Cass McCombs’ latest music video is about as moody as we’ve come to expect from McCombs. The video, accompanying “I’m a Shoe” from his latest album Mangy Love, takes place in the dingiest ghost town McCombs could locate. This is, of course, fitting for the song, which is about the ghost town of Bodie, Calif., that was once so decadent that the saying “Goodbye, God, I’m going to Bodie” was coined.
This music video, directed by Rachael Pony Cassells, finds McCombs in some more recent ghost town, patrolling an overgrown, graffiti-ed motel. If the mood needed reinforcement, the video is filmed in a muted gray-scale and a vulture hovers overhead throughout. This video is about as hard to interpret as, well, anything else McCombs has released. The song seems to espouse a spirit of aimless wandering, with maybe a gentle critique of hedonism in there.
For a deeper exegesis of McCombs’ work, check out our past coverage of him and listen to Paste Cloud audio of “Robin Egg Blue” (and others) below, plus director Cassells’ full statement on the “I’m a Shoe” video beneath that. You can watch the video itself above.
Creation, destruction, boom, ghost. In the song ‘I’m a Shoe,’ Cass references the California boomtown / ghost town of Bodie, a town that rose to peak population in the late 1800’s gold rush. As people swarmed Bodie and scrambled to strike it rich, the town developed an unrivaled reputation for great violence, murder and a much feared figure – the ‘Bad Man of Bodie.’”
The video for ‘I’m a Shoe’ was filmed at the ghost town of Mare Island, Vallejo, California which in the chronology of California boomtown /ghost towns, directly follows the demise of Bodie. Bodie’s official end and Mare Island’s boom both came about to service the needs of World War II. The Roosevelt’s government’s War Production Board ordered the closure of Bodie’s gold mines in order to divert labor and equipment to the requirements of the war. Mare Island peaked at this time employing over 40,000 people building warships and submarines, it now sits in ruins. It is a very compelling ghost town with a strange discomforting atmosphere. How will this next uncertain chapter of US history unfold? What will be swarmed, extracted or built? What will be abandoned in the future for the vultures to inherit?