The Red Hot Chili Peppers recently debuted the video for the lead-off single from their new album I’m With You, the first video to feature new guitarist Josh Klinghoffer. The video for “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” shows the band playing on a California rooftop with an unsuspecting crowd soon gathering to witness the performance.

Sound familiar? The video has two prominent thematic “flash mob” predecessors, the Beatles’ rooftop sessions and U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name” video, which won the Grammy Award for Best Performance Music Video that year. When asked about the similarity, “Streets” director Meiert Avis reacted with sarcasm.

“Love the George Harrison slide guitar sound,” Avis quipped in an email this week. “As for the video concept, the idea wasn’t original when I ripped it off more than twenty years ago. Since then it has been cloned many times with varying degrees of skill. To pull it off you have to push the envelope a bit further each time. It takes balls. Rage Against the Machine had balls.” [Editor’s note: Rage Against The Machine shot a similar performance video on Wall Street for their song “Sleep Now In The Fire”]

“If you want to rip somebody off better, call me,” he said.

Avis has little patience for the Chili Peppers’ attempt, a video directed by Marc Klasfeld. “A flash mob on Venice beach on a Sunday in mid summer is cheating,” Avis said. “The long lenses and roof height make it all a dispassionate yawn. The band turned in a great performance, but I feel nothing at 250 mm [citing the long lens measurement]. Pretty light, though.”

Avis also said he believes this version will hopefully put a last nail in the coffin for this repeated concept. “Thankfully, it looks like this time the Peppers have stuck a fork in it for a generation.”

Avis also noted that the credit that directors used to receive has been diminished more and more, and with the MTV Video Music Awards tonight, he feels the director will get sidelined when the Moonman for Best Video is awarded.

“These are indeed dark times for music video directors,” Avis said. “It will be surprising if they even credit the director of the so called ‘Best Video’ at the VMA’s this year. One day, artists will show up for the ‘creative rights’ of their music video directors. Until then music video directors have no respect, even for each other. We have become uncredited ‘workers for hire’ in a post-modern virtual Brill building. Pathetic.”

To see if he’s right, tune into the VMA’s tonight on MTV.

 

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