” may just be the most irresistible thing they’ve ever recorded. Beginning with a scratchy guitar riff and a spare, funky drumbeat, it soon explodes into a groove altogether worthy of the Meters. (The track even opens with a Neville-style scream!) In classic New Orleans style, the cut is punctuated by thrilling saxophone and Hammond organ rides, but it’s the emotive, soulful lead vocal that makes “Still Waiting” so undeniable. As always, all five Greyboy Allstars turn in remarkable instrumental performances: rarely has a band this tight ever sounded so relaxed and cool.
Unsurprisingly, Greyboy Allstars shows often become dance parties. A video of the wild moves and motion on the floor at an Allstars performance would have suited “Still Waiting” just fine; instead, directors Josh Hassin and Matt Goldman have upped the ante considerably. In their inspired clip, everybody in the concert hall – from the band to the bartender to the patrons shaking it to the backbeat – is a Monkey Boys puppet. The puppets representing the Allstars themselves are detailed and expressive, and really do seem to be performing the song; such is the magic of the Monkey Boys animation. Out in the audience, we encounter all the familiar types: the dancefloor bully, the sexy rug-cutter, kissing couples and fall-down drunks at the bar, the poor old man whose refreshment keeps getting spilled. So engrossing and lifelike are the characters that you may forget you’re watching plushies, and that the actual puppetry involved in the “Still Waiting” clip is near-heroic in its complexity. In one sequence, a patron gets mad that another clubgoer is dancing with his girl: he picks up the offender, swings him by his ankles, and throws him onstage where he crash-lands atop the organ. Unfazed, the puppet Robert Walter clears him away with one arm, and launches into his solo with another!
Many thanks to Matt Hogan at SCI Fidelity Records for allowing us to bring you this awesome clip! Please be in touch for copies of What Happened To Television? if you’re interested in setting up a contest or on-air giveaway. If you need more info, call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779 or e-mail us at info@HIPVideoPromo.com. You can also visit www.SCIFidelity.com to find out more about The Greyboy Allstars.
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