“Up yours, up mine, but up everybody’s, that takes time. But we’re working on it.” (10cc: The Worst Band In The World, 1974)
I am in the worst music video ever made. It is not up for debate; neither is it likely to be surpassed at any time in the future. To be fair, I’m not the sole recipient of this not so coveted award. The whole band are in it. But, just to rub salt in my celluloid wounds, I wrote the bloody song too. To clarify things, here’s what I found by Googling “Singles released from 2XS.”
“The lead single, Love Leads To Madness, reached number 3 in South Africa and the song itself was a US radio staple peaking at number 19 on the Billboard Rock chart. The second single, Games, failed to chart elsewhere. The third one, Dream On, was a European hit released in early 1983 by Phonogram/Vertigo reaching number 1 in Poland, number 2 in Switzerland, number 4 in Austria and number 15 in Germany. Initially written by Billy Rankin and recorded as a demo in 1979 with an additional verse being penned by Manny Charlton in 1982 during the recording of 2XS, Dream On became one of their most popular tracks.”
Oh, if only we could end it here, but that would be to leave out the cringeworthy details. When Phonogram/Vertigo informed us of Dream On’s imminent release in Europe, we were midway through the first part of the 2XS North American tour and, to be honest, we’d expected it. Madness and Games hadn’t exactly set the heather alight, so why not? “We need a video ASAP,” a telegram from Germany said and thus began a Comedy of Errors. I’m paraphrasing John Lennon here, but this only happens when you’re too busy to keep your eye on the ball, i.e. someone else takes the ball and runs with it. Whoever this someone was, they’d decided the only time we had to shoot a video would be after the final gig of the tour in Pasadena CA, which just so happens to be near the film capital of the world.
In this world, there was part of a film set left over from a movie called Battle Beyond The Stars which starred Richard Thomas (or John-Boy Walton to us) and we could use it to make our very own Sci-fi music video. I don’t recall who was in charge, or who we were listening to here, but I will refer to him as Bawjaws for the rest of the story. Bawjaws must’ve had an English-based upbringing cos I distinctly remember him referencing Sci-fi puppeteer, Gerry Anderson, when he said our spaceship would be similar to Fireball XL5, but instead called Fireball 2XS. That way, we could wear 2XS on our spacesuits creating a subliminal message for viewers of the video to buy the album. Bawjaws was off his trolley, but he hadn’t finished yet.
“Who’s your frontman?” “Me!” said our frontman, raising his hand. “Right. You’ll be Captain Kirk,” said Bawjaws. “Wait. Shouldn’t that be Steve Zodiac?” I interjected, showing my knowledge of all things Fireball XL5. “Button It!” said Darrell, so I did. “You’ll be Captain Dan,” (some of you will get that) was Bawjaws’ compromise “And there’ll be a hot chick as your love interest.” After calming Dan down, cos he’d already gotten shit from his wife over the Madness video, we agreed this sounded like a good plot. Even Bawjaws’ ludicrous observation that we’d all need a ton of makeup to look good was grudgingly accepted after another few drinks. We were all drunk. We had to be. But, Bawjaws still wasn’t finished.
“There’s a Dwarf involved.”