By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Zane, a wiry young man of about 25 with long, streaked hair and a glam-inspired fashion sense, is a director-producer of pornographic videos. Responsible for such masturbatory fodder as Backstage Sluts and its sequel, Ass Lovers, installments 5-7 of the Depraved Fantasies series, and the inevitable Poke'er Mon, he is for all intents and purposes the right man for the job at hand. Pimpadelic has set up camp inside Trees in Deep Ellum on Sunday evening to shoot the promotional video that will accompany "Caught It From Me," the debut single off their first album for Tommy Boy Records, Southern Devils, a reworked version of the disc of the same name the group released last year. True to form, the video is, of course, X-rated.
Tommy Boy's director of video promotions, Karen Jones, explains that an optically censored version will be released for any broadcast airplay, and an unfiltered version released to DJs to drum up airplay for the band. Jones, petite and dreadlocked, mingles freely amongst the crew and staff of Trees, who are steeling themselves for the 500 or so young fans lined up alongside the pavement outside, waiting patiently to get into the video shoot for their hometown heroes. In between conferences with director Zane, Jones shuttles between an assistant producer and Tommy Boy A&R guru Max Nichols.
Nichols, whose previous acts include the critically acclaimed Prince Paul and the Handsome Boy Modeling School, appears preoccupied. There is a reason for his concern: With shooting well under way, co-frontman and rapper Dirty K has yet to turn up for the shoot. In an effort to smooth things over, he gives the go-ahead to commence production with the hope that Dirty K will show up eventually.
"I'm not wearing any underwear," one of the models informs the crew. "Is that gonna be a problem?" After more than one take is devoted to lovingly capturing her bare crotch, it appears that her question is answered.
"Now, when I say 'action,' I want you to reach up and grab her tits, but don't squeeze," Zane warns MIA. "Then I want you to start licking and stare up at the camera, but no biting."
Tattooed vocalist-guitarist Easy Jesus, himself groping a silicon-enhanced model -- though off camera -- jumps up and lashes out at his DJ for biting. Easy, with his cowboy hat, stringy hair, facial piercings, and bondage/Western get up, has been wandering around the set giving direction himself for the past hour or so. With a plastic cup of booze in one hand and a suspicious-looking bag of white powder in the other, the extroverted singer knows that right now it's his show, and makes no qualms about taking over whenever things don't appear quite right. In an attempt to demonstrate how drummer Madison should handle his woman in a later scene, Easy roughly grabs the hapless female by a bicep and thrusts her forward, narrowly missing the carefully placed lighting setup that Zane had been adjusting for the past several minutes.
"That's how you do it," he points out, "You're a man, not a...a...pussy!"
Max Nichols has just been informed that Dirty K has appeared on the set. Excitedly rushing down the wooden stairway from the lounge area, he greets the improbably muscled Dirty with a hail of oaths before descending upon the young man with a bear hug. K has arrived just in time; after a brief break, it is time for his scene.
In the downstairs women's restroom, the take isn't going as planned. Time and again, Zane redirects his charges, Easy Jesus and Dirty K, to double-time a stripper in one of the stalls, but Easy is getting a little too excited. As the entire staff of Trees cranes its collective neck to get a peek at the video monitor, Zane shouts his instructions through the closed bathroom door.
"What are you doing, Easy? What are you doing?" Zane asks.
Within seconds after what seems like the twentieth take, the door flies open and a tearful young woman flies out, grasping for her top, which at this point is almost around her ankles. Mumbling, she marches upstairs vowing to leave and not come back. Easy saunters out and informs no one in particular that he's never been so horny without fucking something. Max Nichols quickly pulls the vocalist to the side and whispers something in his ear, and the entire crew and band break for a closed, emergency meeting upstairs.
It should come as little surprise to anyone even remotely aware of the group that Pimpadelic is delivering the raunch on its first-ever label-financed video. Their stage shows are already legendary for spontaneous displays of female fans', um, enthusiasm. Onstage breast flashing has given way to the occasional onstage act of fellatio, and the fans wouldn't have it any other way. Long the scourge of the local press and fellow musicians, the Pimps have done things their own way for the past six years and built perhaps the largest and most rabid following of any Dallas-Fort Worth act. Now they're ready to spread their disease to the rest of the world. Social critics who complain about the coarsening of dialogue in our culture may well have something new to carp about when Southern Devils -- which Dirty K refers to later as "ass-fucking, titty-sucking, punk-rocking shit" -- is released on April 18, and the young record buyers who haven't quite cottoned to the syrupy boy-group harmonies of 'N Sync may have a new set of heroes.