United Dictators of Mars: The Music of Tom Mody & Jeffrey Harris







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Jeffrey Harris and Tom Mody 2008 >::..:.::..:::
United Dictators of Mars
Questions for God

Bonus DVD
Offcial Video
"Heavy Dreams"

United Dictators of Mars - Questions for God
::.::| LINER NOTES |.::...:.

Tom Mody song liner notesThis was the third and final video we shot from the QFG album. Like When I Die I chose this because of the acoustic singer/songwriter vibe in that because we're just a 2 piece "project" we can't display the more metal songs without me looking silly playing air guitar by myself. But also like When I Die I was able to weave a story (and my kids) throughout the video. We can't shoot any more videos because I ran out of kids and Jeff's kids want too much money- but for this project my son Julian worked out just fine. In alot of ways it should have been easy enough as Jeff's lyrics are just really about some trippy dreams. My bedroom has some nice architectural elements in it so other than being a bit apprehensive about 2 guys sitting on a bed singing I thougt it had some visual potential. Those scenes were easy enough to shoot but initially that's all I really had for ideas other than trying to shift back and forth between a studio backdrop. I intended to hang some clear colored paper in strips and attach christmas lights to the back as the backdrop but it didn't look good so I just hung the christmas lights and hoped I could make digital adjustments to not make them look too cheesy. Right before we began shooting I decided that Jeff would have to role play through waking from his heavy dream- including his shower scene for which he thought I was nuts. Given the other 2 videos were well received and had some interesting elements, this shoot was really going to be rather boring and I figured the song might be able to sustain the piece as just a simplistic video. Shortly after the first shoot the concept of using my 2 year old came to me- probably out of equity as my daughter was in When I Die. But it all made sense and that was the missing element. Jeff would drift into childhood and dream as a child. It's just one of those things that shouldn't have worked out as well as it did. I set the black curtain up around his crib and had him play with a little stuffed devil dog. Getting fearful looks from him wasn't going to work so I just let him goof around leaving more the impression that as a child the scary images of those dreams were lost on his nieve mind. And again- like the formula in When I Die I would scatter those shots throughout the song because I had another extended ending for which I could wrap up the story. In this case Jeff awakes and clears his mind in the shower. He goes back to bed only to find that stuffed devil dog in his bed. My subtle interpretation being it was the stuffed devil causing his bad dreams. Same wrap up as the kids finding Jeff's diary in When I Die. In the editing all the shots were pretty easy to sort out but Julian's crib shots were going to require some ingenuity as I only have imovie on my mac to edit. However, I did also have the pro version of Quicktime which allows you to place images or video over the top of video and blend the 2 together- like the old double exposed super 8 film (I'm dating myself here). This was time consuming because I had to edit and make a Quicktime of each overlay- over lay the pieces with a proper blend then export it back to imovie for placement in the video. The other issue was getting overlay footage. Some of it was just static images I made in photo shop but the motion overlays I swiped from youtube. I just found a nice indiscreet clip and actually just zoomed in on my monitor screen with the camcorder. Since it was an overlay the quality wasn't an issue and the end resullt was a campy vibe that suited the video well. The real key to this whole video was the intro because of the audio effects in the beginning. I knew that is where I needed to get alot of the premise in a short amount of time. Particularly the Jeff melding to a child. It was one of those last second clueless moments that somehow came together perfectly out of dumb luck but just having the sheep in there made my whole edit. From that intro I knew the whole piece would work. Other little things came together as well to turn this from easy-cheesy to pretty darn good. Julian dropping his devil was just a whim shot and I didn't tell him to do that but that's where the idea for the tie in to Jeff finding it in the bed came from. That was no way a planned wrap-up. And Jeff throwing the devil was just a prefect shot in the way that it rolled over. Another huge roadblock for me was the lead guitar sections. I had no ideas other than to stand in front of the Christmas lights and air guitar. Pretty lame! But during filming Jeff started tearing down the lights and then piled them on me. He was just being his obnoxious uncooperative self but from there the idea to be wrapped in lights and play was born in mere seconds. Now all the ideas were in place. After all the edited pieces are put into sequence I have to figure out how to blend and color the video. The bedroom scenes were easy but the studio shots looked like Christmas lights- no way around that. I applied a bloom effect in imovie which gives white images more of a glow and then decided to again use a zoom effect that extends white images into beams. I used it a few times in the previous video Piece of Heaven and though I didn't want to repeat the effect I just thought it was so dramatic. So after almost 3 years the "Questions" project has officially come to a close and these videos have opened up some new creative areas I thought I'd never explore.


Jeffrey Harris song liner notes

Ah, Heavy Dreams acoustic version. I love this version of the song. So okay, let's talk about the video. Hmmm... Not exactly what I had intended when I wrote the story but again, Tom, in his masterful creative way, pulled off another cool video. So again, we're in Tom's bedroom filming the cheese. But quite honestly folks, I was so nervous about this one being in his bedroom, on his bed and stuff, that I just decided to have a little fun with it to get past the uneasiness. So in my way, as Tom well knows, I just had fun with it. Of course, Tom will probably have you think that I was out of control or his words; "just being his obnoxious uncooperative self". But that's who I am. Especially when I am a bit anxious about something. I'm sure this will become evident if you take the time to watch the video outtakes. Okay, on to the shower scene...oh boy...when Tom broke the news to me that I would be involved in a shower scene...egad...I about hurled! So when the time finally came to shoot this scene because I was plum out of excuses to avoid it, I was really out of control as Tom will probably tell you. Either that or there will most likely be some whacky outtake footage which I have not yet seen even as I type this. So not only did I have to get naked in front of Tom and his camera in his shower, I also had to shoot a "sleeping in his bed" scene! Damn!! This was the most eye opening experience I have ever had in my musical career I think. To realize that actors actually have to go through this stuff every day. I guess they must get used to it after a while. But I think of all the people around the actor as they are filming this stuff and wonder if they all have a good laugh and that it must take hours to film the shortest of scenes. Especially if the actor is anything like me! Okay. 'Nuff said. Perhaps I have strayed a bit from the actual video. But it was fun...wasn't it?? After I viewed the video that Tom put together, I must say that it turned out pretty cool. I dig how he weaved Julian into the story. It's far out! Julian is a funny kid. When he was even littler, he barely spoke a word...he was very bashful. Then one day, all of a sudden, he is yelling out my name (Juweff) and running up to give me a hug. I really like Tom and Lisa(FranK)'s children. They are adorable and make my time there very pleasant 'cause Tom is such a "dictator" in the studio hahaha. I am really looking forward to viewing the outtake footage. There has to be endless takes with jocularities. I commend Tom for his patience with me. After over 20 years of musical partnership, he's probably the one person that understands my madness. But I still don't understand his... So I guess this is the last of liner notes and stuff for QFG. So in closing, I would like to thank Tom for his genius, his efforts, his patience and most of all, his friendship. If I could go back and change one thing on the CD, it would be in the thank you section. Without Tom and his humble inviting selflessness, I might not have otherwise been afforded the opportunities that he has made possible. Thank you Tom. Now get to work on the next project cause I'm getting old!! And get us a contract so we can become rich and famous...LOL!!

Tom's Rebuttle: My God Jeff- you weren't freakin' naked!!!! You had a bathing suit on. Let's get that clear right now! As for the outtakes, I couldn't fit them all on the DVD (and some I know you don't want there). Thanks for the kind words. You're right- we probably should have been a bit more expressive on the CD jacket as I too am thankful to have had 20 years of a your singular voice to my music.

Jeff's Last Word: OMG...I forgot to make it clear that I was joking about the getting naked part...hahaha...will you please fix that for me in a rebuttle to yours? Holy shit...I reviewed that a couple of times before I sent it but totally missed that...what was I thinking?

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