Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on Feb 17th 2010 3:00PM by Anna Dimond
For the uninitiated, a Rube Goldberg is a complex series of mechanical, physical and chemical reactions, where each event in the chain triggers the next. In the new video, the machine will not only set off reactions like balloons popping and elevators dropping, but will also serve as a well-timed vessel for the band itself, using both humans and objects as part of the chain reaction.
For Kulash, the Rube Goldberg is simply fun, letting him live out childhood fantasies -- and live up to his genetic predisposition to all things mechanical. "As you can see from my Dad up there," Kulash says, pointing to his father, waving from a warehouse platform, "the leaf does not fall far from the tree. I love this s---." The elder Kulash is a retired civil engineer.
"I guess I've always been obsessed with this," the singer says, as he strides through the video's set. "When I was a kid, all I did was play with Legos. I wanted [to build] a truck that sort of turned into Optimus Prime, but mine was [going to be] the coolest, and it never really got there. And maybe that's what this is: Me finally [building it], saying, 'F--- you! I can do it!'"
Yet, creating a Rube Goldberg on such a massive scale required intricate planning and a focused set of parameters that stayed true to the band's ethos. "The thing that made [the video] difficult was communicating the narrowness of things that we think work, because everybody has a slightly different tolerance for what is cheating," Kulash explains. "Our rules are basically, 'it all has to be stuff that people with enough time could conceivably build themselves, all using more or less found parts.'"
A look to the band's roots underscores this dynamic relationship among success, scale and simplicity. In 2005, OK Go hit the mainstream radar with their goofy treadmill video for 'Here It Goes Again.' The carefully-choreographed routine became a viral sensation and lent the band a new level of name recognition. "One good thing about the ridiculous numbers on the treadmill video is that it's pretty safe to assume we never could have that numerical success again. The way the Internet works has changed so much. It's so much less anarchic now, that numbers like that need to be bought.
"There's equally meaningful successes that you can have in different ways," Kulash continues, "but the good thing is that it would be ridiculous for us to try to gun for numbers because there's literally no way it could happen."
While the new video for 'This Too Shall Pass' is scheduled to premiere Feb. 22, it isn't the first that the band has created for the song. The original clip featured a marching band and was a live, carefully-orchestrated performance. The new edition, which was made in partnership with State Farm, is for the recorded version and is meant to remain true to the band's DIY-style while still impressing the inner geek in all of us.
"The reason why we tend toward things that are one-shot or tend towards things that are homemade-looking is that, first of all, they are things that we make and we want them to be seen as things we make," Kulash says. "We also like things that are clearly a document of a real event, so it's less that you're seeing some presented film, and more like, this thing happened. That doesn't have to be the case, but it does make things feel much more like the viewer is experiencing this with us."