Friends, Bill Paxton was a fantastic actor and from all accounts was a remarkably nice guy as well. And while I am glad to say I grew up watching many of his fantastic performances in films like Weird Science, The Terminator, and Aliens to name a few – I admit that I somehow had no knowledge of his being part of the musical group known as Martini Ranch. As I’ve mentioned on this site before I didn’t grow up in a household where music was really a thing beyond the occasional Beatles album – it wasn’t until towards the mid 80’s that I had a chance to ‘discover’ music on my own and that was courtesy of Weird Al Yankovic’s second album In 3-D. This is all a lead up to asking you beg my lack of knowledge that Bill Paxton has a lot of co-stars in the Martini Ranch music videos.
Martini Ranch itself, if you go by Wikipedia and with my vast lack of musical knowledge that is the safest bet – is described as a New Wave band. The band which was formed in 1982 consisted of Andrew Todd Rosenthal who provided vocals in addition to playing guitar – with Paxton handling samples and providing vocals too. To say nothing of the fact that for the 1986 music video for their song How Can the Labouring Man Find Time for Self-Culture? – talking co-stars from 1984’s The Terminator like Michael Biehn and Rick Rossoich into appearing in the video. That particular music video also includes Anthony Michael Hall from 1985’s Weird Science as well as the late and great Miguel Ferrer and even Judge Reinhold. Plus the possibility of Kelly LeBrock from that 1985 sci-fi/comedy although I’m not remotely positive about the inclusion, when you check out the video for yourself – let me know if you think it’s LeBrock and how many other co-stars I might have missed. Naturally since I write for the Retroist there is no way I can leave out the fact that Devo‘s Bob Casale produced and engineered the song – in addition to playing with fellow band members Alan Myers and Mark Mothersbaugh on it.
Now how I stumbled upon Martini Ranch’s music videos is because of an upcoming Retro Records post – the video for 1988’s Reach was highlighted off to the side of my search. The video was uploaded to Andrew Todd Rosenthal’s YouTube channel and what caught my eye was not just the mention of Bill Paxton but the fact the video itself was directed by none other than James Cameron! It seems like Paxton was able to bring in an even larger group of co-stars and friends for this particular music video, one that was based on the screenplay that Paxton and Tom Huckabee (Frailty) wrote entitled Lonesome Cowgirls: Amazons of the Wild West. The video itself features the likes of Bud Cort (Harold and Maude), Louise Paxton, Judge Reinhold, Paul Reiser, William Wisher, Brian Thompson, Scott Thomson (Police Academy), and I think Aliens Mark Rolston.
That isn’t all however as this music video must have been filmed around the same time as 1987’s Near Dark as it also features that excellent film’s Director Kathryn Bigelow in addition to Paxton’s co-stars Adrian Pasdar, Lance Henriksen, and Jenette Goldstein. Fair warning there is a moment in this awesome video where Paxton uses language that is just a tad more salty than we would normally share – it’s played for laughs and it’s quick but if you have little kids in the room it occurs during the branding scene.
If you liked the video and I am pretty sure will, there is a moving and hilarious outtake video uploaded by Andrew Todd Rosenthal – featuring a song entitled Elegy for Bill. It’s worth watching for the behind the scenes antics as well as being a reminder of how great Bill Paxton was.