In mid 2014, Melbourne based trash-rock band The Mercy Kills learned that they’d scored the much sought-after support slot for Courtney Love’s Australian tour. Followers of Australian Musician may remember the band documenting that tour in a diary for us (which you can read here ). Now the The Mercy Kills present a DVD documentary of that 7 date national tour titled ‘Paradise Motel-Australian Tour’, named after the EP which they launched on that jaunt with Ms Love. The documentary follows the band around the country offering footage of Josh, Mark, Jen and Nat backstage, in hotel rooms, at airport waiting lounges, in the studio, as well as offering their entire Melbourne Festival Hall ten song set.
The video was directed and edited by the band’s drummer Joshua Black, who will be the first to admit that he was basically learning as he went. Black was also quick to acknowledge his close friend Stacey Broadfoot for her assistance and unexpurgated advice. However despite the lack of film experience, you’d be forgiven for thinking the film was put together by a high profile production company as the results are extremely impressive. Armed with little more than a passion for film, a sketchy knowledge of editing and the odd snippet of advice from some video pros and his friends, Josh has produced a top quality film which perfectly captures the excitement of the tour. However, The Mercy Kills Paradise Motel-Australian Tour was never meant to be a full length doco, it just turned out that way. “There was no real plan to do this, to do a documentary,” says Josh. “We just thought, let’s film it just for us. We’re playing Festival Hall. We may never do it again, let’s film it. Initially I thought maybe we can pull a video clip out of this. Something to show my grand kids when I’m 80. I started playing with the editing program and I watched a shit load of tutorials and as it went along, I thought, I can do this!”
Seven cameras were used for the Festival Hall footage, mainly Go Pros. The concert sound was taken from the mixing desk and embellished with a few overdubs, resulting in broadcast-quality audio and video. For the incidental footage, backstage and beyond, Josh used a small digital camera and implored his band mates to capture iPhone footage whenever they could. “I had a little digital camera and was in everyone’s faces and they started getting a bit sick of me, especially toward the end of the tour when they were getting tired,” recalls Josh. “I wanted the stuff that you normally wouldn’t want people to see. In the end we’re all voyeuristic and that’s what public would want to see.” It was an extraordinary effort from Josh, as for the duration of the tour he was suffering from a bad dose of flu. A shot of him sitting on a shower floor willing himself to health while Nat and Jen are enjoying a side-stage moment watching Courtney Love, is testament to this.
Although the band only got to meet Courtney Love at the very end of the tour and just had time for a quick photo, she does make a small appearance in the documentary. “We would have loved to have got some real footage with Courtney Love but just getting a photo with her was enough, we kind of gave her space during the tour and I think she would have appreciated that,” says Josh. “We have used a bit of one of her tracks. Ginger Wildheart from her band was cool for us to use it. It’s just a little sequence near the end. It’s not a feature piece where we are using it to sell our stuff, it’s just appropriate for where it is in the documentary. They’d just written the song and started playing it on that tour.”
Since completing the film, Josh has been bitten by the film editing bug. His most recent work is a clip for the band’s song ‘She Knows’, which is a stop motion video, made entirely of stills from their Happy To Kill You album cover shoot. The band is also appearing in a new motion picture called ‘Sheborg’ which is being put together by Strongman, the team which has shot previous Mercy Kills videos. The band will formally launch their Paradise Motel-Australian Tour documentary with a Melbourne gig soon. Apart from the gig footage and backstage material, the video also contains 36 minutes of extras including some humorous clips featuring the roller derby girls from MurderDrome, another film the band appeared in. All up there’s more than an hour and a half of rockin’ good Mercy Kills’ fun.
You can order the DVD now from the band’s online merch store http://tmkstore.bigcartel.com/ or purchase it at their live shows