The Blasés

The Almighty Bob

Posted by Paul Devlin:

Happy Birthday, Almighty Bob!

This piece was a birthday present for my dear friend Robert Wagner 20 years ago. Now I'm re-gifting it to him. Rob was the singer for The Blasés, a band that was hugely popular in New Jersey in the '80s and '90s. This piece features some great tracks from Rob's solo work.

We went on a hike up Shrine Pass outside of Vail, Colorado, along with my mom, Nancy Devlin, and my girlfriend at the time, Shannon Stanczak. Of course, I brought a video camera and of course, Rob starting riffing.

Music Video: The Blasés - Time Walks Away"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

“Time Walks Away” is the third music video I worked on with the popular New Jersey indie rock band, The Blasés (the other two are “All Night Long” from Rockin’ Brunswick  and “You Don’t Know Me.”) This video was featured on MTV’s 120 Minutes.

I had recently moved to New York City after ski bumming in Colorado and the band’s record company (Permanent Rave Records) had already chosen a director, George Mitas.  The band wanted me involved so I agreed to edit the video.

I knew that singer Rob Wagner and keyboardist Billy Donohue had been childhood friends, so we collected home movies of them together and matched this with the performance footage. Ideal for the theme of the song.  So is the “perfect little nugget” (as Jim Wood calls it) of Rob with his Volkswagen bug during childhood and then adulthood.

The band was spectacularly popular in bars and clubs in New Jersey in the ‘80s and ‘90s but this song is from their only album. The themes of these tracks, including “Time Walks Away,” were influenced by the death in 1985 of bassist Paul “Rock” Verdon in a train accident.

Music Video: The Blasés - "You Don't Know Me"

Posted by Paul Devlin:

The summer after I made Rockin’ Brunswick, I hooked up with The Blasés again to shoot this video on 16mm film all over New Jersey, and then brought it back to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to edit.

We had a lot of fun making it and I think it shows.  I love the color and the energy and the serendipity of two very different wedding parties finding their way into our shoot.

We managed to get the video played on MTV’s Basement Tapes, a weekly competition for unsigned bands, hosted by Martha Quinn.  That week the guest host was Billy Crystal, and as our video finished, the camera caught him saying to Martha as an aside, “Ooh, I really like that one.”

A heavy metal band with a lot of special effects in their video won the audience voting award.  The Blasés were disappointed not to win the recording equipment prize, but it was still a coup for us all to get a video on MTV during its heyday when we were still in college.

To see more from The Blasés, get the DVD of Rockin’ Brunswick here!
 

Rockin' Brunswick - The Blasés, "All Night Long" (9 of 12)

Posted by Paul Devlin:

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The Blasés were good friends of mine through high school and college and still are.  They lived in North Jersey and I grew up in Central Jersey. But the keyboardist, Bill Donohue, is a cousin of my high school classmate Jim Donohue.  So we combined our groups of friends, and went on adventures, heading north on the Garden State Parkway to watch the Blasés play high school dances.

The Blasés were a hit in New Brunswick and I made two more music videos of them, both of which played on MTV (we'll post those here as well soon).  They went on to become one of the most popular bands at the Jersey shore in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and enjoyed a lot of college radio play. 

This song from Rockin’ Brunswick features bassist Paul “Rock” Verdon.  Our buddy Rock died in a train accident in 1985 and will always be missed.

Next up, The Groceries....

Or you can get the DVD of Rockin’ Brunswick, here.

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