Peter Buck Has The Saddest Birthday in Eyelids’ New Video
If you’re Peter Buck, co-founder and guitarist of R.E.M., you probably expect your birthday to be pretty grand — champagne, maybe a chocolate fountain, a rock & roll vice or three. You’d expect more, at least, than a solitary meal of store-bought cake and Arthur Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell and Illuminations for company. But that’s exactly what Buck gets in Eyelids’ new video for “Falling Eyes.”
The simple video — which features Buck eating and reading while the band plays through the jangle-pop track — is pretty fitting for the band, though. The humbleness and surrealism. Eyelids is, quietly, the most insane super group imaginable. Band members have played with some pretty heavy-hitters throughout their musical careers: John Moen (vocalist/guitarist) has performed with the Decemberists and Stephen Malkmus; Jonathan Drews (guitarist) played with Sunset Valley; Chris Slusarenko (vocalist/guitarist) was a member of Robert Pollard’s Guided by Voices and Boston Spaceships; Paulie Pulvirenti (drums) worked with Elliott Smith; and bassist Jim Talstra played with the Maroons and Cavemanish Boys. And although all those influences are present in their music, they stand alone as a solid power-pop band. Separate from the hubbub, much like Buck at his party.
“The weaving of other people’s influences we’ve worked with are undeniable whether it was Elliott Smith or Stephen Malkmus or Colin Meloy,” Slusarenko says. “After playing in bands with each other for almost three decades you already have your own approaches and influences, but there’s always room to be blown away by how someone else writes their songs instead.”
Buck, for his part, produced Eyelids’ upcoming sophomore release, Or, out May 5. “Because Peter has had a large creative impact on every single person in the band you worried about being intimidated… I mean, having one of your biggest musical heroes standing there while you’re making your album definitely makes you want to elevate the music for him,” Slusarenko says of working with a legend. No slouch himself, Slusarenko, bizarrely, once performed in a DEVO cover band with Elliott Smith.
More importantly, he also directed the video, which was shot in a backyard in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. “I wanted the saddest cake we could find,” the singer/guitarist says. “I finally found one that was yellow with cracks in the frosting. The baker did a half-hearted attempt for some birthday glee by also throwing some real birthday ribbons haphazardly on the corner of it. It looked defeated. I was worried that Peter might get sick from eating but it went down well.”
In a way, that cake mirrors the band’s vibe — somewhere between buoyant and melancholy. “My favorite songs are the ones that one any given day will either elate you or make you want to sit down and cry,” Slusarenko says. “You take the power from them as needed.” Buck definitely needed said power to make it through that bizarre birthday.
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