People with Passion
Ryan Anderson of Go Long Mule
May 2, 2011
On April 27, Go Long Mule‘s music video “Mean Old Dog” won the second “3 Music Videos You Haven’t Seen Yet” contest at ChicagoNow’s Lists That Actually Matter, topping Young General’s “Snow Night” and Derek Nelson & The Musicians’s “Backwater Town.”
Now, in this interview with ChicagoNow’s Jack M Silverstein, lead singer and songwriter Ryan Anderson discusses the making of the song and its video.
I used to work downtown for McGraw Hill, and I hated my job. I remember riding home on the train, just a packed train, and words kind of popped in my head. Got home. Wrote the song. And it’s a depressing song. (Laughs.) It’s not the happiest song in the world. Our bass player Adam Mormolstein was talking about doing a video. You never want to take yourself too seriously, and he had this idea, this ridiculous hand puppet from the late 80s. He was like, “You know what, man? We should do our own video with this thing. Do something with this hand puppet.”
The two of us got together one afternoon and dressed the thing up. It was our attempt to be Jim Henson. It’s the same puppet, but we dressed it a bunch of different ways, and set it up to be like those cheesy videos of bands recording, like when the Beatles Anthology came back, and they had that “Real Love” song, and it was all of them goofing off around the studio. We wanted to do that with this stupid puppet. We just spent an afternoon with him videotaping it and me kind of doing the motions with the hand puppets, and it turned into them being drunken hand puppets. It was just fun. We were just messing around.
This is the first video we’ve done on our own. We’re kind of on a big do-it-yourself kick. We did this video ourselves, and we’re just finishing recording a record ourselves, and we do all our own artwork and design. We really like the DIY aspect of being in a band.
What pushed you to that, other than possibly necessity?
Mostly necessity. (Laughs.) Poverty pushes you to do a lot of stuff like that. If you have an idea, sometimes it’s easiest to do it ourselves, instead of trying to communicate what we’re thinking to somebody else. Adam, who videotaped and edited it, is a really creative guy. He likes to sit down and hammer that out. We ended up making a lot of stupid videos that we’ve put up of us just sitting around playing. The way it is with a band now, you always have to be putting stuff up. You have to remind people that you’re around. And sometimes hand puppets are the best way to do that.
Jack M Silverstein covers music, sports, and culture in Chicago. His book “Our President” is available at Amazon. Hit him up on Twitter @ReadJack, and follow his work at ChicagoNow’s Lists That Actually Matter.
* Read a different version of this interview at the Performer Magazine blog.
* New “3 Music Videos You Haven’t Seen Yet” coming next Wednesday!
* Want your music video included in the contest? Tweet Jack a link @ReadJack with hashtag #3MV, or email him at Jack@ReadJack.com.