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X-Teens (1982)

Alden Hart (Computer), Kitty Moses (Vocals / Bass), Robert Bittle (Guitar), Ned Robie (Drums), Todd Jones (Keyboards)



As admitted fans of Elvis Costello and Talking Heads, this Durham, NC band first release was their 1980 EP for Moonlight Records, entitled Big Boy's Dream. The EP was Produced and Engineered by the dynamic duo of Don Dixon (Arrogance) and Mitch Easter (Let's Active). Both would stick with the band through the rest of their recordings. By 1982 Moonlight Records closed and so the band released their own 45 RPM single NOTHING LEFT TO SAY b/w ANYONE CAN. They would be picked up by Record Bar's Dolphin Records in 1983 and release two other LP's before they quit in 1985.

The X-Teens were a fun, high energy, synth Pop band with some great Pop Culture musical zings. They were a lot of fun to listen to and to watch. They were also a band I really wanted to work with. The X-Teens were on the mark for the sounds and attitude of 1982, but Barney's Army was the only chance I had to complete a job with them - and that was from a distance. Tony Madejczyk was the producer of the Barney's Army show and so I thought I would let him tell the Barney story from here.

We shot all the Barney's Army musical guest appearances with a chroma-key background, usually blue, sometimes green. Then we would "key" the band in the attic of Barney's house, a converted doll house customized for the show by Laurie Wolf and anyone else who cared to help. That's how you fit a rock band into a toy house, 80's style. I'm sure they use computers now.

Speaking of computers, the one you see in the background and doing double duty on vocals is a Tandy (Radio Shack). This is in the early days of home computing and I believe the Tandy belonged to Ned or Todd - I forget which. I leave it to the Tandy geeks to chime in on the model, but I believe it had a cassette-tape drive, if that helps.

Where's Robert's head?! I may be mistaken, but either he seemed to scoff at the idea of a close-up while we were taping, or to save time, the director decided that no "cover" shots of Robert in full-person were needed. Hey, it's a kids show.

I still see Kitty around town, as our families have had kids in various schools and activities together. We've even vacationed together. From what I can tell, the youngsters think it's "awesome" their mom played bass and sang in a cool band like the 'Teens. Any rumor of an X-Teens reunion is just that - a rumor. But I can dream. . .

Tony Madejczyk - July 2007

Not long after this video was produced, I was commissioned by the X-Teens to shoot a concept video. Unfortunately the video was never completed. After one day's shoot, I was told that they didn't like elements of the storyline and that was it. In looking back, they were right. Portions of my storyline were weak, at which point we should have rewriten those segments rather than canceling the shoot. Remember, this was the infancy of music videos and so there was a lot of experimenting and a lot of mistakes (mostly mine). Later in the 80's, when I was producing and directing major label music videos in Nashville, I quickly discovered that there was a procedure for the acceptance and creation of videos. None of these rules were followed at this time and so there was a lot of miss communications, which lead to the cancellation of the concept video.

Somewhere in my archive of 80 to 100 hours of raw footage of the videos I have shot thoughout the years, is a single take of the X-Teens performing their concept video song. It was shot at double speed so that when it was played back at normal speed, their actions would be in a surreal slow motion, but in sync to the music. When I find this shot, I will post it. But right now, it is buried in hours of footage, along with the song's title.




As with the other Barney's Army music segments, I would come in late at night, after the show's director had edited the performance for the show and cut Barney out and also re-sync the shots so that they were in sync and in time to the music. In this case the show's director was angry at me after he discovered that I was re-cutting his work. He scheduled himself to edit the performance the night after the performance, so that I couldn't get to the tapes until the next day. The next norning, to my horror, he told me that he bulk erased the raw footage so that I could not re-edit his version of the song.

I re-edited that night anyway.

I was able to tighten up the edits and to exclude shots of Barney by using quick repetitive shots and freeze frames. Had the original footage survived, I would have added additional shots of the band so that it was not so Kitty-laden. This is the first time this video has been seen as a complete performance video.



Right: Label and cover (front & back) of the X-Teens 1982 single, and the 1980 EP.




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