Looking back, is there anything more terrifying than The Rock-afire Explosion, the animatronic house band from Showbiz Pizza Place back in the day?
I had heard about the documentary that was made about the band and a man’s nostalgic quest to purchase his very own Rock-afire Explosion. And now Mayer Hawthorne’s new video for the song “Dreaming” has reminded me to add the movie to our Netflix queue.
Nostalgia was a key theme to Hawthorne’s video for the song “A Long Time,” also off his new album How Do You Do. For “Dreaming,” Hawthorne takes two girls on a pizza date before joining Rock-afire on stage.
It never dawned on me as a child, but why the hell is there a cheerleader in the band?
Rise up, Detroit. Mayer Hawthorne calls Los Angeles home now, but the soul revivalist hasn’t entirely left behind his Michigan roots.
On this new track, “A Long Time” – with its hilarious video borrowing scenes from an ’80s Detroit public-access dance show – Hawthorne offers words of encouragement for his former hometown, a city particularly stung by the economic collapse. With equal parts patience and pride, Hawthorne stands by his fellow Detroiters, using the stories of Henry Ford and Berry Gordy as sources of motivation: “We’ll return it to its former glory, but it just takes so long.”
Speaking of former glory, this video is really something else. I wanted to take a screenshot, but I really couldn’t decide what to pick. You’ve got the blue turtleneck guy (0:33 mark), the kinda creepy couple (1:22), the lady with the triple watch belt/cummerbund thingy (1:49), Frankenstein sweater dude (2:42) … really, the list goes on. It’s worth watching multiple times.
The song is the first preview of Hawthorne’s new album, How Do You Do (Universal), a release date for which I have not seen. Meanwhile, Hawthorne and his band, The County, will open for Chromeo on Oct. 18 at Marquee Theatre in Tempe.