Remember Mr. Mister? Sure ya do. They were that uber-slick two-hit wonder from the mid-80s that your older sister probably dug. They’re the dudes responsible for “Broken Wings” and “Kyrie,” two syruppily overproduced pop singles that you can still hear today on Lite FM stations in laundromats and Duane Reades everywhere. If you were big into, say, Level 42, The Hooters and maybe The Outfield but possibly still put off by the burly rock authenticity and primal fury of, say, Tears for Fears, Mr. Mister would have been right up your street. Lead singer really, really wanted to be mistaken for Sting.
Snarky opinions aside, Mr. Mister did introduce the world to drummer Pat Mastelotto, who’d later find comparatively seismic credibility playing for the august likes of King Goddamn Crimson….quite a leap from “Kyrie.”
In any case, I stumbled upon the video below this morning purely by accident and while it didn’t change my sniffily dismissive opinion of the Mr. Mister lads, it resonated on another level.
Unmistakably directed in suitably surrealist style by visionary music video director Zbigniew Rybczynski, the clip for “Something Real” finds the Mr. Mister boys lost in a nightmare of special effects. Ultimately, it’s the very same aesthetic Rybczynski used for the video for Rush’s “Time Stands Still.”
But trippy effects aren't Zbig's only calling card. He’s also a big fan of shooting in New York City. He’s shot similar NYC-centrc clips for the Art of Noise (filmed on the then-derelict High Line), Circus of Power and Polish band Lady Pank (both in the landfill that became Battery Park City), Lou Reed (in TriBeCa), Nona Hendryx (in Grand Central), Yoko Ono (in the Financial District) and an all-time favorite of Flaming Pablum, “All That I Wanted” by Belfegore (on a pier off the West Side Highway in TriBeCa).
In Mr. Mister’s case, the director had the band dodging his goofball effects whilst posing stiffly in various alleys and vacant lots around Lower Manhattan, the most recognizable of which being the former lot between 21st and 22nd Streets between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. There it is up top.
Eagle-eyed viewers and regular readers might recognize it as the same lot wherein Josh Cheuse photographed the nascent Beastie Boys lounging like a gaggle of nogoodnicks below their own graffiti scrawl. At last — the missing link between Mr. Mister and the Beastie Boys has been established. How grateful all concerned parties must be.
Today, that lot is the site of a new development — invariably a tall, sun-blocking luxury condo.