MENDOTA - “It all happened very fast,” said Mendotan, Matt Ramer. Ramer received a call on Thursday, Sept. 19 that a Chicago-based production company was interested in using the Tri-County Fairgrounds in Mendota as the location for a music video. By the next Tuesday morning, the production company, band members, and extras were on the track shooting film. And as fast as they came in, by Tuesday night they were gone.
“I didn’t even know who the band was going to be until they arrived. It could have been Miley Cyrus or a country group; it could have been anybody,” said Ramer.
Whoever it was going to be, Ramer said the hardest part was keeping the video shoot a secret. “They wanted it kept secret,” he said. Only the police and fire departments were notified.
“We had to notify them because the production company was going to use pyrotechnics,” he said.
Ramer recalled receiving phone calls about the activity at the fairgrounds, but remained hush-hush.
When the band, Arctic Monkeys, arrived, Ramer thought they looked like The Beatles.
So just who are the Arctic Monkeys?
Arctic Monkeys, an English indie rock band, consists of Alex Turner (lead vocals, lead/rhythm guitar), Jamie Cook (rhythm/lead guitar), Nick O'Malley (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Matt Helders (drums, backing vocals). They formed in 2002.
They were praised as one of the first bands to gain public attention via the Internet.
The band's debut album became the fastest-selling debut album in British music history. The band has won five Brit Awards, and has been nominated for Grammy Awards twice. They won the Mercury Prize for their debut album, in addition to receiving two nominations in 2007 and 2013. Recently, Arctic Monkeys were nominated for Best Alternative Act at the 2013 MTV EMAs (Europe Music Awards).
Recorded in California, the band released their fifth studio album, AM, on Sept. 9. It debuted at No. 1 on the UK album charts, selling over 157,000 in its first week. This is the band’s fifth consecutive No. 1 album, making history as the only independent band to have achieved this.
Lead singer Alex Turner describes AM to be their most original yet, merging hip-hop drumbeats, with 70s heavy rock.
Arctic Monkeys will continue to tour AM in the United States in January and February 2014, playing shows in several cities including Miami, Charlotte, Minneapolis, and New York City.
It is from this album that the video for the single “One For the Road” was shot at the Tri-County Fairgrounds, with additional filming at Rick Bauer’s farm, west of town. People from the area will easily recognize their fairgrounds in the video, but there are no markings that state the location, noted Ramer.
Since the single’s video release on Oct. 23, the video has had over 865,000 views on YouTube.
“Arctic Monkeys’ fifth record is absolutely and unarguably the most incredible album of their career. It might also be the greatest record of the last decade. It’s not, however, the work of a band operating at their absolute peak – that’s yet to come. It’s the work of a band still growing, still fine-tuning, still learning and still experimenting; a band who will not look back on this record as a career high, but as the moment they stopped being defined by genre and instead became artists. Not a rock band, definitely not an indie band, but artists. Think Bowie, think The Beatles, think Stevie Wonder and think Bob Dylan. From this point on, Arctic Monkeys can do whatever they want, sound however they like, and always be Arctic Monkeys,” said Mike Williams of London’s NME Magazine.
“It was a good deal. We didn’t have to do anything and the fairgrounds got used at a time it would otherwise be dormant,” stated Ramer.
Money from the use of the property will go toward fairground bills, said Ramer. “With funding from the state getting cut more and more, it just helps when that extra income comes in,” he added.
This might not be the last shoot in Mendota for this production company. Ramer noted that they drove around Mendota and were impressed with the town. He also commented that they especially liked the schoolhouse at the fairgrounds. He told them to just let him know when, and he would be more than willing to work with them again.
It is hard to believe that a band with such accolades chose this small town for their latest video. But as Ramer joked, “Maybe Mendota can become the next Hollywood.”