Described by John Darnielle as a “Mott the Hoople-inspired jaunt,” the track explores the pitfalls of fame. Ray Donovan showrunner David Hollander directed the video, using custom-made bobbleheads. “You were born for these flashing lights/You were born for these endless nights,” Darnielle sings, his bobblehead predictably shaking with each line. “You always knew sooner or later/You were destined for something greater.”
“I met John for tea in Chinatown before his show at East River Park last summer,” Hollander tells Rolling Stone. “He was bouncing out of his shoes with all sorts of ideas, in a really fecund period. Before I went to meet my son Nate for the show, he played me the demo for ‘Get Famous’ on the band’s bus. I love when things are contrapuntal, and this upbeat jaunty song with its middle finger up stuck with me. So when John called over the summer and asked if I’d do the video, it was an easy yes.”
Hollander and his son co-conspired the video, brainstorming ideas. “We finally settled on a simple narrative, wrote the script for the video, and then learned a few days later that John and the guys were wisely not coming out to Los Angeles during the Southern California surge,” he said. “We already had a bobblehead that was up to no good in the original script and we came to the conclusion that the bobbleheads would take over completely. Like John, I was nervous about how to gives those weird novelty items human dynamics, but the minute we started to roll the film at 120 fps and then slowed those bop-alongs down to the music’s beats per minute…we all knew that we could depend on them to carry the narrative. Our community of filmmakers all got into the spirit of the project as well, and by the time we stared filming we had assembled an all-star crew. All of this to really say: we’re big Mountain Goats fans and we were thrilled by the prospect of creating a companionate piece to John’s brilliant song.”
Added Darnielle: “I wasn’t sure if bobbleheads could really capture that level of giddy anxiety, but David’s visions play for keeps — the first time I saw the camera resolve on my bobblehead in a way that made it look like it had changed its expression, I almost fell out of my chair. Proud to have a video this left-field for our dark little song.”
Getting Into Knives, out October 23rd, is the band’s 19th studio album. They released the lead single, “As Many Candles as Possible,” in August. It’s available for preorder on cassette, CD, and as a two-LP vinyl set.