"No one has seen this side of us, the behind-the-scenes reality of Orgy," says Bobby Hewitt, the band's drummer and director of their retrospective DVD, TRANS GLOBAL SPECTACLE, due August 23 on D1 Music/DLC Records. "Most of our fans have only seen us onstage, in videos and in magazines, but this is the real us."
Orgy - Hewitt, singer Jay Gordon, guitarists Ryan Shuck and Amir Derakh, and bassist Paige Haley - were shot out of the hard-rock cannon in 1998 with their platinum album Candyass. Its ear-candy hooks, crushing riffs and razor-edge electronic sonics laid the scorched-earth groundwork for 2000's gold Vapor Transmission and 2004's Punk Statik Paranoia. The videos for "Blue Monday," "Stitches" and "Fiction (Dreams in Digital)," meanwhile, created an indelible visual impression of post-punk artifice; the hair, the makeup, the costumes - all conspired to shroud the band in a cloak of dark menace. TRANS GLOBAL SPECTACLE lifts the veil.
In addition to clips for "Blue Monday" and "Stitches" (counted among MTV's "Top 100 Videos of all Time") from Candyass, "Fiction (Dreams in Digital)" from Vapor Transmission, and "Vague" from Punk Statik Paranoia, complete live performances of "Blue Monday," "Gender" and "Dissention," and four exclusive audio remixes of the forthcoming single "Pure" (which are currently being serviced to rock and alternative radio stations across the country), the DVD reveals five guys from L.A. as they really are - rude, crude and socially unacceptable but also funny, frank and always united in appreciation of their fans.
"We really wanted them to know what it was like to be with us on the road, so we tried to make the DVD as raw and real as possible. I did intercut one live sequence with footage from a couple of different venues," says Hewitt, who owns a production company called Image Industry, "but there are no fancy transitions or special effects." What the band captured in all its ragged, hand-held glory - except for the videos and live performances, virtually everything on TRANS GLOBAL SPECTACLE was shot by the members of Orgy themselves - is a travelogue of studios and stages, hotels and highways, that takes fans from MTV's "Fashionably Loud" and "Campus Invasion Tour" to opening for Love and Rockets and the many headlining shows supporting Vapor Transmission.
Along the way, Orgy encounters a cavalcade of colorful characters: "activity director" Church, who eats a scorpion on camera and recites the memorable/incomprehensible line, "There's nothing like this town in a Mohican carnival warrior T, Pop Tart candy with hot dogs and lemonade"; Sarah, who came along for the ride, joined the crew and messed up her knee when a car hit the bus door just as she was walking through it; the naked girl who turns out to be the daughter of a town bigwig; assorted members of Alien Ant Farm and Papa Roach; Gerrold the goth kid; Marci the eyebrow lady; producer Josh Abraham; and Bobby's children, to name a few.
But it's the band's rock-and-roll high jinks that provide the most entertainment, like when Jay dons Naked Girl's dress and Ryan slips into her brassiere and the two go parading down the street and into a local grocery. Or when the various members ride off the roof on a banana-seat bike into a massive Lake Tahoe snow drift. Or when Ryan feels it necessary to squeegee the bus' windshield, ass to the wind, in a truck stop parking lot. And then there are the standard downtime activities: getting tattooed, playing golf, running from a speeding train.
Still, amid the jackassery are moments of enduring depth. In one casual, home-studio scene, the boys play a laid-back version of "the first Orgy song ever written." During another early recording session, one of the band members remarks off-camera, the ring of prophecy in his voice, "You know what - we're gonna put out a hit record." Orgy's creative process is illuminated in a sequence where a lone guitar figure is extrapolated into a fully realized song. And there are times when viewers see the band sick, tired, bored and psychically wrung out from months and months of nonstop touring, from Chicago to Salt Lake City, from Denver to South Beach, from New York to L.A., and everywhere in between. A particularly poignant scene finds Bobby returning home late one night. It's clear that his sleepy wife and son haven't seen him in some time.
"Once I had all the footage assembled, there were many times when I was going back through it and sitting in the room by myself laughing out loud," says the drummer, who winnowed more than 50 hours of raw material dating back to 1997, dug out of countless boxes and bags, to produce the feature-length DVD. "But there were a lot of times where I got goosebumps. Putting this together was a very emotional experience. Seeing the response of our fans, remembering how that felt, was pretty intense, just overwhelming."
It was these fans who came up with the oh-so-apropos DVD title TRANS GLOBAL SPECTACLE, a lyric from the Vapor Transmission song "Where's Gerrold." The title was selected from roughly 700 submissions to Orgy's website, www.punkstatikparanoia.com (standout also-ran suggestions: "Makeup, Dreams and Androids," "Kiss the Future," "Orgy's Creepy Secret").
"I don't want to sound cheesy," Hewitt continues, "but this DVD was put together for the fans, the people who've stayed with us and supported us from the beginning and are still coming out to our shows after eight years. We felt we owed it to them; it's our way of saying thank you."