About a year ago, before tragedy twice struck the much-adored area greaser-punk three-piece Spector 45, firstwith frontman Frankie Campagna on New Year's Day
andthen again in March with bassist Adam Carter
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, the band had been approached about having their music used in an upcoming TV ad promoting the Dallas Harley-Davidson dealership. Because of the sad events surrounding the band's demise, though, the project was put on hold.
Until now, that is. The above clip featuring the Spector 45 song "Bright and Shiny Day" will air in primetime on local FX Networks broadcasts during the upcoming season of Sons of Anarcy. If only unintentionally, the ad serves as a touching tribute to these beloved, fallen musicians' own motorcycle-riding ways.
After the jump, director J. Michael Owens checks in with us to tell us about how the ad came together, and the emotional struggles he faced in returning to the project after Campagna and Carter's deaths.
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Frankie gave me a pre-release copy of Break Me about a year ago. I'd met with Dallas Harley-Davidson about directing a series of commercials spots that were geared towards targeting a more "Gen X," urban clientele. I'd heard Spector 45 play this song several times at some of their shows and I thought it would be a fitting selection to use for the commercial spots, as we were looking at shooting the majority of the spot in Deep Ellum. I ran into Frankie at LaGrange one night and talked to him about using the cut for the spot. He was really excited about using it and gave the green light to use it for the commercial.
I spent a day cutting the song up to use for a :30 spot and sent Frankie a link to the cut version for his approval. He liked the shortened version. For whatever reason, the commercials project got put on hold and was going to be delayed until after the first of the year.
In the meantime, we were all hit with the tragic news about Frankie on January 1st, followed by Adam not long after. With all of the fallout from those events, I put the Harley-Davidson spot in the back of my head and pretty much forgot about it for a while.
About a two months ago, I received a call from the marketing director at Dallas Harley-Davidson, asking if I was still interested in directing the spots. With the upcoming launch of Sons Of Anarchy in September, they wanted to create a spot that would fit in nicely with the Sons of Anarchy launch and assist with branding for the Dallas Harley-Davidson store. We met and I came up and discussed the concept for the Deep Ellum "theme" shoot again. When I came into the meeting, I had a version of the song from Spector 45 that I had originally selected for the project. I played it for the management at Dallas Harley-Davidson and told them I thought it was the perfect style to evoke the type of feel I was targeting for this project.
Management loved the song selection, but they weren't familiar with Spector 45 and the recent tragedies surrounding the band. I gave them a little history on the band and told them about Frankie and Adam. I wasn't sure how they would react to this information, but I felt like using the song was would be a great tribute to the band and would have fallen in line with what Frankie and I had originally talked about regarding using the track for the spot.
I called Frank Campagna to let him know that Dallas Harley-Davidson was interested in using the cut for the spot. Frank asked, "Which track?" I told him "Bright and Shiny Day." Frank said he didn't know which track I was referring to exactly. Frankie had given me a demo copy which had the song title written on the DVD in a sharpie. The song title for that song, written on the CD said "Bright and Shiny Day." That's when Frank informed me that the song title that was used on the Break Me album was "Suicide Song."
I was floored when he told me that. I really had to struggle with the song title and using the song after that. A few days later, I went into Kettle Art and talked to Frank and explained to him that I was having second thoughts on using the song now. Frank told me that he had a conversation with Frankie when they were in the studio and Frank had asked Frankie what they were going to call that particular track. Frank said "Bright and Shiny Day" sounded really good. Frankie said "No Dad, it's called 'Suicide Song.'" "Suicide Song" is what was on the final released version of Break Me.
Frank said he'd like me to use the song, but change the title to "Bright and Shiny Day." So that's what I wound up doing for this spot.
I'm now working on cutting a long-form version of the song to intercut more Deep Ellum and Spector 45 elements into it, along with the Harley-Davidson riding footage.