Rich Howells

VIDEO PREMIERE: Animated Wilkes-Barre band Cut Up Naked Teenagers can give ‘Anything But a Tomorrow’

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A beautiful summer day or a candlelit dinner would inspire most singer/songwriters to write a love song, but Elvis Aron Deadly is not most singer/songwriters.

Instead, cheesy B-movies and nuclear annihilation brought his latest single, “Anything But a Tomorrow,” to life – and imminent death – which is what Cut Up Naked Teenagers is all about.

“On its face value, the song is about young love and nuclear proliferation. Like this young couple knows the bombs are already in the air, they’re on their way, and we’re fucked, so let’s just make the most of this time together, you know? Let’s wish on the same hand-me-down stars everyone else has wished on for tonight to last forever. But the real heart of the song, the hook in the chorus, was actually inspired by an old sci-fi flick from the ‘60s called ‘This Is Not a Test.’

There’s a key scene where, much like the characters in the song, the people in the movie know the nukes are flying and everyone’s screwed, and this blue collar truck driver just wants to get laid one more time before the end of the world – who can’t relate to that? – and so he approaches this rich woman who’s just been berating her subservient husband for the whole flick and been a nightmare to deal with, just an absolute Karen. Anyway, the truck driver opens his rig and, in an effort to woo her into giving it up before they die, says something to the effect of, ‘Whatever you want, I can give it to you! You want toilets? I’ve got them! Furs? Everything I have is yours! I can give you anything but a tomorrow!’” he told NEPA Scene.

“That one line just really resonated with me, though I took it to a less base level. Like imagine just being so in love with someone and knowing you have this limited window of time to love and appreciate them before you’re both ash, and willing to go to any length to make sure that time together is perfect, willing to give them anything except the one thing you both need and want more than anything else, which is just another day of life. So, for me, the song has this very bittersweet sentiment to it that’s sugarcoated by up-beat guitar and poppy hooks and big wooahs.”

After producing their debut music video, the Wilkes-Barre horror punk band has once again teamed up with local music promotion and production team Camp Rattler to create a video for this darkly romantic track, through this time will be both the band and Camp Rattler’s first foray into animation by rotoscoping over live actors, inspired by the 2006 Richard Linklater film “A Scanner Darkly” starring Keanu Reeves.

“Elvis, Dalton, KRS, and I met a handful of times in late 2018 for some wickedly fun, creative sessions to begin to carve out what would be the series of videos that we wished to work on together,” video director and Camp Rattler founder James Callahan explained.

“In those talks, I had mentioned that I loved the cartoonized film ‘A Scanner Darkly.’ ‘Grease’ was also mentioned, as was ‘The Munsters.’ And what we ended up with was what we felt were our favorite elements of all three.”

The video is premiering today exclusively on NEPA Scene, and it will be the first time anyone sees it – including Deadly.

“I’ve actually only seen the full video in its unanimated form! I’ve seen some test animations of a few scenes that really just blew me away. I’ve always wanted to do a rotoscoped project à la ‘A Scanner Darkly,’ and this felt like it’d be such a fun, goofy, and colorful video to do animation over, with such a fun cast of characters. The comic book animation of it really makes it larger than life, which I love. The whole experience shooting this was such a blast. I mean, it was hard work and exhausting, and I ended up with severe second-degree burns because I didn’t think to wear sunscreen, but I think the end result is worth the suffering!” he recalled.

“Most importantly – the song is critically infectious. Elvis and the boys write great effing songs,” Callahan added. “It seemed like a no-brainer.”

The song will be featured on their upcoming debut full-length album, “Gray Matter Splatter.” Deadly received the final mixes from Wide Eyed Studios in Wilkes-Barre about a week ago and is pleased with the results.

“It really sounds fantastic; every track is so well-produced, and I’m really proud of what we’ve done, particularly given our budget. The album was actually originally supposed to drop Nov. 1 with an album release event at Karl Hall [in Wilkes-Barre] but, due to financial constraints, it’s had to be pushed back. I’ve started a new day job and I’m socking away money for this release as well as some other projects I’m working on for the label and for other bands, so with any luck, we’ll see the album out soon. I’m hoping to have it out before spring, but I unfortunately can’t commit to a more specific date until the money side of things is figured out.”

While running his own independent label, Cortege Records, and making all his merchandise himself has given him creative freedom, it has also made some things more expensive, like a fold-out poster of the cover art depicting Cut Up Naked Teenagers busting through a zombie’s head.

“It was really hard to find a replication/duplication company that offers fold-out poster inserts; I literally spoke to almost three dozen pressing plants and only found one company that offers them, so I’m pretty much at the mercy of their pricing since I overpromised on album pack-ins,” he admitted with a laugh.

After playing Camp Rattler’s Darkenheavy Campfest last month and stripping down to his bikini underwear at the audience’s request, Deadly said the band is back to working on the album, along with a lyric video and rough outlines for a few more narrative music videos next year.

“I have this secret deluded fantasy of somehow finding the money to produce videos for every song on the album and releasing a DVD. It’s wildly unrealistic at this point in our career, but it’s such a fun idea that if I can make it happen, I’m going to. So far, things seem to be pretty on track, so keep your eyes peeled!” he continued.

“I’m also in pre-production on an album of cover songs called ‘Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Bad-er’ that I’ll release online for free to absolve me of owing any royalties or licensing fees. We don’t have any gigs booked for the remainder of the year, but I’d like to do something local to end 2019 with a bang and go into 2020 with a roar, so keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates!”

  • Billy Brandenburg

    awesome stuff-very vibrant