Sparrow Double Play: Meltdown/Mystery

[Image: 'Sparrow Double Play: Meltdown/Mystery' Front Cover]

© 1984 The Sparrow Corporation
VHS · VCV 4583



  1. Mystery (Sheila Walsh)
  2. Meltdown (At Madame Tussaud's)

About The Video

From Interviews With Cornerstone '84 Artists, Cornerstone Magazine, Q1(?) 1984:

A lot of people donated time to do a video of one of the songs on the album, so we got a thirty thousand dollar video for about ten thousand dollars. I really think this is one of the few thing I've done that I can walk away from and actually say, "Yeah, this turned out the way I wanted it to turn out." We picked the song "Meltdown" because, one, we thought it was one of the more commercial tunes and second--and maybe some people won't understand this--I wanted to do a song that I thought could get on something besides a television monitor in a Christian bookstore. So we did it with the idea of getting it on cable, and hopefully even something like MTV.

My record company asked for a separate version for the Christian bookstores though, one with a little bit less ... er ... gore. I don't want to get anyone up arms or anything, but the song has a lot of people melting. We've got one scene where there's a couple of heads, some arms and fingers and stuff, in a puddle of wax. It's an interesting thing to watch, but it never takes itself so seriously that it gets offensive. I hope not, anyway.

From Cloning Around with Steve Taylor, CCM Magazine, June 1984:

In producing the clip, I had to make a small-budget production look like it cost three times as much. For starters, we rented the Hollywood Wax Museum for a day at an incredibly low price due to the off-season. And the curator turned out to be a Hollywood special effects man with major film credits including Superman: The Movie. He took care of things like Queen Victoria's melting face.

A lot of credit goes to my cinematographer and co-director Michael Brown and his crew. And the editing was done by Millie Paul, who worked on The Making of Michael Jackson's Thriller. Lisa Whelchel even put in a guest appearance. How's that for hype?

From Post-Fritz Release Interview, Unknown source, Q2(?) 1985:

I think it evidently got shown a few times [on MTV], but never got into any kind of rotation or anything like that. So MTV I don't have a lot of comments on because I don't really know what happened. I know that when the video came out that companies picked it up and ended up servicing it to clubs and to about forty or fifty different channels like MTV around the country and it ended up doing very well. So that was a situation where people responded to it because they liked the looks of it, and so they ended up playing it around.

The goal with the Meltdown video--it wasn't practical to do a video at that time just for Christian video shows, because, to my knowledge, there were only like one or two at the most at that time anyway. So we did something that hopefully would catch the general public's attention, cause them to buy the record, and then they'd get the message on the record.

From Steve Taylor's Musical Matinee, Christian Music Crossroads, October 1995:

Taylor's first album for Sparrow, Meltdown, introduced the world to his sometimes skewed world view. But because in 1982 music video was in its infancy, Taylor was also afforded the chance to show the world his visual ways.

"That was about the same time MTV was catching on, and the whole idea of music videos being an end unto themselves," Taylor says. "I went to the record company and said, 'Wouldn't it be great to do a video of [the song] "Meltdown at Madame Tussauds's," and they said 'Yeah, it would. Here's five thousand bucks, go knock yourself out.'"

So where does a young man with a song, an idea and a minuscule budget go to fulfill his video dream? The Hollywood Wax Museum, of course.

"It turns out the owner was a B-movie effects guy, so he figured out a way to make the heads look like they were melting without messing anything up," Taylor says. "I hadn't planned to direct it, but the only way to pull it off was if I did direct it, because there wasn't any money to hire anybody. There really wasn't even enough money to hire a cinematographer, but there was a guy going to our church who was a really great cinematographer and who had done a bunch of commercials. He got a crew together for me.

"I had to deal with everything, arranging catering, making a deal with the parking lot next door, permits, all that stuff. It was a real trial by fire."

Visually, the "Meltdown" video was a success, even if it didn't spur the expected trend of performers using floor mops as mic stands. Mentally and physically, the process was such a chore for Taylor that he swore to himself that when the time came to make a video for his second album, someone else's posterior would grace the director's seat.

From The Three Faces Of Steve, The Lighthouse Electronic Magazine, April 1996:

I'm interested in what you think about your work as a video director. I'd just like to know what you think about some of the videos you've directed--both for yourself and for other artists. Could you start with "Meltdown"? [from the March 1984 release Meltdown]

I think "Meltdown" was pretty good for the time. I had to see it again because I was putting together a compilation reel, so I was looking at it and noticing a lot of editing mistakes that I made. There were some things about the lighting that probably could have been better, but a lot of that I just attribute to a low budget and the fact that I didn't know that much about what I was doing. Thankfully, I was working with some really good people who covered me. So I attribute the good parts of that video to the people I was working with.