Video: Behind the Scenes: The Making of Babylon

01 Oct

The music video for “Babylon” was shot on location at Tess’ Lark Tavern in Albany over Labor Day weekend in 2004 (much to Tess’ chagrin). This behind-the-scenes video is mostly footage I shot with the camcorder when I wasn’t being filmed myself – the “Gonzo Cam.”


Behind the Scenes:

Original Video:

Ironweed Inspiration:

And now, some trivia about the music video.

TRIVIA: Carl Liss (director), Brian Jones (gaffer), Heather Roslund (set design) and moi (Bryan Thomas, professional goofball) were all in the same 2nd grade class at Rosendale Elementary School in Niskayuna, NY. We’ve been friends since kindergarten. Carl, Brian and Heather also have cameo roles in the video: Carl is the bartender, Brian is sitting at the bar, and Heather tells Gina to stop clapping at the very end of the video. (Thanks a lot, Heather!)

TRIVIA: The bar scene was filmed downstairs (obviously), but if the main room in the music video doesn’t look quite like the Lark Tavern you’ve come to know and love, that’s because it was shot entirely in the storage area on the second floor of the building. Originally Carl conceived shooting in the bar itself, but it soon became apparent that building a club on the second floor would be easier and less disruptive to the Lark’s normal business.

TRIVIA: Albany poetry diva Mary Panza was cast as the indifferent open mic host shortly after Tess backed out of the role. No audition: Mary just rolled up and started being herself. ‘Nuff said.

TRIVIA: The premise of the video is loosely based on a scene in the film of Albany icon William Kennedy’s novel “Ironweed,” where Meryl Streep’s character is singing “He’s Me Pal” in a bar. “Ironweed” was also shot on location in Albany. You can see Meryl kickin’ it here: (Guess who she’s a-kissin’ at 2:15?)

TRIVIA: There were no edits in the final shot. Carl, cast and crew had to really bust ass so that all of the extras in the audience could get out of the room in the few seconds where the camera swings out of their view. Got it in three takes, as I recall.

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