The dancing meets the high standards of the song.
Relentless and obsessed.
And a bit shady!
John Groves, born in Hamburg to English parents.
I came to appreciate his genius when a vintage Mentos commercial recently appeared on one of my devices.
At the time it came out (1992) I had the same reaction as everyone, i.e.
WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS. But this being in the before times, prior to Makerbot inventing the internets, I had to simply wonder how the abomination arose, and wallow in ignorance.
Enter Bastard Research Division.
The candies, in various formats, have been around since the 1930’s, and are owned by the Perfetti Van Melle, an Italian-Dutch corporation. Van Melle hired the ad agency Pahnke & Partners out of Hamburg, to come up with the ad spots. Groves composed the theme, which is available in extended format!!
The bulk of commercials were shot in South Africa, and aimed squarely at the US and Canada.
Viewers who spotted the ads when they premiered in July 1992 were driven to distraction by one intangible: The ads seemed disconnected from actual human behavior, and the song itself was critiqued for appearing to be an English translation that didn’t get the lyrics quite right.
When Van Melle was asked “what the actual fuck?” they responded coyly, realizing they had a phenomenon on their hands. The less they answered, the more interest there was. Sales went from $20M in 1991 to $140M in 1996, worldwide. In the late 90’s, Altoids caught fire and were blamed for a decrease in Mentos market share.
The singer is allegedly Richard Ryan Graves (aka Frank Ryan), who takes zero credit for it on wikipedia or elsewhere. He was in Hamburg at the time, so he remains a likely suspect.
Gone but not forgotten!
This video is only concerned with the artists who contributed to Mad in it’s first two decades – even if some of them carried on for longer. I’ve got nothing against those who came later but I’m selfishly only dealing with the ones who inspired and influenced me as I grew up. They taught me more than 4 years of college ever did. Apparently in the early Kurtzman comic years Mad was printed in colour, although all the examples I found were black and white only, and according to a particularly grumpy viewer Dave Berg didn’t die until 2002. Mea culpa.
After 40+ years, this still might be the strangest cover version I’ve ever heard of anything. The re-worked lyrics, where I can understand them, are hilarious. I know only two things about the Residents: they were from San Francisco, and they had a guitarist called Snakefinger. Perhaps former Bay area Bastards can add something. According to the comments, the animation is by Ivan Maximov, a Russian. I don’t know anything about him either. As far as I know, the song and animation are unrelated, but they make a perfect match. Beyond that, words fail me on this one.
I was reminded of this today and felt it needed a reposting. As the story goes, I first saw this issue of MAD at my friend Geoff’s house when we were in the third grade. I was a sensitive, sheltered kid, and remember feeling nauseated after reading MAD’s “Punk Rock Group” of the Year. Punching fans! Vomiting and urinating onstage! Self-mutilation!
But a few years later, when I actually got into punk in middle school, I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for it at Memphis Comics and Records. (I never had any success, mostly because I only had a rough timeframe for when that issue would have been published, and no Internet to assist me.)
I did, however, finally find it when my in-laws gave me every issue of MAD on CD one Christmas. These days, I’m positively obnoxious about reposting it.
BONUS: Here’s an interview with artist Harry North.
Kinda surprised his pubes weren’t frosted too.