|Parris explains, “I wanted the video to feel like the NYC of my youth, when it was a dark city lit by a warm sodium vapor glow. But the city has changed since my childhood and that sodium vapor light has been replaced by a harsh, un-defused LED glare. So I picked a location that escaped the retrofit of LED light and maintains the orange of the nights of my memory, a location that never changes and feels and looks like the endless ventures into the night I had as a kid discovering, my new nightcrawler friends and hardcore music.”
“I have been cultivating the idea for the “Chaos Magic” video for a very long time,” Parris adds, “and planned it in increments. I’ve been jogging and riding my bike over the Williamsburg Bridge all my life. It is remains unchanged, a perpetual NYC experience, above the skyline. It’s a front row seat to the sprawling cityscape of Manhattan for the outer borough resident or a startling look back to the Manhattan resident who forgets the wonder of where they live. It is a place of awe in its own right, and a rare piece of the NYC of my youth. The colors up there are extreme and mixed. Sodium vapor was the color of NYC of old at night and still is on the Williamsburg Bridge. Every time I went over the bridge, especially at night, I would envision how I would shoot a music video there one day. I planned shots, angles, collected all the puzzle pieces I would need to complete the picture in my head, the picture I wanted to represent my music. Because I am a native New Yorker, my music and myself are a product of my life here. The Williamsburg Bridge is very different than say, the Brooklyn Bridge, where I directed the video “Punishment” for Biohazard. The Brooklyn Bridge says NYC to the world, the Williamsburg Bridge says NYC to New Yorkers.
When I made the decision to begin filming, it was a nightly excursion from the get go. Two hours one night, six hours another night, we’d shoot close ups one night, guitar shots another and bike shots another. Doing it with a crew of one became challenging and exhausting, so we took our time. I’d love to say something mythical like ‘the video was shot over one long summer night somewhere between Brooklyn and Manhattan under a full moon with a crew of 50 film professionals who came together to make the video a big Hollywood production, but it was an altogether different experience. I did with the help of only one person, Scott Nocero, a young electrician I mentored in the film business. We shot at night and didn’t see people for hours and often until the sunrise. The bridge was ours. We trekked up the bridge for 22 nights with a camera, tripod, lights, 3 guitars, stands, sandbags and wardrobe changes. I would set up the shots with Scott holding my guitar. I lit him, then we’d changed places. The video is basically an elaborate selfie.
I believe a music video should be an intimate look at the artist. I always tried to do that with videos I directed in the past like, Type O Negative’s “Black No. 1” and Onyx’s “Slam.” Both videos became definitive for those artists. In the “Chaos Magic” video I tried to do the same, open a door into the artist, myself. There are nods and impressions peppered in to tell people who I am. I even played roles in a way, myself, as characters at different stages of my life. When you see me play my red BC Rich BICH guitar, I wore my leather jacket, hightop Adidas sneakers, tied my hair up and shoved it in a baseball cap to look like I had short hair like I did when I started the band Cro-Mags around the Age of Quarrel era. Next character is with my hair out and the White G and L guitar, more like the Best Wishes or Revenge stage in life, (although I never played anything but the BICH back then). Then there is the present day me, on my bike, continuing to ride across the bridge. In one shot I even smile as I pass myself playing my song, living the moment when the video I envisioned comes to fruition.
The T-shirts I’m wearing were also carefully chosen, primarily the Motörhead shirt is part of a lifelong nod to the band as my primary musical influence, particularly in my bass playing and songwriting. An influence that shaped the sound of Cro-Mags and continues today in the AGGROS. The influence of Motörhead is physical. I’ve often said my right hand is channeling Lemmy and my left hand striving for melodic and harmonious reflections of Rush, Black Flag, Aerosmith, Sex Pistols, Cheap Trick and Judas Priest. My influences are many and held highly, I just love music. Another nod isn’t as apparent, but is there all the same.
This video serves as a signal flare. It says look here. I’m planting my flag all over again. The fire to make it was unconscious and natural. It wasn’t on a timetable, just made because it was time.”
Parris says, “Most Cro-Mags fans are accustomed to a big rock production sound from me and my music. This time I kept it streamlined, stripped down and raw. Just a band playing songs. The music will sound and feel familiar to anyone who knows my three previous albums. I am the same songwriter and guitarist so it will be that and then some! ‘Chaos Magic’ is just a balls out rocker.” Parris comments, “I believe that a song should be a journey. There should be a clear introduction to set the tone or to set the listener up for the ride, and for a ceremonious feeling of arrival at a destination to be experienced. There are a few musical surprises along the way, as music should surprise you. All great songs should have a feeling that the journey is complete, the catharsis, a lesson learned from both Motörhead and Rush.
The AGGROS are currently planning to go on tour Summer 2023. More details to follow.
The AGGROS touring lineup:
Parris Mayhew – guitar
Chuck Lenihan – Guitar
Cobz – Drums
Dierk Peters – Piano