Well, I’m bringing this ‘classic’ ‘music video’ back to the spotlight now that I have a new site.
“Nervous Guy” is an old song of mine which is based on a time in my life just after college when I spent a lot of time by myself in a cemetery almost every day.
I wasn’t so much depressed as feeling disconnected from the suburban life I was living with my new boring job in an office park. I lived next to the huge, beautiful Hillside Cemetery in Roslyn, PA and would just walk around it lost in thought. I had few friends at the time and had become obsessed with ideas of alien spiritual communication and other weird things no one I knew really wanted to talk about. I had really taken residence in a world deep within my own head, and would walk through the rolling hills lost in limbo between my childhood and adult life, wondering what might become of someone like me in this world.
One day in the cemetery I noticed a little note written by a child and I read it. The words were “Happy birthday Pop-pop I hope you are having a nice time in heaven like mom said cause you are the best pop-pop that I ever had.” This moved me very much and I wrote it down. A few years later I wrote “Nervous Guy” about the experience. At that time I was a little bit interested in the idea that my life was really gender-irrelevant and that with my weird low voice I could essentially make an autobiographical song in which I was a guy. I think that the song has always had a certain popularity because it makes the most of its single chord with its jaunty rhythm and it describes a very clear scenario.
Fast-forward another few years and this song was re-recorded with Rifle Nice. This time Alicia sang the part of the little girl’s card. At some point after that I drew up this ‘comic’ version of the song’s story and synched it to the recording. So I’ve actually spent 8 years with this song so far. Although I clearly can’t draw and it would appear that I held the mouse with my feet while I computer-drew it, I find the childish quirkiness of the video to go with the song. My favorite part is when I daydream that zombies come and play a trumpet / clarinet duet. I feel that the song’s play between the silliness of the music and the sadness of the story was at the heart of all the best Rifle Nice songs, which I hoped would reveal their tragicomic nature only to those who looked deeply into them. I think that life is really like that: things can be so deeply sad yet even deeper than that is a sense of absolute humor and lightness, so that the two can coexist beautifully.