Death From Above 1979’s drummer and singer, Sebastien Grainger has long cited Rumble Fish as one of his favourite movies. As a solo act, he pays tribute to the Motorcycle Boy in his wonderful video “The Streets Are Still A Mess”, with plenty of fun nods to other gang classics, The Warriors and West Side Story.
Shot in 35mm, directed by Eve Michon in downtown Los Angeles, the music video has its own take on Beat It, with gangs in a dance off before heading to the rumble, (watch for the talented J-Man!). As the characters meet face to face, Sebastien utters a familiar line with a few shot homages (especially shots of the dog and knife) to Rumble Fish’s frenetic rumble.
(The Streets Are Still A Mess set photography by Joyce Kim)
Fader magazine asked Sebastien and his band member Jesse Keeler, about why they chose Rumble Fish as one of their five films that no-one may have ever heard of. They explained the premise of the film and what they love about it.
“KEELER: It’s a Francis Ford Coppola film. He made it the same year as he made The Outsiders, with a lot of the same cast. It’s based on a book by the same author, S. E. Hinton, about two brothers: Rusty James and Motorcycle Boy. Rusty James is the younger brother. His older brother was the gang president in their town and then he just, like, buggered off. Rusty romanticizes the gang life. Laurence Fishburne plays a fight pimp in the movie, you know, he sets up rumbles for people. It’s kind of like an art house view of gang life, and it’s beautifully shot.
GRAINGER: The soundtrack is done by Stewart Copeland from The Police, and the sound mix is really bizarre, like the soundtrack is way too loud, so sometimes there’s dialogue happening and you can barely hear it. It’s one of my favorite movies, though. I have tattoos of both characters, because I feel like you could take from both of them. You could be as dumb and as innocent as Rusty James and you could be as enlightened as Motorcycle Boy.”
I asked Sebastien about his tattoos, knowing that he had two related to Rumble Fish but could not find any photographs of them on show, yet there are plenty of photos online of his other ink. He kindly and unexpectedly sent me the below images to exclusively post here.
Thanks Sebastien, for having great taste in movies, ink and movie videos!
The Streets Are Still A Mess is a single from Sebastien’s album, Yours To Discover.