Greetings, Videots! Due to unforeseen circumstances, Scraps had to bail out on this week’s Name That Tune, so we’ll be taking a special trip to the 1980th dimension instead. Buckle up!
As you all know, New Orleans has been in the news quite a bit over the last few years, what with disasters natural (the hurricane) and man-made (heckuva job, Brownie!). But it’s important to remember that the city has a long, proud tradition of weathering terrible storms. Musical ones, even. Particularly during the ’80s.
We are talking, of course, about Louisiana’s LeRoux.
They’re something of a blues-club circuit standby now, but if you aren’t a student of Cajun blues or ’80s AOR, you may not have ever heard of Louisiana’s LeRoux — so we should probably spend a little time retracing the band’s fascinating, often unintentionally hilarious career.
The group was formed in the late ’70s by guitarist and singer Jeff Pollard — in fact, it was originally called the Jeff Pollard Band — and spent a few years bumming around the Capitol Records roster as a bayou-flavored rock band, spinning off minor hits like “New Orleans Ladies” and “Nobody Said It Was Easy,” before being dropped in 1980.
Shortening their name to LeRoux, the group soldiered on to RCA, where they eked out another record before Pollard quit, taking percussionist/flautist/trumpet player Bobby Campo with him. Now, it’s important to pause here and underscore what we’re talking about: The departure of the guy who not only started the band, but initially named it after himself. LeRoux should have been LeDone, right?
But no. This was the ’80s, people! No one cared about Louisiana gumbo, but there was money to be made in bland, immaculately polished rock & roll! Onward and downward, Rouxsters!
All they needed was a singer and songwriter who could take them far, far away from their musical past — hopefully stripping them of all their credibility in the process — and they got him in the form of Dennis “Fergie” Frederiksen.
(The lone Toto fan in the audience just screamed, “Oh, shit! It’s Fergie!”)
Frederiksen, like LeRoux, has a fascinating (and often unintentionally hilarious) story. Before attaching himself like an anchor to LeRoux, he was a solo artist named David London. Take it away, Wikipedia:
“As David London, Frederiksen released a music video, ‘Samantha,’ that appeared as a video interlude on HBO and on USA network’s Video Concert Hall. This song was also on the soundtrack of the Village People movie Can’t Stop the Music.”
This isn’t entirely accurate — Steve Guttenberg and Bruce Jenner deserve just as much of the blame for Can’t Stop the Music as the Village People — but it gets the important part of the message across, which is that the Ferg was deeply committed to becoming a star.
In LeRoux, der Fergster probably saw the chance to be the band’s own version of Michael McDonald, overhauling their musical direction while earning them buckets and buckets of money before embarking on the inevitable solo career. As you’ve no doubt already realized, he only accomplished the first part of that goal, and the video evidence of said “accomplishment” is what we’re here to discuss today.
Gentle Videots, CAPTAIN VIDEO! brings you LeRoux’s 1983 “hit” “Carrie’s Gone.” Like many terrible ’80s videos, this one begins with a shot of a car that no one in the band could possibly afford:
And a house none of them would have been allowed inside:
Of course, this guy totally belongs in here. Just look at his suit. (No, seriously, look at it. CAPTAIN VIDEO! is convinced it’s the only reason we’re supposed to dislike the person wearing it.)
What’s he looking for? Come on, Videots. Don’t play dumb. You know he’s looking for Carrie…and you know Carrie’s gone!
Now, if you’ve ever heard “Carrie’s Gone,” you know there are plenty of musical reasons to dislike the song — the rhythm guitar that even Mel Bay would laugh at, the crappy synth, the Energizer drums — but this marks the spot where we meet the real villain of the story. The whole point of the song, and the video, is to give Frederiksen the chance to thumb his nose at his girlfriend’s vanquished paramour. He even shows up in her note:
Seriously, what a dick:
And as if taunting the guy he’s just cuckolded on paper isn’t enough, the little twerp shows up in his house. His house!
And what does the Fergburglar have to offer Carrie? Well, just take a look at his idea of a romantic evening:
At this point, our jiltee shows up at LeHovel, presumably to snap the annoying little mulleted pipsqueak in half.
Unfortunately, the Dutchess brought backup:
Even after being confronted with all that muscle, Suit Guy makes a move, and true to form, our little Farrah Fawcett wannabe vanishes into thin air, reappearing on a fire escape. He can disappear, he can teleport, he’s fucking annoying — Fergie Frederiksen is like a corporate rock version of Mr. Mytzlplyk.
By now, any sane man would just give up and let Carrie have the little dingleberry, but our guy persists. It’s anyone’s guess as to why. Maybe in her note, Carrie told Mr. Suit that she was leaving him for another woman, and he’s trying to tell her she’s made a terrible mistake. Unfortunately, the world will never know — we go from a shot of Suit climbing up the fire escape to a LeRoux concert. Dig the keytar!
It doesn’t really end here — there are a few more shots of Carrie’s ex haplessly pursuing her — but since Fergie never receives the beating he so richly deserves, there’s no reason to bother going over the video’s last two minutes. It certainly isn’t as if the song goes anywhere.
Fergie, though? He was going places. Not long after this album was released, Frederiksen replaced Bobby Kimball in Toto — CAPTAIN VIDEO! assumes he called Kimball repeatedly, singing “Toto’s gone” into the phone and hanging up — taking over the vocals for 1984’s Isolation, an album so bland it makes vanilla taste like habanero.
After Isolation tanked, Fergie was finally exiled to the rock & roll margins, where he remains to this day, performing with something called the World Classic Rockers (don’t fucking ask) between doing benefit shows for the American Liver Foundation in order to bring awareness to hepatitis C, which he contracted at some point, probably from Carrie. (What? Too soon?)
LeRoux, for its part, reunited in the late ’90s, and has done an impressive job of re-reinventing itself as a Cajun boogie band — they tour like madmen, and have recently worked as backing musicians for Tab Benoit. CAPTAIN VIDEO! hasn’t seen a recent setlist, but it seems altogether unlikely that the group is performing, or thinking about, “Carrie’s Gone” these days. Fortunately, we still have the video, which you can “enjoy” below.
That’s all for now, Videots — see you in a month!