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Why Do Bands Love to Make "Fish Out of Water" Videos? Even Kim Deal Is Down in Her Latest Clip

Check out a slew of our favorite examples of this music video trope.
November 20, 2014, 7:42pm

It's pretty tough to make a compelling music video, epecially if you don't have a Bey-sized budget with which to accomplish your objective. If you're a metal band, you're going to end up either yelling in a room, on a stage, in the woods, or to no one in some artsy-fartsy fantasy scenario. If you're making a rap video, you'll probably just film you hanging out with your friends near a flaming trash can. If you're more of the indie rock type, there will be lots of long, lingering glances and earnest mic-gripping. If you're dropping a club banger, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that neon and shiny shit will be involved. What I'm saying is, there aren't that many options out there, unless you're prepared to get really creative (or really weird, which is not always appreciated). One of the music business' most beloved tropes, though, is the "fish out of water" (FOOW) video, which has been used by scores ot artists to hilarious effect. Here, we're either treated to the oh-so-wacky sight of the band dropped into an unfamiliar or unexpected scenario, or, conversely, we find ourselves watching unfamiliar or unexpected characters taking over the band's environment. The key is, of course, the unfamiliar/unexpected angle. No one's going to be that impressed if you add another long-haired dude into your metal band's video, but what about if, say, your mum and a load of her gal pals showed up instead? The cheeky Northerners behind Bury, UK deathgrind troupe Foetal Juice were brave enough to ask themselves that very question, and the result is fucking brilliant.

Or, maybe you're the type who'd rather hit the books than flail around in a factory. I'm not sure how historically accurate this classic clip from Wu Tang may be, but there's no denying that this ultra-literal interpretation of "Gravel Pit" is a thing of absolute perfection.

Even indie rock goddesshead Kim Deal has gotten in on the fun with the new, Lance Bangs-directed clip for her airy new song,

"Biker Gone."

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The tune was recorded by Steve Albini and features Deal and her Breeders bandmates Kelly Deal and Britt Walford as funeral home workers taking a break from prepping for a biker's wake. The trio thrum through a gently sinister tune while the streets outside are crammed with mourning bikers (played by Dayton chapters of The Uncontrollable Women, The Posse, and The Made Men). It's not as depressing as you might expect; rather, there's something amost sweet about watching these apron-clad rockers of a certain age mingle with their grizzled co-stars.

RVA's Municipal Waste has always been heavy on the fun factor, but their gory, goofy, masterfully absurd video for "Wrong Answer" just might be the pinnacle of these Virginia thrashers' artistic canon. Vanna White, eat your vodka-pickled heart out.

Cool Rock Guy Extraordinaire Dave Grohl got in on the FOOW ground floor with the Foo Fighters' 1999 hit "Learn to Fly." The part where he's in a fat suit is kind of fucked up, but overall, it looks like air travel wouldn't be quite the Lovecraftian nightmare it currently is if American Airlines kept the Foos on hand for every flight.

Tech death titans Revocation's video for "The Grip Tightens" combines time travel with the FOOW method, and the resulting clip is funny enough to make you want to smack your (grand)mama. Someone needs to tell ol' boy in the suspenders to keep his hands to himself, though.

Here on The Internet, we're contractually obliged to include a reference to Kanye West in any and every music-related post. Luckily, his daredevil turn as a well-turned-out, 70s chic Evel Knievel stand-in for the video for "Touch the Sky" is so dope, we're not even mad about it. After all, what's good enough for Pam Anderson is good enough for us.

Kim Kelly has fallen down a Youtube wormhole on Twitter.