In the 1980s, we had one powerful comedy bit: partiers crash the squares. Got a stuffy graduation ceremony? Not with Coors Light you don’t, crack one open and there are bikini girls under those robes. Professors are playing frisbee with the mortarboards. The dean is breakdancing. Every hair metal video was about a rock band exploding through the wall of the DMV and forcing the secretly hot clerk to make out in front of the license machine. At the end her license photo would have the whole band in it, and she’d be certified to operate class D vehicles. But every once in a while a complete lunatic would get a hold of that bit and wildly misunderstand it. Let’s talk about Zodiac Mindwarp and The Love Reaction. Let’s do it because of the name, because they kick ass, because they might have been a parody of hair metal from inside hair metal at the peak of hair metal, and the only thing that’s crazier is if they weren’t – but mostly because nothing misunderstood ‘crashing the squares’ like their video for “Prime Mover.”
The video opens with young women sleeping peacefully in a church, like total squares. Not one is doing a bikini kegstand, it’s utter bullshit. They’re all together in one giant room like a field hospital, so let’s assume they’re nuns in training. The alternative is that this is a Catholic girl’s school, and that’s far too horrifying to contemplate. This context is worrying enough, since anything a 1980s hair metal band is about to do to young nuns in training is something we once considered antics, and now realize was assault.
The roiling sky parts, and a rock ‘n roll zeppelin descends as “Prime Mover” opens with Zodiac crooning “yeeeeahhh yeah yeah yeah” in the same way David Lee Roth might, if he was being arrested on Drunk and Disorderly charges by a female police officer who bent over and the ass of her pants exploded revealing the thong beneath. It’s the herald riding ahead of an approaching crime, is what I’m saying.
And it’s coming from Zodiac Mindwarp himself, who looks like he plays a rock Nazi in a burlesque retelling of Schindler’s List.
One of my favorite things is when a beam can do anything. Just a good all purpose beam, a beam for whatever you need. In “Prime Mover,” a laser is whatever you want it to be so long as you want Hepatitis B.
Let’s explore the first thing lasers can do. Here’s a quiz: If you excite enough electrons in an optical material…
You can create dirtbags!
Zodiac Mindwarp is the Wizard of Dirtbags, the mystical source from which the mighty Dirtbag River flows. If you ever have need of a dirtbag – if you have an unsoiled couch in the basement that needs soiling, if you have a teenage daughter you wish wished she wasn’t pregnant, if you have a cat that’s not addicted to heroin and no dirtbag dying in your laundry room because he shot up cat food, you call Zodiac Mindwarp the Dirtbag Wizard and all your problems will be solved.
I’ll let him speak for himself.
One of the things I admire most is efficient storytelling. Bloodsport can set up all of Bloodsport using only an 11-minute montage of insane nesting flashbacks, that’s a beautiful thing. Within seconds Zodiac Mindwarp establishes that he’s a rock ‘n roll fascist pervert with the mind of a child, and he will never prove himself wrong. It’s the shortest, most complete and nuanced warning a human being can issue short of talking about Web3.
The next lines are “I came from the sky like a 747, I’m the bad boy baby I fell out of heaven” – hey, that’s exactly what happened in the video so far! This is one of those videos that just scene-for-scene depicts the song, like watching Sir Mix-A-Lot’s sign language translator shake her ass, which in sign language means “shake that ass.” The implication here is that “Prime Mover,” the song, is about the devil descending from space in a blimp to assault prospective nuns. That’s all it takes to be my favorite song ever and we’re not 30 seconds in. I can’t wait to see what the next lyrics are-
Oh, it was Chekhov’s Hat. Always believe a Nazi when they tell you they’re a Nazi.
I’m not being fair. There’s important context here! For a time, rock ‘n roll was obsessed with Nazis. There was a window in the mid-1970s between WWII being so antiquated that the idea Nazis could make a comeback was ridiculous, and the comeback of the Nazis. It’s like how we can make 9/11 jokes today, but not two years from now when 11/9 happens. Ironically appropriating Naziism was an instant, easy way to rile up the older generation, and there ain’t nothin’ more rock ‘n roll than rilin’. It’s why this picture of David Bowie exists.
It looks like he has a skeleton hand, and maybe he did. That’s a very Bowie thing to do. But he’s actually giving the Nazi salute. In 1976, Bowie renamed himself the Thin White Duke and started romanticizing facism because it pissed off your grandpa, and also cocaine. Those are the same reasons The Ramones wrote a song that goes “I’m a Nazi baby, I’m a Nazi, yes I am.” God bless those pure and simple boys. So okay, within this window in the mid-1970s and with this specific cultural context, you can forgive a rock band making Nazi references. “Prime Mover” was recorded twelve years after that window closed.
No time to think about that there’s a NUN ABDUCTION!
The classic signs of impending alien abduction are clocks stopping, unexplained magnetism, and bright lights flooding the room. The sign of a Space Dirtbag abduction is when they drive a tank through your wall.
I guess technically this is some kind of APC vehicle but if A, P, and C all stood for different, more vulgar things. Does an APC vehicle count as a van if you fill it with dirtbags? I would argue yes, but only if someone uses a Snickers wrapper and a rubber band as a condom inside it.
Zodiac Mindwarp the Dirtbag Wizard explodes through a stained glass window singing-
Which is very worrying to the young nuns, but they don’t worry for long-
They accept death very quickly.
Especially since the next line is “your lipstick flickers around my lightning rod.” Again, such efficiency – the human brain is great at denial. If five dirtbags and the devil they worship destroy your bedroom with military hardware you’ll still manage to think “I can get away, I can bargain with this, maybe they just want my money.” If Trans Am Satan here arrives in a wave of flames promising napalm blowjobs, you know to start swallowing your fillings so the dental records won’t match that way mom and dad can harbor a little hope.
I swear to god I didn’t know this had a hot dog reference in it. I caught a few key lyrics and the dirtbag laser show and I thought “this is for me; this is my art.” But somehow the song already knew that. The amount of bizarre hot dog references in the things we cover makes me suspect some sort of timelost entity is begging for help, seeding wieners through garbage history, knowing one of you can save them with your secret ability to slip your lightning rod between worlds like the Subtle Knife.
Anyway, everybody knows that when you excite the electrons in an optical material you can…
Oh, that one’s normal! Zodiac Mindwarp the Dirtbag Wizard can ignite fires on small objects, like a frightened teen’s teddy bear, but only when powered by a little hump first.
It’s time for a heil Hitler break:
This accompanies the Sex Fuhrer line, in case you thought there was some kind of context that could save Sex Fuhrer. I forgot to mention that line is in the chorus and will be repeated several times, I guess that’s important too.
Let’s explore the next use of lasers: When you excite electrons in an optical material, every first year science student knows it-
But ONLY when channeled through a climaxing guitar (every first year science student knows a solo is a guitar cumming).
Let’s take a break from lasers and examine the practical uses of lightning. When the electrons in a cloud are attracted to protons at a lower point, any meteorologist can tell you what that means.
It means you can summon and control skanks.
The science here is very clear: a guitar solo can blast lasers that create skanks, but it can never control them. Those are wild skanks, and if left unchecked they will steal all the change from that bowl you keep on the table and insert your toothbrush into themselves, leaving you a note on a cocktail napkin that’s just a lipstick kiss with a cold sore imprint in it. A skank can only be controlled by Skank Lightning, and that’s a different branch of magic on the Dirtbag Skill Tree. You have to invest a lot of points in it, but at Dirtbag Level 45 you do get the ability to chain Skank Lightning, forcing any woman adjacent to a skank to save against Thrusting or take Pregnancy Damage.
Zodiac Mindwarp puts a little goof in his voice to call all the women disco reptiles and funky alligators, it’s wildly out of place in this song. But it’s necessary: We need a playful kind of innocence to break up the bizarre assaults; it’s a kind of molestation palate cleanser; it’s the thin slice of pickled ginger in between courses of power gropes and hair metal hitlers.
Everything so far demonstrates an escalation in the ‘crashing the squares’ mentality. We should be defying the system, tossing boring books out the window, and getting sexy with repressed ladies. Instead we’re playing with fascism, we’re exploding teddy bears with eye lasers, and we’re threatening nuns with lightning blowjobs. “Prime Mover” is following the ‘crash the squares’ template, just cranking everything up to cosmic horror levels.
Now it’s time for the turn: The headmistress and two professors barge in on this – I guess it’s supposed to be a party, but it still scans as domestic terrorism. The teachers burst in to see what the ruckus is-
Wait, oh shit, they’re teachers! That means this was supposed to be a school the whole time, and all of these girls were supposed to be minors, and everything we’ve seen up until now, which was already many crimes, is now a different kind of crime prosecuted by a special unit.
Okay the teachers charge in to kill the party! Remember: This is a 1980s rock ‘n roll video, and let’s further specify that it’s one involving magical lasers. There are only two things that can happen next: Either Zodiac Mindwarp the Dirtbag Wizard zaps the squares away to someplace they can’t handle, like a stripclub or the inside of an APC. Or he’s going to zap them all into attractive women, and they’ll join the party – the people they once were screaming inside their own brains for all eternity as they grind and lick men with visible diseases who taste like a gas station bathroom.
So, let’s explore the next use of lasers: Everyone knows when you excite HOLY SHIT-
He just, he just murders them. He unleashes his full satanic might with no party filter and explodes their heads like they’re rookie scanners coming for the champ. Jesus Christ this violates every rule of the Party Accords of 1983. The finest rock lawyers in the world could never convince a party jury this was a shenanigan.
The tone of “Prime Mover” was already way off, but it was like somebody taking Spuds McKenzie too far. “Whoa! Spuds is here to party! That means everyone around us should be forced to party against their will, or be detained!” It’s technically the road you should be driving on, you’re just going too fast. Straight up murdering everyone who stands in the way of partying is the second act turn in a horror movie about Spring Break. This is no longer Spuds McKenzie at all. “Whoa, Spuds is here to party OH NO he’s mauling everyone who’s not partying!” It’s technically the road you should be driving on, but you’re crashing a plane into it.
What’s next, how does a Dirtbag Wizard even escalate from here? Does Zodiac Mindwarp fly off in their rock balloon and nuke the site from orbit because it’s the only way to be sure no buzzkills survive?
Thank you for learning about my favorite music video.
Thanks to nanomano for the hot Hot Dog Tip!
This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Seren, a level 60 Skankomancer with enchanted nips.
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