Michael Carney Canadian beardsmen the Sheepdogs are riding high again. Their…
- Posted on Aug 12th 2011 3:30PM by Aaron Brophy
Aaron Brophy for AOL
The Sheepdogs would say it again and we'd throw our hands in the air.
And when the line "Somebody please... HELP ME!" hit, the hundred-or-so hippie kids surrounding the makeshift stage in the middle of Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park on Thursday (Aug. 11) would furiously jazz-hand like a first-year theater class doing the counterpoint singing part in 'The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In)' from 'Hair.'
Spinner joined the wannabe flower children gathered in the sprawling field (in the oh-so picturesque dog park area, to be exact) to be an extra in the music video for 'I Don't Know,' the new single from Rolling Stone Cover Contest winners the Sheepdogs.
Extras had been told to "dress 'vintage,' 'Woodstockesque' (late-'60s/early-'70s)," and that "if anyone has VW buses or guitars, blankets etc., these things are all welcome." Sure enough, there was a pair of VW vans onsite (including one with the vanity license plate 'NACHOBUS'), along with a number of gals sporting wispy dresses and guitars, and dudes with bushy sideburns and leather vests. Neighbourhood fixture singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith also lurked around to watch for a bit, too.
Under regular circumstances a bunch of beardos and their fans commandeering a corner of the park normally reserved for golden retriever crapping wouldn't faze anyone. After all, artists with zero degrees of separation from Arcade Fire, Death From Above 1979 and Diamond Rings turned out the 'Friends in Bellwoods' record thanks to jams in this popular park. But the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, boogie-rockers known as the Sheepdogs have recently became a very big deal.
Aaron Brophy for AOL
It would make sense then that these improbable hoser-heroes would be doing things backwards and filming their first big-budget video after they've already become cover stars.
"We've done a couple [video] things, but they were very on-the-fly with our buddy Frank [Guidoccio]," Currie told Spinner about the band's video history. "He's worked on shoots like this and directed stuff, so he knows what he's doing, but we've done nothing with this kind of budget, or extras, or that sort of thing."
In fact, Currie hovered at the edge of the stage and confessed to a handful of extras (slightly awkwardly, too) before the first take, "We're as new at this as you guys." Director Davin Black did his best to calm nerves and offered up a pep talk before take two.
We had to show more energy. So the band could feel that energy. And then use that energy. And the end result would be a hot rock 'n' roll energy loop that would look like a Sookie-Eric sex scene from 'True Blood.' Except Black didn't actually say that last part. Mostly he just told us to wave our hands more.
So we did.
Aaron Brophy for AOL
"I thought it would be more painful than it has been," he said about his slick video. "But it's been relatively pain-free. Sometimes you do shoots and it's constantly setting up and everything. But y'know, we're just rockin' out to our song and people are having a good time."
And he was right. After a while it did get kind of fun -- and it wasn't just due to the Stockholm Syndrome brought on by hearing the same song played seven times in an hour. Once we got going, neither the pending sunstroke nor the ever-present wafts of dog doo could deflate our spirits.
Our community of extras had come together and, paradoxically, despite the fact that we were officially faking it for the camera crane swinging dangerously back and forth just over our heads, it all felt kinda genuine. We were in a music video and our flash-flood gathering (the call went out to extras only the day before the shoot) of more-attractive-than-average people were waving our hands in the air like we just didn't care.
The thing is, everyone did care. Which was the whole point to begin with. And if you randomly encounter a hippie kid who raises their arms in a reflexive Pavlovian response any time 'I Don't Know' comes on the radio, ask them if they spent a day at the dog park with the Sheepdogs. They probably did.