Where does a professional musician shoot his No. 1 single video for his upcoming album?
How about the Salt Flats of Utah, where a number of iconic bands and singers have been filmed? Or, what about those hip urban streets of New York City or Los Angeles?
Or how about Hayward, Wisconsin?
When the singer/songwriter OneGunn was thinking of a video for his single “Join In,” a rhythm and blues (R&B) song with an undercurrent of reggae, he originally imagined shooting in the Twin Cities, but circumstances and a strong appeal from videographer/photographer James Netz resulted in the majority of the four-minute video being shot April 24 in the Hayward area.
Locals watching “Join In” will recognize the interior of the Park Center and Bonnie’s Florist and outside shots at the Highway 63 roadside near Seeley, at the Tag Adler Bridge over the Namekagon River, and outside of Angler’s Bar and Grill.
Along with the familiar scenes, two Hayward actors — Nicole Nathan and Chas Kadlec — play a couple who break up and then come back together when a dozen roses appear.
The professional video is what you’d expect from someone with OneGunn’s musical background that includes performing with Mazarati, the first band Prince produced under his Paisley Park label. OneGunn also contributed to Prince’s No. 1 hit “Kiss” and recorded several times with Paula Abdul. His music and vocals also have been incorporated into movie soundtracks, and he’s acted in independent films and commercials.
Recently, OneGunn has been playing in Las Vegas for Legends In Concert, where he performs Bob Marley hits. When he talked to the Record, OneGunn was in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as part of the national Legends tour.
“Join In,” had been mulling around in OneGunn’s thoughts for over 10 years before he wrote it. The song is about how relationships struggle but are worth fighting for.
“This song is about a dozen roses fixing every bad situation,” he said. “You don’t just give up. You’ve got to try, and I say why not start with roses? That’s a great start.”
Musically he was after something that was “hard hitting, kind of James Brown with R&B Funk, that turned out to have a reggae undertone.”
OneGunn and Netz met several years ago on a Twin Cities photoshoot. Later, Netz shot a video for CD release with OneGunn. At that time he encouraged OneGunn to choose Hayward as a location for shooting “Join In.” OneGunn was set on the Twin Cities, but when spring flooding there eliminated a river scene, Netz pitched Hayward again. What finally sold OneGunn on Hayward was the natural setting, an essential element for the video.
“I was thinking of love in every facet, not just human love, but incorporating other things,” he said. “I am such an animal lover, so why not have other creatures? I have this vision of animals cozying up to each other and people in good situations and bad situations.”
Much of the video was shot at Hayward’s Park Center, but a key scene features the wooden Tag Adler Bridge with OneGunn singing and playing near a 1930’s Ford Coupe provided by Randy Conner.
“That was Randy’s favorite car,” Netz said, “but sadly Randy passed away several weeks after we shot that video. He never got a chance to see the video. He was proud of his car and would have loved the video and I know his wife, Midge, she literally came to tears of pride from the car being in the video.”
OneGunn and Netz said the shoot was an excellent experience and the people of Hayward were very supportive.
“Hayward was pretty cool,” OneGunn said. “James had it all scoped out. We could have spent more time scripting it out, but we got the basics down — a performance stage setting, a shop to get some roses — and everyone we ran into was great. It helped that everyone was so cooperative. It was a great place.”
The finished product, OneGunn said, exceeded his expectations.
“As far as the vision and quality of filming and professionalism of the editing, it is right on point,” he said. “It is everything I could imagine and maybe a little more.”
Following the video’s release, Netz said, it would be great if OneGunn could return and perform in front of a live audience at the Park Center.
“I can’t wait to play a real gig in there,” OneGunn said.
“We do plan to try to book OneGunn there at the Park,” Netz said. “I think he would be a good fit, and now there are a lot of local people following him on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.”
And those who have seen the video and attend OneGunn’s performance can sing along confidently to “Join In.”