5/21/10 - Drivin N Cryin releases their long-awaited video for "I See Georgia" from their first album in 12 years, "The Great American Bubble Factory." Shot and edited in Atlanta between January and April 2010, the "I See Georgia" video was produced and directed by Atlanta's Rock 100.5 Regular Guy Eric Von Haessler.
When asked “So what do you do with a video these days?,” Eric responded...
"If I had a quarter for every time I’ve been asked that question since letting people know I was directing the new video for Drivin N Cryin… well, I’d have about $4.50- but you get my point. I’ve been hit with the question a number of times. My patent response became- ‘I don’t know, but they’re still important enough to compel Kanye to make an ass out of himself in front of the entire Pop universe. They still give out awards. Somebody must be watching.’
Kevn Kinney had been a guest on the morning show I co-host in Atlanta (The Regular Guys) a few times over the years. For 12 years our relationship fell in that weird area where you know each other but aren’t actually friends. Some of that was because he and the band seemed to drop off the radar for most of the 2000’s. I saw them live once in ’07 but they weren’t putting out albums or doing radio shows for the longest time. Then in the summer of ’09 Kevn came in and played acoustic versions of a couple songs from a new Drivin N Cryin album slated for release later that year.
When that album, ‘(Whatever Happened To The) Great American Bubble Factory’, was released, the full band came in for a special set and the songs were so tight I couldn’t wait to get home and listen to the CD. The album just blew me away and I immediately became an advocate for the cause. When I couldn’t find any of the tracks on Blip.fm I made YouTube versions of a couple of the songs in order to post them to my Facebook and other social networking sites. These videos had no visuals- just the album cover. But it was a way to get the audio tracks out to people who hadn’t heard them.
One day Ken Green from Vintage Earth Music thanked me for the help on my Facebook page and a dialogue was born. I half-jokingly responded that I would direct a video for ‘I See Georgia’ if the guys would only ask. A week later I was sitting at Fontaine’s with Kevn and Tim Nielsen discussing ideas and agreeing to proceed.
I was surprised to find the guys were open to visual presentations different from those in their previous videos. Kevn had just one demand, “Don’t put me in the middle of a field on a hot day.” A quick perusal of the earlier stuff made it clear that particular motif had been exhausted anyway.
The finished video bears almost no resemblance to the ideas bandied about that day at Fontaine’s- except that I didn’t want to do a literal video. In other words, I didn’t want to show an old radio when Kevn sang about an old radio. I like videos that tell a story using the song more as soundtrack than literal guide.
After tossing out my initial ideas- I listened to the song about 30 times in a row and paid attention to whatever kind of visuals came to mind. I settled on a story about a hipster couple riding in a top-down convertible to a destination unknown. During this trip the two would experience every emotion faced by couples within the course of a typical love affair- ecstasy, infatuation, pouting, near breakup, make-up sex, etc. Then they would make their way to their destination; an unorthodox wedding.
The story would bounce back and forth with the band performing the song. I decided to put the guys the farthest away from the middle of a field possible by presenting them before a green screen for the first time. I always took the song to be about being homesick. So rather than feature them in front of images only of the state of Georgia I opted for time-lapsed video from big cities around the world- New York, London, Paris- then Atlanta only in the last quarter of the video.
I was using Shawn Williams and Greg Russ as actors for a strange short film when all of this was going down. Since I had already shot them in some pretty hot and heavy scenes I simply suspended shooting on that project and cast them as the couple in the music video. That was one of the best decisions I made in this process. The synergy developed between the two on the short film we were working on blossomed into something that feels real and believable in the DnC video.
The video was taped on a Sony HD cam borrowed from a friend at CNN. In fact, everything about the making of this video was improvised. We begged, borrowed, and stole equipment, locations and editing help until we were able to whip up a finished product. 90% of the project was built, with the help of Rett Thompson, on a Mac Pro in a cubicle in the AV department of the radio station. Later we added some professional polish with sessions at Sabotage Film Group in Atlanta.
Working with Drivin n Cryin & their management has been a blast. The band and their brain trust left me to my own vision. Occasionally making suggestions but never dictating outcomes. I believe Drivin n Cryin is one of the great American bands. My hope is that the video for ‘I See Georgia’ will serve to turn a larger audience on to this great song… and spur more folks to checkout what I believe to be the best album of the year."
Eric Von Haessler