For their new video for debut single “Break Up With Him,” the band of songwriters known as Old Dominion went retro. But not the Seventies retro that is increasingly en vogue in country music — instead, they looked to the puffy vests and skinny skateboards of 1985’s Back to the Future.
The video, which plays like a mini-movie, casts Old Dominion singer Matt Ramsey in the Marty McFly role made famous by Michael J. Fox in the now 30-year-old time-traveling classic. The action takes place around the climactic Enchantment Under the Sea dance scene — retitled here as the Entanglement Above the Heavens — where Ramsey leads his bandmates through “Break Up With Him” as the menacing goon Biff (played convincingly by Old D’s keys man Trevor Rosen) tries to make off with his girl (actress Dana Chapman in the Lea Thompson role).
Director Steve Condon says he always had the idea of framing a country music video in the context of an Eighties film. “I was trying to do an Eighties video, a parody of The Breakfast Club, Back to the Future and a whole bunch of things messed up,” he tells Rolling Stone Country. “But Old Dominion was obsessed with Back to the Future and they wanted to do it.”
After sidestepping some legal issues — changing the color of Ramsey’s McFly-like vest for instance — band and crew dug in for an 18-hour day of filming in Nashville, at the Masonic Lodge on Broadway (the same location in which A Thousand Horses filmed their new video for “[This Ain’t No] Drunk Dial”). An exhausting, fast-paced shoot, Condon says the mood got a boost when the video’s biggest star arrived: a re-creation of Doc Brown’s time machine.
“Spirits shot back up after the DeLorean showed up,” says Condon, who rented the car from a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, couple, who drove it to the shoot. “That’s their living and they drive it and rent it.”
Along with the Back to the Future tribute, Old Dominion also looked to their favorite videos: those by Dave Grohl’s band. Condon says they aimed for cool but clever: “We just want to take it serious and look good, but have fun, like all the Foo Fighters videos.”
Old Dominion is on the road throughout the summer, both on their own and as special guests on Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival Tour. They’ll headline a show in Philadelphia Friday night, before joining Chesney and Eric Church on Saturday at Philly’s Lincoln Financial Field.