On a drive from a recording session in Beacon, New York back to Brooklyn, Joe Marson started singing the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ popular track, “Soul To Squeeze.” From that casual singing session in the car, Joe put his own arrangement of the song together. He says, “it was such a spontaneous idea, and I’m really happy with how it came out.” Then, while on tour in North Carolina, Joe took a long run and he said, “for some reason, the whole video unfolded in my head in the matter of a few miles.”
He envisioned a creepy, lonely, sad clown who is constantly facing rejection, on his way to the west coast, seeking acceptance and a sense of belonging. Funny enough, Joe laughed as he told me that, ironically, he actually hates clowns. Some of the scenes he saw vividly in his head during his run and other scenes developed along Joe’s own trip relocating to the west coast. The clown’s journey closely mirrored that of Joe’s as they each made their way across the country. Along with his friend Karen Sterling, his partner in crime in the process, Joe filmed a majority of the music video while en route. The opening scene in the snow was filmed in Vermont and the ending scene on the beach was filmed in California.
Joe opens the video with childhood reminiscent images of a stuffed animal giraffe and a clown nose in the snow when we first see Joe, as a clown. He lays in the snow, confused and alone as the famous first lyrics begin, “I’ve got a bad disease / Up from my brain is where I bleed.” While his clown face is jarring, his voice is smooth and warm as can be. Joe’s creative touch is obvious from the first few seconds of the song as his arrangement is rather sweet and carefully done. I am personally grateful for the gift of his falsetto, as the scene cuts away to the clown walking down a desolate street with only a suitcase in hand. As the clown continues to be rejected by passing cars and bar owners despite his attempt at charm, we begin to see past the creepy makeup and into the endearing heart of the clown. It’s easy to feel good as we see a nice woman braid his messy hair, the first act of kindness he has seen in the video thus far. The journey is tough and the walk is far, but the clown slowly makes his way through the sand dunes towards the west coast. Once he finally gets there, he opens his suitcase to reveal a set of pink and blue floaties, which the clown puts on before playfully running into the Pacific Ocean. The water washes the makeup off of his face and the clown shares his first true smile of his journey with us. The video resolves as the clown finds a group of clown friends on the beach. They help him re-apply his makeup, and they show him the community and acceptance he had been searching for. Joe says, “The video was put together with a lot of love and clown tears.”
Joe Marson plans on releasing his next album “Electric Soul Magic V. II” this fall, with his cover of “Soul To Squeeze” on the track list. Until then, be sure to check Joe out at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2 on June 10.
Article: Alex Feigin