Explain Yourself!

Are The Yeah Yeah Yeahs Out Of 'Control'?

Yeah Yeah Yeahs explain their disturbing new video -- The indie band talks about why they decided to follow up their surprise hit video ''Maps'' with one that is purposely not MTV-friendly

So how does a young alt-rock band follow up a surprise video smash? If you're the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, you subvert that success with rampaging children, a dead mammal, and a severed limb. All of the above appear in the group's Spike Jonze-directed clip for ''Y Control,'' the third single from 2003's Fever to Tell, whose success was fueled by MTV's love for the sentimental ''Maps.'' The gritty new video, which looks like it was shot on decaying film stock, depicts the trio rambling around a dank basement with a pack of violent kids. Amateurish and goofy gore ensues: One tot's hand is chopped off, another cuts his own stomach open, and yet another bites into singer Karen O's neck. ''It's meant to be disturbing and funny,'' says guitarist Nick Zinner. But is it also career sabotage? Apparently not. Despite its Children of the Corn creep-show vibe, both MTV and MTV2 will play the video with a disclaimer by Jonze and some blurring of offensive moments. (Fans can find the unexpurgated version on the band's Oct. 12 DVD, Tell Me What Rockers to Swallow.) Not that it mattered to Zinner either way. ''We think [MTV's deciding to play] 'Maps' was an extraordinary fluke. We don't see ourselves in that world.''

Originally posted Oct 08, 2004 Published in issue #787 Oct 08, 2004 Order article reprints
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