As a kid born in the mid eighties, 90s music videos hold a very special place in my heart. But none of the San Francisco-centric videos we seen on Uptown this week can stand up to this juggernaut - Huey Lewis and the News' 1983 hit 'I Want a New Drug'. Otherwise known as “that song they ripped off in Ghostbusters”, the quasi-local Huey Lewis and the News produced a San Francisco-centric video that still resonates with the lives of many residents today.
San Francisco Music Video Death Match Week, Round 3: Huey Lewis And The News - I Want A New Drug
Let's start at the beginning of the video. After a particularly rough Whiskey Wednesday that ended with the procurement of 1980s-caliber blow from a bartender at legendary SOMA hotspot Caribbean Zone, 'young' Huey (he was 34) wakes up disheveled and hungover in the middle of the afternoon. Huey dunks his head in ice water while repeatedly declaring his great need for a new, less adverse chemical substance. Not long after, he realizes that he's late for his own show, hops in his piece of shit vintage (even for then) Karmann Ghia, and speeds down Potrero Hill. This is where things in the narrative start making a lot less sense…
Huey makes it to a ferry boat in the nick of time. He downs an entire box of alka seltzer, which is served to him by a bow tie wearing waiter cause fuck it it was the 80s and why the hell not have bottle service on a commuter ferry. Dude probably offered him blow too, but Huey is still hungover and, at least for the next 48 hours, is convinced that he needs a new drug. Rocking a bright ass red suit, Huey starts getting sideways glances from the cookie-cutter Patrick Bateman corporate stand-ins (aka: future fans) who are apparently also really late for work. It won't be until 1986 that Huey realizes it's hip to be square and tones down the colors of his wardrobe.
At this point, it seems like the LA-based director of the music video becomes disappointed by the overall grey-ness of the Bay Area, and asks his location manager if there's any way they can “make the Bay look more like Santa Monica”. Their casting director obliges, and the Bay is then decorated with supermodel caliber girls in bikinis, 'sun bathing' on speed boats in 50 degree weather.
Once arriving at his destination (Oakland? Larkspur?), Huey boards a helicopter so that he can immediately fly back to San Francisco, the city that just came from in a pretty big hurry. Huey either literally had a 'new drug' waiting for him in Oakland that he desperately needed to pick up before his show, or his Groupon for a helicopter tour was set to expire that morning.
The rest of the video is pretty standard stuff. Huey makes it to the gig; his Rick Rubin looking tour manager gets pissed that he's late; Huey crotch thrusts into the face of an improbably hot girl in the front row; three clones of Huey Lewis play saxophone together, and San Francisco pop culture history is made.