I told my son David a few years back, when he was just starting out as a music video director and working with lesser-known rap groups I’d never heard of, to give me a call if he ever hooked up with someone I could relate to, like maybe one of the Big Three from my generation—The Beatles, The Stones, or Bobbie D.
Well, he called. (In between, he directed videos featuring younger talent--a group of one-name wonders that includes Creed, Usher, and that cutie Pink, not to mention a bunch of hot J’s: Janet Jackson, Ja Rule, and J. Lo.) When he dropped the name “Mick,” I, of course, dropped my real life and pushed the pedal to the metal on a pilgrimage to L.A. Though Mick would be sans Stones, wild horses couldn’t have kept me away.
On the “Visions of Paradise” video set, I snagged a position as an extra in the elevator scene. I thank the heavens it wasn’t the elephant scene. The gorgeous young starlet who sat atop that beast had to endure being sprayed with icky water recycled through its playful trunk. I attempted to banter with the other extras, but they were a grim lot. One guy dimmed my enthusiasm with, “My job is to suit up, show up, and shut up.” And that’s exactly what he did, even when I was in the elevator with him later and he heard the unseen director holler Chorus Line-style, “Hey Ma, look up at the monitor.”
Who among us is prepared for the moment when marvelous Mick walks up from behind and embraces you for a photo op? My tag-along “little” sister nervously squealed, “What do we do?” (It’s a good thing he didn’t approach from the front, or we might have fainted from sensory overload. Mick wore a dapper pin-stripe suit and heartthrob-red shirt accessorized with a tasteful version of “rapper’s ice” jewelry. At 60-something, he’s sure looking good.) All lips and teeth and blue eyes and charm, Mick replied in his melodic voice, “Just smile, ladies.” And in the snap of a shutter, we had an ultimate rock trophy.
Between takes, as I reclined into one of those tall canvas director’s chairs set up under a portable VIP tent, it blew my mind to see my baby boy rolling his monster of a camera and telling this rock ‘n roll legend what to do. My son chuckled with satisfaction as he looked into his monitor and saw that Mick had gesticulated at the camera and done his moves so well that the camera caught not only what he needed, but what he wanted.
It was also while sitting in this chair that my mind was blown yet again when I saw teeny boppers on the sidelines jumping up and down with delight as they caught sight of not Mick, but Dave. Even though he ain’t no Rolling Stone, my son was recognized by these kids from his many “Making of the Video” appearances on MTV.
On the second day of the three-day shoot, while we were sitting out in that warm L.A. sun at the trendy, trendy Brentwood Coffee Bean, sipping our caramel lattes before heading to the set downtown, my husband caught up with us on my daughter’s cell phone. “Daddy who?” I asked her as she handed me the phone.
Since this video shoot, Director Dave has been talking to one of the other two Big Three (the cute one). Pop divas Jennifer Lopez, Pink, and Gwen Stefani of No Doubt have all thanked him from the stage as they accepted their awards at the MTV Music Video Awards. Mick has been knighted, received a Golden Globe, and is on tour again with his mates. The world spins faster in Hollywood.
Unfortunately, the track bombed and “our” video didn’t get much play on MTV, VH1, or anywhere else. Though Mick was digitally enhanced in post-production by Hollywood’s best--to the point of smoothing his trademark cheek crags—and though he knows how to croon a fabulous love tune and spit out the world’s best rock ‘n roll, he’s been firmly placed into the “old rocker” category. And so, even though “Visions of Paradise” is a song you can listen to over and over and the video has a sense of humor and is fun to watch, few have heard or seen it. I must carry The Photograph in my purse so people will believe my tale. On one occasion, someone viewing it suggested Mick was a cardboard cutout. It seems to be just too much for a mind to take in that someone you know has hung with Mick.
But this regrettable bias against aging rock stars isn’t deterring me. A need still exists for “mature” extras. This journey got me daydreaming about quitting my day job, joining SAG, and getting into The Business full time. Perhaps I’ll have a little work done, or maybe I’ll beg my son for some of that fabulous digital enhancement, or maybe I’ll just let gravity do its thing and settle for character parts.
I guess I’m as ready for my close-up as I’ll ever be Mr. DeMille, I mean ... son.
Carole Terwilliger Meyers is the author of Weekend Adventures in San Francisco & Northern California (Mick has a copy) and the editor of Dream Sleeps: Castle & Palace Hotels of Europe (both published by Carousel Press: www.carousel-press.com). She lives in Berkeley.
Director Dave Meyers is a graduate of Berkeley High School. His people are talking with Mick’s people about doing another video. His current project is a collaboration with Steven Tyler and Santana.