By Heidi Batt
The first presidents show I went to was in the summer of '94. Jason was a friend of mine and I was very excited to see him play in his new band. I'd heard their tape several times and i loved it. But as much fun as their music was on tape, it didn't even compare to how great their live shows were. The guys were excited about playing and had a way of making everyone in the audience feel like a very important part of the band. I knew that they were going to make it big. And if they made it big, I had a chance of being in one of their videos. Just as I predicted, the presidents did make it big. So they filmed a video for "Lump". I was so excited because they asked me if I wanted to come to the filming and maybe be in the video. Of course I did! So i went and was filmed. They didn't use me. I was disappointed, but I got over it. The next video was "Peaches". They didn't need any extras besides the ninjas. I am not a ninja. They didn't use me. I was disappointed, but I got over it.
Then they were filming "Dune Buggy". I decided not to go because there was a lot of work to do in the office. So Anne went solo. About thirty minutes after she left she phoned me. "Do you want to be in this video?" She asked. "They need more people." I was there in ten minutes.
When I walked into the studio, the first thing I noticed was that there were people and food everywhere. There were Columbia people from LA and New York. The guys were there. There were people to run the video, people to run the cameras, people to do the sound, people to do wardrobe-a lot of important people. And there was food! There were fruit plates, cheese plates, bread plates and a chocolate rice krispies treat plate. That was quickly an empty plate.
I got called to the wardrobe room. There were many retro beach outfits for us to choose from. Anne immediately spied a green and yellow flowery tank dress for me. It was just right. I put it on with some very tall brown platform sandals and was ready to go. I felt like a superstar! Then I walked into the room where the video was being shot. There was a huge pile of sand on the floor with a fire in the middle of it. The fire seemed to be made of plastic logs with a light shining through red and orange cellophane strips. There were beach blankets spread around and a big log to sit on. Jason's drum kit was on the sand along with a microphone each for Dave and Chris. Above the sand pile, suspended from the ceiling, was a huge sound device that looked an awful lot like an alien space ship. It was amazing.
All the extras were called to a back room where we were given lyric sheets so that we could practice singing "Dune Buggy". (I, of course, knew all the words and didn't need the lyric sheet.) The audio for the video was going to be what we recorded that day rather than the CD version of the song, and so we got to sing along with the guys. Wow!
It was finally time for us to take our places. Roman Coppola, the director, gave us a little info about the video. We were to find a place to sit in the sand, anywhere we wanted, and then sing along, as loud as we could. We were also told to have fun. As he was explaining all of this I was trying to figure out where I could sit that would give me the best chance of being in the video. So I looked around and decided to sit my flowery dressed little behind right between Chris and Dave. Mike, our friend and merchandise guy, sat right next to me. It was all good.
While the sound was being checked and adjusted, we were told to sing. We started out with "Dune Buggy", but after a little while that got old. So the guys sang some different songs, like "tube amplifier". With the help of Mike, they rewrote Jason's verse of that song, replacing "I got myself a new hammer and pliers" with "I got myself a new cymbal supplier". It's hard to explain just how fun and clever Jason, Chris and Dave are. But I can say that we all had a great time just goofing around, laughing and singing. It felt like the early days of the band when they played small venues surrounded once everything was set up, we did three takes of the video. The guys sang and we sang with them. It was a sing-along with the Presidents. At the end of the song the fireworks went off. It was strange to have such big explosions inside. After the third take, we were all thanked and free to go.
It took about three weeks from the day of the shoot until the video was finished. When we finally saw the finished product we saw a colorful, fun PUSA video. And much to my delight I was in it, looking all goofy and having fun! So my dream finally came true. I got to be in a Presidents' video, and it was dang fun!