"Wars We Need To See" Animated Video

I play drums in a rock band. Or at least I did, before we all started having kids and went on a lengthy hiatus. But from '99 to the mid-2000's, we rocked the Philly area hard. Someday we will make our triumphant return (Nico should be heading off to college in 2025).

Phil, our guitar player, wrote the song "Wars We Need To See", and he'd be the first to admit the lyrics are pretty bizzaro. I offered to do a Flash-animated video for one of our songs, and I wound up picking this one because: it's the shortest. Only a minute and forty-four seconds. And it still took about 120 hours of work to create over the course of three months. Yikes! You know I was single and kid-free back then - I don't have a spare ten hours a week now to work on non-client pieces these days.

I stole the characters of the band members from our website (which I'd rendered them for a couple years earlier), but there were a lot of supplemental graphics to create. I contemplated developing graphics for each "scene" described in the lyrics - "The far far right versus the far far left", "High fashion implanted chick versus liposucked gym boy", "Conspicuous consumer versus organic minimalist'", "Subsidized plaintiff versus overfunded defendant"... but creating all those characters and backgrounds, and animating them, for what would be less than a few seconds onscreen for each scene just wasn't practical. If only I had a crew of animators working for me...

The final animation consists of "performance" scenes (the band playing) with the bridge (about 2/3rds of the way through the song) containing more conceptual work, based on the lyrics:

Fun Fact: When this video came out in 2004, I noticed multple visits to our website from the Department of Defense for a week or so. I guess the title aroused their suspicions, but I have to assume the strange but un-terrorist-like lyrics alleviated their fears. I told my bandmates about this, but I don't think they actually believed me. For a week, we were Persons of Interest.

I probably heard this song (often in pieces) a few hundred times while I was working on the video - not to mention all the times you hear a song when you're recording (and mixing and mastering), and we rehearsed and performed it many more times. It took me a couple years to cleanse my palette, but I do admit that I enjoy listening to it again. A friend described it as "proto-punk", a description which I think suits it well.

Once it was complete, it was a satisfying project, and the final piece got us some press and lots of hits to our website, though we didn't have quite the increase in people purchasing our music as I'd hoped. Oh well. Infamy is better than fame and money any day. We did have a few people come to our shows randomly, after seeing the video - and someone once recognized two of us before we went on stage, based on seeing us in animated form. You can't beat that. Not even with a drum stick.

"Wars We Need To See" Animated Video

Please don't ask me what the song means. I don't know. I am only the humble drummer.

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