We’re expecting a new All Them Witches album in early September, and the early singles suggest that—like its five predecessors—the LP will be heavy with gothic country and hints of stoner rock. The latest single to be revealed, “The Children of Coyote Woman,” is a ballad that evokes the mythological story of Remus and Romulus, two Cain-and-Abel-esque brothers who led to the foundation of Rome, which shrouds the song in a certain darkness the band manages to channel well.
“While we were writing and rehearsing for the new album, [drummer Robby Staebler] and [bassist Michael Parks Jr.] recorded a cassette demo of what became ‘TCOCW,’ vocalist Ben McLeod shares of the song’s origins. “They played it for me the next day and we were all pretty blown away by Parks’ crafting of the song. It was the first time I had no idea what to play on an ATW song. I didn’t want to mess it up. Robby and Parks actually tracked it by themselves at Abbey Road, then I recorded my resonator slide parts a few days later, and they were the only things that served purpose to the feel of the beautiful song.”
Today, that song is getting a video, which was directed by drummer Staebler. We see the twins go at it (they’re not actually twins—that’s Staebler himself with his buddy, pro skater Evan Smith) while McLeod serenades them on his acoustic guitar. Watch the clip below, and read on for Staebler’s in-depth recollection of the story behind the video.
You can pre-order ATW’s forthcoming Nothing as the Ideal, out September 4 via New West Records, here.
Since we got back from Abbey Road in early March to immediate quarantine, we’ve all moved to opposite parts of the country. The idea of making a video was a little challenging considering the thousands of miles that separate us and the possibility that one of us would get or give someone else the fucking coronavirus along the way. I was in the middle of a side project with my friend Evan Smith, who is one of the most prolific pro skaters of our time. We had been working on music and talking about filming for his upcoming DC shoe part. I mentioned us driving back to Tennessee from LA and filming along the way for this song and his part.
We look like brothers, and the story of Remus and Romulus kinda just worked itself out visually. He picked me up and we bolted across the country. We ended up shooting scenes in New Mexico, Arkansas, and finally in Tennessee. Our trip started out the day the world began protesting for George Floyd. About 5 hours out of Los Angeles, the news started pouring in. The protests and the anger were erupting across the world. We watched as everything else began to feel completely unimportant. Stuck in the middle of a massive drive, I almost pulled the plug on everything to get home to my girl, her kids, and the other brujas in the house. We decided to keep going.
We finally made it to my church in a crazy headspace, keeping an eye on everything worldly. I packed up my van to go home, waited until Parks made it to the church from Arkansas, loaded the cameras with five hundred feet of film, and hurried out into the countryside. I knew a perfect place to shoot—an old destroyed home structure in the foothills of the Smokies pretty close to my studio. With no plan and little time, we managed to shoot the bulk of the video in a matter of ninety minutes. We passed the cameras back and forth while Parks and I shouted out shot ideas. We’ve never shot something so fast in my life.
We crushed some beers, laughed a lot, and soaked up this shiny moment we knew was ending. You can see us laughing at the absurdity of what we were doing. We had to lift our spirits with the sliver of time we floated in. We all knew how fucking unimportant it felt and how quickly the moment was going to coming to a close. We all collided with the Arriflex numerous times, avoiding stitches and fleshy head gashes—barely. It was a shit show. It was hilarious. We finished shooting and I raced back to LA to get the film processed and return to my vortex. Everyone went their separate ways. Reentering the heaviness of the world after shooting our silly project that just so happens to represent a founding of an empire while ours is so obviously crumbling.