If rock and roll doesn’t work out as a career for Rich Varville (ex–Trailerpark Rockstar), maybe rock videos will. On March 7, Varville took home Best Director honors at the San Diego Film Awards for his work on “Let’s Get Medicated.” The video features his new band, Head Trip Superstar, in a gothic horror tableau about life in a haunted asylum with a drug-dispensing nurse who alternates between pinup beauty and leprous zombie-woman.
“I’m real big on metaphor,” Varville tells the Reader. “It all starts with the song, the lyrics. ‘Let’s Get Medicated’ is about people who self-medicate to avoid their problems. The pretty nurse,” he says, “is representative of addiction. From there, it’s about trying to escape it.”
“Medicated” also won Best Music Video at the Akademia Music Awards in Los Angeles and an Award of Merit at the Indie Film Festival in La Jolla.
Head Trip Superstar, "Let's Get Medicated"
“Most of the film was shot at the Haunted Hotel downtown. We were there for four days,” Varville explains. “Zero,” is the answer he gives when asked about the video’s shooting budget. Varville laughs. He says other directors estimated that he spent at least six figures to make the video, but, no. “I did it for about $600. I paid my actors. I have my own video production company, so I have all the equipment. I do videos for other bands.”
Trailerpark Rockstar was likewise known for epic music videos. Did Varville have anything to do with the crafting of them? Yes. “We did the same thing in those, too, building a situation and then tapping into the passion and the emotion of it while trying to keep it entertaining.”
The “Let’s Get Medicated” video is part of a larger scheme, Varville says. “Our business model is different than what any other bands are currently doing. We are releasing a new single with a video every three months. This keeps fans always looking forward to the next one. Too many bands are still following the same old formula of releasing a full album first and then releasing a single.”
What’s on the horizon for the now–award-winning music-video director? “Let’s Get Medicated” has been accepted into the USA Film Festival, one of the longest-running in the country, Varville says. Meanwhile, he and his band are already into production on Head Trip Superstar’s next video. “The next single coming out is called ‘Tortured Home.’” It’s a real story about Varville’s father’s childhood. But we’ll have to wait for the finished product to find out more, he says. “Tortured Home” is scheduled for release sometime near the end of May.