WATCH: Mike Viola in Super-8
The renowned pop auteur premieres his wistful, nostalgic new video exclusively with Rock & Roll Globe
“I just stay with my friends who were really close with Adam,” responds acclaimed pop auteur Mike Viola when asked about how he and his inner circle are holding up one year following the COVID-19 death of his longtime friend and collaborator Adam Schlesinger on April 1, 2020. “We talk every couple of weeks or so.”
Viola is not 100 percent cool with talking at length about Schlesinger just yet. And understandably so, this is one of his closest friends we are talking about, albeit one with whom he’s helped craft some of the catchiest and most unforgettable tunes of the last 30 years, namely the theme song for the Tom Hanks-directed rom-com classic That Thing You Do!, which turns 25 this fall.
“It’s hard for me to do public acknowledgments about it,” he admits. “And I feel guilty because I get asked to do things about it. But I just can’t. I’d rather put it into songs, that’s how I deal with things. And a lot of Godmuffin has Adam in it.”
Viola is referring to his fantastic new solo album, a project he recorded largely during the COVID-19 year. You can’t miss it at your local record shop, either. Just look for the Wolfman in the woods on the cover.
“That’s me in the Wolfman mask,” Viola reveals. “But the mask is actually CGI. My friend works in that field, and he put this cover together in 15 minutes from a photo of me at Green Valley Lake up in the mountains about an hour away from LA. I love the culture of the Wolfman, and his mythology. I love everything about the Universal Monsters and what they represent, which are the outsiders and the misunderstood people out there.”
And like any respectable fan of classic horror, Viola is also a fan of the grit that comes with the celluloid from a vintage Super-8 camera.
“Sometime in the early 1970s, my oldest brother Larry bought a Super-8 movie camera at this electronics store called Summit in Brockton, Massachusetts,” he explains. “Funny thing about the first rolls of film he shot – none of us really knew what to do when the camera rolled. So, we usually waved like it was a regular camera or something. Most of the footage is us waving madly at the camera, like it was the end of a play or the end of some kind of performance we were in. When we got the first few rolls back from the Kodak shack and saw how stupid we looked, and what a waste of money it was, we got comfortable and really started to play with the camera, and come up with dumb little horror movie plots and messing around with special effects.”
In fact, it was a recent trip back through those old family films that inspired its reappropriation to create the video for Viola’s latest single, the beautiful and reflective “That Seems Impossible Now,” which Rock & Roll Globe is honored to be premiering today.
“I started looking through these reels of Super-8 and I found all of this footage of me and my brother Dave doing the magic trick of making ourselves disappear on film,” Viola explains. “It was the first and only film tricks we learned to do. We never needed anything else to top it. Almost every reel of Super-8 has a scene with it.
“All the repetition of us as kids disappearing really pulled me in and spoke to the subject of my song ‘That Seems Impossible Now’ in such a poignant, unplanned way. So, I decided to make it into a video. I cut it in with footage of my parents happy and alive, and footage of the town Stoughton I grew up in – the house and yard and highways around my suburban upbringing – to try and paint a picture of specific feeling of loss without tragedy.”
For more information on Mike Viola and Godmuffin, visit him at mikeviola.com.
VIDEO: Mike Viola “That Seems Impossible Now”
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