Now and then, this website attracts correspondence or comments from the people that I write about: the cowriter of Bryan Adams’ “Summer of 69,” the bassist from Information Society, the actor who starred in Poison’s video for “Nothin’ But a Good Time.” I was delighted the other day to get email from Meiert Avis, who has directed dozens of videos, including U2’s “With or Without You”–and the #55 entry on our 1988 countdown, Bruce Springsteen’s “One Step Up.”
Meiert sent a gracious note, which I reprint here with his permission:
I ran across your kind words about my Springsteen “One Step Up” video, and though I could fill in on some missing sequences that might make more sense of the video.
“Back to the bar, where Springsteen is now wearing a tan leather jacket. I assume this is meant to underscore that he’s been coming to this bar too often, not to dazzle us with costume changes.”
If you look closely you may see that, as well as the wardrobe changes, Springsteen is slightly more mature each time we cut back to him in the bar. In fact we used prosthetics to age him well into his sixties (where he is now). It was a long sweaty process, and, as far as I remember, pretty well executed. So the video narrative should read as him going to the same bar and thinking about the same shit for many years in some psycho-geographic loop. (One step up two steps back)
When marketing saw Bruce as an old man they decided it wasn’t quite the “look” that they were after and so we had to cut twenty or thirty years of aging work out of the video.
It had more humanity before.
It might be cool to remaster it with the original aging sequences today and see how it plays against the real Bruce.
As for “Brilliant Disguise”, which you found “remarkably dull”, I have written some blog-blather about the context and process, minimalist as it was.
Hey, at least it was “remarkable” for something, right? And I imagine the video has aged much better than you or I. I am actually very proud of it, but I do appreciate it’s not for everyone.
Anyway, thanks for the attention and all the best to you and yours.
Meiert also informed me that the redheaded bartender, who I thought might be Patti Scialfa making a cameo appearance, was not actually Scialfa–but that the resemblance was intentional. I thank him for the good-humored look behind the scenes, and strongly suggest you go check out his tale of making “Brilliant Disguise,” which is a very entertaining story of video production.