Bow + Arrow helps Trickshooter Social Club come alive

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Bow + Arrow Films director Ted Lega combined live rock-n-roll with mesmerizing drama to create a retro-flavored video for “If I Could,” a new single by Trickshooter Social Club.

In the aesthetic of early MTV, the video turns the music into a backdrop for a story about a girl. Filmed at Chicago’s Harlem Avenue Lounge, it complements the narrative with footage of Trickshooter performing to the song in colorful neon mist.

“Everyone seems to find something they really like about Trickshooter in general,” says Lega, a longtime friend and fan of the band. “Some of their fans are into country, some are into rock, and some are into heavier stuff.”

As the band plays on stage, a story unfolds in the crowd. It follows the escapades of a sultry corner-bar vixen who receives a disagreeable text and then becomes into a whirlwind of whiskey-drinking trouble. Something important has transpired in her life, but exactly what is anyone’s guess.

Even more importantly, who cares? Nobody remembers the details on nights like this. They are a mystery of passion, alcohol, and music cut with flashes of rock-n-roll.

 
TED LEGA | BOW + ARROW FILMS
IF I COULD TRICKSHOOTER SOCIAL CLUB

 

Behind the scenes
Trickshooter Social Club is an eight-piece ensemble that lists Johnny Cash, Social Distortion, early Wilco, and Kiss among their influences. Formed in Chicago five years ago, they play the city’s circuit of high-quality, medium-sized music venues like the Mayne Stage in Uptown, Schubas in Lakeview, and the House of Blues downtown.

“We’ve always been very much a community as a band,” says singer/guitarist Steve Simoncic. “We’ve always tried to be really organic, we’re very open, people put a lot of trust in us, and we love playing rock and roll.”

Fans in the Trickshooter community include Lega and his wife, Corey Lynn Lega, an actor and voice artist who also stars in the video as the “sultry corner-bar vixen.”

Steve Simoncic and Larry Liss
Steve Simoncic and Larry Liss

Besides directing and starring in the “If I Could” video, Ted and Corey have worked as Showrunner and Production Manager on the popular Motortrend Network series, Garage Squad, for six years. Ted has also produced and/or directed an extensive amount of commercial projects and television content, including several collaborations with Simoncic and Trickshooter guitarist Larry Liss, both of whom work in the Chicago ad industry.

“I literally got a text one Saturday morning from Steve saying, ‘hey, we want to make a music video, and we’d love Corey to be in it’” Ted recalls. “As soon as we got the invitation, I knew we were going to be there for that.”

According to the band, the feeling was mutual.

Amelia Finefrock
Amelia Finefrock

“If you’ve ever been on one of Ted’s sets, he really builds a community,” says Simoncic. “There’s respect, and everyone’s laughing, and we needed to feel that.”

And they had no doubt about who should be the star of the video.

“Corey, she’s like fireworks,” Simoncic says. “She can be funny, she can be sexy.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Corey as an actor and creative, and it’s nothing but real with her,” adds Liss.

Chicago-based post-production house 11 Dollar Bill completed the edit.

“They have great ideas, they’ve been handling Garage Squad for six years, and Clark and Cannon over there have been friends and colleagues for many years,” says Ted. “That creates a little loyalty and trust, and I was so happy that they were willing to get their hands dirty with this project.”

ALSO READ: ‘Garage Squad’ finale caps off another growing year

 
The American Experiment
“If I Could” is an up-tempo country stomper that opens with pulsating fuzzy guitar and rock-steady drums underneath a harmonizing lead-vocal duo. In the span of four minutes, it rises to a hip-shaking anthem, complete with a wailing refrain over layers of violin, organ, and accordion.

“It’s about all the times people say I’d help if I could or I’d do this or change that if I could — but they often don’t,” says Liss, who wrote the lyrics. “It’s a call out to make the American experiment better, then the promise as we sing, ‘If I hold on,’ things will get better.”

The notion of the “American experiment” factors so strongly into Trickshooter’s current work that it also doubles as the name of their most recent album, recorded at CRC and engineered by Jon Zacks.

Trickshooter Social Club
Trickshooter Social Club

American Experiment really communicates how beautiful and f—d up America really is,” explains Simoncic. “The people at the bar really helped us tell that story. They were all really interesting characters in and of themselves. Every one is living their own American experiment.”

They are also real Harlem Avenue Lounge patrons who Lega recruited during pre-production, a task made easier by the fact that Trickshooter was certain to turn in a typically “superb” live performance at the shoot (even though they were actually miming to a recording of the song).

“I knew that the band’s energy was going to be there,” he says. “The only challenging things really about the video itself were the casting and the location.”

Ted and Corey discovered the Harlem Avenue Lounge while driving to the set of Garage Squad a few weeks earlier. They recognized it as a place known for live music — Buddy Guy’s pianist was scheduled to play later that night — and they became fast friends with the owner, Ken Zimmerman.

Ted Lega
Ted Lega

“I walked in and I just immediately started taking pictures,” Ted recalls. “The owner’s like, ‘what is this guy doing at three in the afternoon?’”

After hearing the idea about the video, Zimmerman gave them his blessing and said, “beware the lone dancer.”

The band was also on board.

“When Ted sent us pictures, we fell in love,” recalls Liss. “It had the grit we were looking for, and he found all these people in the bar.”

 
On the set
For the video, Ted and a “nimble” four-person crew filmed on a Canon C300 Mark II with Sigma 18-35mm Cine Zoom Lenses and a Canon 85 mm attached to a Mōvi Pro Steadicam.

Before the band arrived, Lega demonstrated a few of Corey’s moves for the crew. By his description, the spectacle helped get the crowd in the mood.

“A lot of things I wanted to do came together after several location scouting trips to the bar,” he recalls. “I recall DP Fred Miller and I getting some strange looks as I danced around the bar.”

 
Trickshooter Social Club personnel
Steve Simoncic: Lead Vocals / Guitar
Larry Liss: Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Amelia Finefrock: Vocals
Chris Ellison: Drums
Chris Bartley: Keyboards
Ruth Margraff; Accordian
James McNaughton: Bass
Beltron Del Campo: Fiddle

 
‘If I Could’ music video credits
Production Co. Bow + Arrow
   Exec Prod / Director: Ted Lega
   Cinematographer: Fred Miller
Production Company: 11 Dollar Bill
   Post Production: Cannon Kinnard
   Editor: Orry Allen
   Color/Finish: Clark Jackson
Location: Harlem Avenue Lounge

Send your indie updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, dan@reelchicago.com.

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