Unwritten Law Rewrites Video
J. Gordon
4/7/2005 3:50:33 PM

"there’s really no way for me to reenact overdosing and going to hell without looking cheesy..."

With almost a decade and a half of punk rock, Unwritten Law continues to shake things up, musically and otherwise. Their latest video to the Top 10-alternative mega-hit from Here’s To The Mourning [Lava Records], “Save Me”--all in animation--is getting a lot of attention with more than a hint of scandal for its XXX rating. The track's animated video, directed by Brett Simon (Hoobastank, Good Charlotte) features some of the most shocking and creative animation on par with your raunchiest video games. In the video, each band member is uniquely re-created in a live concert setting, along with a darker, introspective subplot where singer Scott Russo battles his demons. The video is currently enjoying substantial rotation on MTV2, VH-1 and Fuse. Nighttimes.com caught up with Scott Russo to talk about it:

NT: Let me start this interview by telling you I got this irate email, complaining about how this video perpetuates sex, drugs, drunk driving, misogyny, prostitution…and I felt like I was reading something from the PMRC. I forwarded it onto your publicist who told me it’s a mass emailing and your former (disgruntled) drummer Wade is suspected.

Scott: “Oh really? That’s rad. He is fuckin’ crazy and he’s a tweaker. Who knows how late he’s been staying up. [laughs] Things aren’t bad between us and him, but things are bad between him and us. Know what I’m saying? But I’d be surprised if our old drummer was going to go out of his way to get us more publicity.”

NT: So tell me how this video came about…

Scott: “We didn’t want to make a video that everyone else had made. Like we’re in a fuckin’ empty pool, or at a college party with bitches all over me. We’re not like that. We wanted to make a video that was groundbreaking. So, I told my A&R guy to tell the directors that we wouldn’t be in any of the video. They’d have to come up with something at least unique. This guy came up with a really good treatment, where he just wanted to develop a story with animation…that’s it. We didn’t have to show up for video shoots! [laughs]. Anyway, there’s really no way for me to reenact overdosing and going to hell without looking cheesy…”

NT: It seems to me that those who are condemning the video are kind of missing the message. Are you afraid kids will be influenced by it?

Scott: “I was worried about that too, cuz I have kids as well. I don’t want to look like I’m a drug addict or whatever and it’s cool to do. My girlfriend at the time said, “No, this is awesome, there’s no positive ending to the story. You’re a fuck up. You’re a drug addict, you overdose after you get done cheating and you die…and you can’t even get to heaven-- where your girlfriend’s at and your band is playing. It’s a hell where there’s a zillion cars and they all look like yours and you can’t get into any of them. The story doesn’t end riding off into the sunset with my girl. I’m in hell! It does have a positive message.”

NT: “Save Me” is a huge pop hit. How do you feel about the kids saying you’ve sold out to the mainstream?

Scott: “We went through all that sell-out stuff like five or six years ago, when we signed a major. That’s so old for us. I don’t think our fans think we’ve sold out. If you listen to the first record, as opposed to the last record, we sound like two different bands. But if you hear every record in sequence, you can see the evolution and hear us moving. You can hear the dropped D chords. You can hear electronics come in, you can hear our song structures getting better. We got better as song writers. When we first started, we were a bit more sheltered to what we were influenced by. When I was 14, all I listened to was like, Green Day and Bad Religion. That was it! But those bands have opened up millions of bands for me. Since then, I’ve been influenced by all types of other music. I think the worse thing you can do is only use two colors to paint with. I’m painting a fucking mural here. I want to use every color I can. I’m making the best product here, not only for myself but for everyone else. If I’m satisfied. If I’m not embarrassed to show it to my friends and my family, I’ve done a good job.

“We’ve never said, ‘we’ve gotta make a fast record’, ‘it’s gotta be punk’—lyrically, I’ve taken it to a pretty fuckin’ deep place. I don’t hear anyone else out there saying what I’m saying. I’m an old dirty punk and I write pop songs. Put those together and it’s not punk-pop by any means, but it’s got punk influences.”

NT: Speaking of pop songs, is there any chance of putting out the North Shore theme from the Fox TV show?

Scott: “We actually have the whole thing tracked. We didn’t want to put it on the record because it wasn’t the exact [song]. I’d gotten home from Mexico and had written that song. It was “I Found My Girl in the Road in the Middle of Paradise.” When they came and asked us to do the show, I was like, ‘Cool, I have a whole bunch of songs I’ve never used.’ So we gave them that song. They had us rework the lyrics and make it more rockin’. It was more reggae the way we had written it, they made us change it around. I didn’t want to put that out because it wasn’t my vision--it was the vision of the TV producers. We did not want to put it on the record for that reason. You know what I’m saying? But there is a good chance we will leak that on the Internet.”

You can see the UNCENSORED XXX video to “Save Me” on www.unwrittenlaw.net. Visit www.unwrittenlaw.com for lots of other videos, as well as the radio edit.

Catch Unwritten Law in the following cities near you:
4/08 Golden, CO Steinhauser Field House
4/12 Buffalo, NY Sphere ++
4/13 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory ++
4/15 Cleveland, OH Tower City Amphitheatre ++
4/16 Columbus, OH Promowest Pavillion ++
4/17 Indianapolis, IN Egyptian Room @ Murat Center ++
4/19 Kansas City, MO Beaumont Club++
4/21 Oklahoma City, OK Bricktown Events Center++
4/22 Austin, TX Stubbs ++
4/23 Houston, TX Buzzfest @ C.W. Mitchell Pavilion++
4/24 Dallas, TX Edgefest @ Smirnoff Music Centre++
4/26 New Orleans, LA House of Blues ++
4/27 Atlanta, GA Tabernacle ++
4/29 Estero, FL WJBX @ Germain Arena++
4/30 West Palm, FL Sun Fest - Main Stage ++
5/01 Lake Buena Vista, FL House of Blues ++
5/02 St. Petersburg, FL Jannus Landing ++
5/05 North Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues ++
5/07 Tucson, AZ KFMA Day @ Pima County Fairgrounds ++
5/08 Jacksonville, FL WPLA @ Jacksonville Fairgrounds ++
5/14 Baltimore, MD HFStival @ M&T Bank Stadium ++
5/15 Maryland Heights, MO KPNT Pointfest @ UMB Pavilion ++
5/17 Allentown, PA Crocodile Rock++
5/19 Boston, MA Avalon Ballroom++
5/20 Johnson City, NY Magic City Music Hall++
5/21 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom++
5/22 Richmond, VA Y101 Birthday Bash @ Shockoe Bottom++
5/25 Providence, RI Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel++
5/26 Albany, NY Palace Theatre ++
5/27 Burgettstown, PA Post Gazette Pavilion++
5/30 Detroit, MI 89X Birthday Bash @ Fox Theatre++
5/31 Louisville, KY Jillian's++
6/2 Cincinnati, OH Bogart's++
6/3 Grand Rapids, MI Orbit Room++
6/4 Chicago, IL YMCA Field - Q101 Day++
6/5 Minneapolis, MN The Quest++
* w/ Denver Harbor, Sing the Body Electric
++ w/ Sum 41 and/or Hawthorne Heights and other possible guests


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