Dead Body Surfaces During Alexisonfire Video Shoot
"First corpse on one of our video shoots ever," says Alexisonfire co-vocalist George Pettit. "I saw this leg, this big green leg. It was intense."
The body, of course, can't be seen in the video for the Canadian band's video, 'Young Cardinals,' the first single from the album, 'Old Crows/Young Cardinals.' However, it was a significant part of the nine-hour shoot on the Maid of the Mist – the famed boat tour at Niagara Falls – which heads into the dense spray and whirlpools of the Horseshoe Falls.
"Mid-way through the video shoot a dead body surfaced. I guess it happens, not super regularly but it's a suicide point, the Falls," says Pettit. "Apparently, somebody jumped off a couple of days before and they [bodies] don't come up immediately. They come up a couple of days later so it was a bit gnarly.
"We didn't spot it, but [the authorities] brought it right around behind the boat. They put it between two rowboats to keep a crowd from seeing. They covered it up a bit."
Alexisonfire hails from St. Catharines, Ontario – about a 20 minute drive – and amazingly Pettit had never previously been on the Maid of the Mist (although he does confess to going to "most of the cheesy tourist trap stuff" in Niagara and likes Ripley's Believe It Or Not! the best). He says the band's singer Dallas Green had thrown out the idea several years ago to one day shoot a video on a boat, and the Maid of the Mist was the obvious choice. There is no tie-in lyrically. They just thought it would be fun.
Directed by Marc Ricciardelli, who has done seven of Alexisonfire's nine videos, the audience was comprised of fans, who all got to wear the Maid of the Mist's trademark blue plastic ponchos. But the band wasn't as lucky, of course. Pettit, Green, guitarist Wade MacNeil, bassist Chris Steele and drummer Jordan Hastings were in regular, civilian duds and paid the price to look cool.
"It was definitely more comfortable for them than it was for us, for sure," Pettit laughs. "It was May and it was cold and we were definitely freezing. By the end of the day, we were all miserable, but in a fun kind of way where you share in the misery with all your friends. It's like a big hangover the day after you had a really fun time. You eat breakfast with all your friends and everybody feels like shit, but you enjoy it as a result of that."
Some of the shots in the video are stunning, whether it was the immensity of the Falls or the beauty of the wildlife. "The birds were everywhere that day," says Pettit. "When we said we wanted to use the Maid of the Mist, I think that the people at Maid of the Mist had filmed a bunch of really high quality shots of the Falls for commercial purposes and they had a bunch of extra footage. I don't know how much of it we used because a lot of that is straight from our camera."
You can see the lens of the camera is wet throughout the shoot, adding to the look of the video and translating the experience. "The cameras were right in there and we were right in the thick of it," says Pettit. "You're performing and you're playing through the playback, and it's so overpowering the amount of cold water that is hitting and the sheer magnitude of the Falls right on top of you. It was a pretty tense and fun experience."
As for the instruments that got drenched, Epiphone donated a Sheraton II to MacNeil for the shoot, and Green picked up a guitar for $100.
"No one would ever bring their nice equipment into a situation like that," says Pettit. "We gave them away to kids at the thing afterwards. They could take them home, if it they still worked. They might still work. I don't know. It could be a commercial for Epiphone – the most durable guitar."