"He is a friend, and he is an unassuming hero. I also think the fact that he is both awkward and a shy newspaper reporter makes him like everybody else. And yet he has another identity, this larger-than-life superhero. Sometimes we feel like Clark Kent, and sometimes, if we are lucky, we feel like Superman.” - Christopher Reeve
BEFORE YOU WATCH THIS VIDEO, BE WARNED THAT THERE ARE IMAGES THAT MAY BE DISTURBING TO WATCH.
*UPDATE: I'VE DECIDED TO GIVE ALL OF THE PROCEEDS FROM NEDA AND VOX TO UNITED FOR IRAN. TO Get VOX, NEDA AND TO SUPPORT PEACE AND LOVE IN IRAN: kawehi.bandcamp.com/album/vox
First up off of VOX: NEDA. Neda Agha-Soltan was a 26 year old woman who died by a fatal shot to the chest by Iranian authorities during the 2009 election protests. Her death was captured on video by bystanders, put on the internet, and went viral around the world. Neda became the face of Iran's democracy movement - and the voice of women in Iran. An anonymous Kickstarter song pledger gave me free reigns to write about whatever I wanted - and after hours of research on NEDA, I didn't feel right about writing another silly love song. There are more important voices that need to be heard - and this time, I choose for it to belong to one woman: Neda.
Everything about this video and song were done by Paul and I. The entire track is all vocals - everything you hear was a sound made by me. I wanted VOX to be simple - one instrument, one me. And the video - was shot with no money, no crew - just Paul and his one camera. We did the best we could - with the little we had - and I'm pretty happy with the outcome. Who says you can't accomplish anything DIY?
I chose to include real footage in the video - and although it is very sensitive material, I thought it was important for everyone to witness. She is an inspiration to me and to us all as a human race.
The story of the original Classical Gas Video and its re-creation:
The "Classical Gas Video," as it has come to be known, started out as a student film in 1963 entitled "God is Dog Spelled Backwards." The film was created by UCLA film student, Dan McLaughlin, who used Beethoven's 5th Symphony as the original soundtrack. McLaughlin's idea was to bring together the world's greatest art and the world's greatest music to create the world's greatest film. He came damn close.
After seeing the film in early 1968, Mason Williams, writer for the Smothers Brothers and composer of Classical Gas, approached McLaughlin about replacing the music with his (Williams') composition, a successful Top 40 record at the time. The revamped music video was first shown on the Summer Brothers Smothers Show (the Smos. Bros. summer replacement hosted by Glen Campbell), in June, 1968, and then twice more throughout the year. The video has since passed into legend (some call it one of the very first music videos), while Classical Gas, due in part to the impact of the video, became one of the largest selling instrumental recordings of all time.
As with many others who saw the video at the time, I was just a kid (10 years and 9 months, to be exact) and I was awestruck. The video made an incalculable impression on me, so much so that it's one of the seminal moments that drew me to video editing. When I’d gotten a bit older, I set out trying to find a copy of the original, contacting CBS, the Museum of Broadcasting in NYC, and libraries around the country. Unfortunately, it was not to be found anywhere.
When the internet got up to speed, I was hopeful that the video would eventually show up online. Again, no luck. Finally I looked into the story of the video's creation and those involved and it became clear that with all the copyright issues, it seemed unlikely that all of the parties would ever come to an agreement necessary to release it. Realizing this, and finally out of patience after almost 40 years, I assigned myself the task of re-creating it. I found a copy of the original student film, re-edited it for timing to Classical Gas, and the Classical Gas Video was reborn. Give or take a few frames here and there, it is nearly identical to the actual video that aired on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1968.
Even though I initially re-created the video for my own amusement, I soon realized that if I had such fond memories of it, others might as well. Before being pulled from YouTube back in the day when they actually enforced copyright infringement, the video had been viewed more than 500,000 times. A true testament to the power of a video that, in its original form, aired only three times over 40 years ago!