Rich Howells

VIDEO PREMIERE: NEPA’s Camp Rattler pays tribute to Amigo the Devil and the dead with ‘The Dreamer’

VIDEO PREMIERE: NEPA’s Camp Rattler pays tribute to Amigo the Devil and the dead with ‘The Dreamer’
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Camp Rattler has produced many music videos professionally over the years, but this local team of musicians, event promoters, photographers, videographers, writers, painters, and technicians are fans first, often showing their appreciation for fellow artists in creative ways.

Camp Rattler mastermind and West Pittston resident James Callahan found himself inspired by Texas dark country artist Danny Kiranos, better known as Amigo the Devil, during some dark times of his own, so he decided to produce and direct an unofficial video for “The Dreamer” from the 2018 Amigo album “Volume 1” with dance instructor Alexandra Kijek; Greg Shaffer and Matt Ducey playing “dead guys;” cinematographers Jared Sokirka, JB Earl, and Meg Maslo; set designers Rene Harris, Sam Shannon, and Paul Caprari; and assistant producer Kristin Rose Shimonis. Featuring an opening soundscape by CR Wallace, it is premiering today exclusively on NEPA Scene.

“This piece was written, choreographed, shot, directed, and produced during quarantine. We, as a collective, are used to working in very close proximity, laughing frequently, and including as many Camp operatives as wish to be involved. We love the process. Obviously, this isn’t a super safe notion these days so, taking the necessary precautions, utilizing a skeleton crew, we came together to make this tiny, weird saga of a freshly deceased ballerina who finds Danny’s record in an old speakeasy full of mummified gangsters,” Callahan said.

“This project was born of equal parts ‘cabin fever’ and the mutual respect and admiration in which our strange little Camp has for Danny’s words and music. This has been crafted by fans for Danny and his fellowship. We hope that you enjoy it.”

Dubbed “murderfolk,” Amigo the Devil’s music explores morbid themes that have resonated with Callahan for a long time, particularly during the pandemic.

“Man… I found ATD a number of years ago and, not to sound corny, we have listened to his words and music damn near every day since. The discovery of his music seemed to collide directly with some massive life’s changes to which my lady and I had committed. Several of Danny’s tracks offered strength and a sense of perseverance that I needed at the time. The library of songs live very close to what truly moves me,” he shared.

“I wrote the narrative while in recovery from a super painful surgery. We hung on to it until we had time to truly dig in.”

Before the video was posted, he sent it to Kiranos and received his personal approval to release it to the public – he, of course, loved it. The Camp Rattler crew is hoping to catch Amigo the Devil live when he opens for Murder by Death on their 20th Anniversary Tour, which was postponed in 2020. The rescheduled date at Union Transfer in Philadelphia has been postponed again, but they are still set to perform at Mr. Smalls Theatre in Millvale on Sunday, March 21 as of now. Tickets are on sale via TicketWeb.

“Jared Sokirka, JB Earl, Meg Maslo, and Kristin Shimonis truly made the day of the shoot carefree, pro, and hysterically fun. Dancer/choreographer Alex Kijek is a brilliant kid. She immersed herself in the song. And what can I say? Greg Shaffer and Matt Ducey were great dead guys!”

“The Dreamer” lyrics:

I’m so goddamned tired of whistling
I’m so lonesome I could cry
Your eyes they look like diamonds
Still stuck inside the mines
I’ll dig ’em out

And I know that you are waiting around
To find the right man, you say
But the thing about taking your time
It takes it right back, someday
No one deserves my world quite like you do
And it’s true, I hate everything but you

So tonight, I’ll follow you home
And start up a fire that’ll keep us both warm
And I’ll drag my lips up your thighs
Wait till you open your eyes
When I’ll hold you real still
And if I can’t have you, nobody will

Winter was leaving early
That chill to the bone
And I kissed you every morning
As the wind whistled on
But God’s humor did too

When you’re as happy as this
Time starts to fly, it’s true
But I built these wings after jumping
Not dreaming of the sky, for you
And it’s all for you
My skin is gray too
And I’ll lay by your side ’till everything is rotten through

So tonight, we’ll celebrate life
Eat the best food and we’ll drink the best wine
And we’ll make love too
Dreaming every moment of you
Your chest against mine
My gun against your spine
And we’ll leave the world the way dreamers do