On his album, Big Wheel and Others, filled with touching songs, none is more so than the one Cass McCombs recorded with cult actress Karen Black called “Brighter!” It’s the second such song he’s made with Black, but she passed away last August right before it’s release. McCombs asked Black’s husband, filmmaker Stephen Eckelberry, to produce a video that mixed in classic clips with some amateur iPhone film. Watch above and read her husband’s thoughts via P4k:
Cass McCombs emailed me in late November 2013 and asked if I would create a music video for Brighter! – the song he recorded with Karen in December 2012 – using classic clips from her movies. It struck me as an opportunity to explore a theme that interests me – the relationship of film and memory. We watch a movie and the images from that movie become part of our memory stream.
My own memories of Karen are intertwined with memories of her in films – it gets messier for me since I directed several movies she was in – which memory is stronger; Karen during the making the film or what ended up on screen? An image came to me: Cass himself becoming a screen for the projection of images of Karen – as if his memories of her were playing themselves out over his body.
I found a clip I had shot with my iPhone when Cass was over at our house rehearsing the song with Karen, and I combined that with clips of her movies, some iconic, some more obscure, and I weaved in footage of fire, sparkes, burning… The song does seem to deal with hell, or is it the hell of fame?