A fitting tribute to the glory days of MTV animation.
University honours projects aren’t exactly the most thrilling of tasks. Most of the time, you’re subject to some dank laboratory with your iris fixated down a grubby microscope looking for germs, or even worse, chained to your desk writing a 10,000 word thesis about some niche subject that nobody in the world (including you) gives a toss about.
They’re tepid, exhausting and are unlikely to ever win you any form of cred with your mates – unless you’re Reid McManus, that is.
At the envy of his peers, Reid managed to link up with Brisbane’s favourite bong rockers Dune Rats to create a music video for the band’s new single ‘Too Tough Terry’ as part of his honours project at the University of Newcastle.
Taking cues from classic ’90s MTV cartoons like Beavis and Butthead and the cult-classic Nickelodeon show Ren & Stimpy, Reid worked alongside the Dune Rats crew to create a visual that perfectly matched the song’s frenetic energy and bring its titular character Terry – a speed snorting’, truck driving’ hooligan – to life.
To celebrate what might just be one of the finest honours projects to come out of 2020, we linked Reid up for a conversation with all three members of Dune Rats – Danny, Brett and BC – for an unfiltered chat about how the video for ‘Too Tough Terry’ came together.
Danny: Tell us about the first time that you caught wind of this whole ‘Terry’ extravaganza.
Reid: I was having a coffee with Heath and some other uni mate, and they were talking about doing a video about this tough trucker but done real old school, like kind of MTV-ish animation, which is definitely my vibe. So I put my hand up for it, and we reached out to the band and got to hear ‘Too Tough Terry’. As soon as I heard it, I was like ‘fuck yeah, that’s heaps good, that’s perfect.
Danny: Was there any lyric or something that jumped out at you and gave you ideas about where the video would go?
Yeah, the chorus! I thought it’d be funny to have pictures of him doing super tough stuff, and then pictures of him doing stuff that you like, why is he getting a pedicure? As soon as I heard the words ‘tough cunt’, I figured that’d be just so funny to say that next to someone getting a pedicure of watching Antique Roadshow or something like that, and it just went from there.
Brett: I don’t know how old you are, but you nailed the animation so good in the way that you tip your hat to all of my favourite cartoons growing up. What were your favourite cartoons? Where did you find the inspiration for the illustration of Terry?
Reid: I loved heaps of old old stuff like Looney Tunes. When I was growing up, my parents used to always buy those cheapo $3 DVDs from The Reject Shop, and I used to throw them on all the time. From watching that, yeah, I just kind of fell in love with those really old expressive cartoons. I remember my grandpa bought us this old VHS set of Ren and Stimpy, and that used to just freak me out as a kid.
Brett: I can see that with Powdered Toast Man, when he’d be doing a fart and it just has that look to it. There’s a couple of other clips in the ‘Terry’ one where his eyes are popping out that are fucking so good like that.
Reid: For sure, like the bit where he screams ‘GIVE ME FREE DRUGS’, for the expression on his face, I definitely wanted to do something that was real over the top like how Ren and Stimpy used to do it.
BC: I love that scene heaps where his eyes are looking like they’re going to pop out of his head.
Reid: Yeah, it was so fun doing that.
Danny: What did you end up getting in the assignment? Is it out of a hundred, or what do they give it to you as?
Reid: I don’t know! I don’t think they gave me a number, but yeah, it was a HD. I’m pretty sure they broke out the medal, like top of the class!
Danny: Fuck yeah, well done mate!
Reid: It was so funny playing it for the academic markers and having to say tough cunt every now and again, and they’re all sitting just like mad straight faced, writing everything down on that piece of paper.
Brett: Was there any scene in the video clip that you weren’t sure whether it had gone too far and you didn’t want to put it in, or was there anything you just took out?
Reid: Yeah, there were two scenes. One of them was now the bit where it says ‘the shit is shit’, where on the original storyboard it was more zoomed out, so you could see the turd hanging straight out of Terry’s ass.
I think there was another bit where one of the quick gags was going to be him – have you guys seen Meet The Fockers where Robert de Niro’s wearing that breastfeeder thing to feed the baby with? I had a scene where Terry had one of them one, but I thought ‘fuck that’s a bit too weird’, so they’re the one two scenes we cut out.
Danny: Yeah nice nice. Are you left-handed or right-handed?
Reid: Right-handed – wait, you mean for drawing?
Danny: For wiping. And drawing.
Reid: Yeah, right-handed.
Danny: I always thought left-handed people were better at drawing.
Reid: Nah mate. Right-handed!
It was heaps funny when we were getting the thing marked. They didn’t laugh for the whole thing except for that bit where the guitar drops and you’re like ‘awh fuck’.
Brett: Man, that was funny. When we were making the demo, we only used to do one rotation and go back into the song, but somehow when we were recording the real tune in the studio, we ended up adding an extra one in there. We all had the potential to throw in that fuck up, but BC was the lucky one.
Danny: Yeah, I think it was pretty genuine when BC did it hey. He was in the booth doing his take, and thought we were playing it like the demo so forgot to back to the other section.
Brett: It’s good that those things aren’t on purpose.
Reid: Hahaha that’s heaps good. I love that.
BC: I’m pretty talented like that.
Brett: I was looking at some of the comments on the video and saw one about how Terry’s turning the corner in his truck with three lines of gear set up. How did you even think of that?! Is that something that you’ve seen before?
Reid: I think that was Dan! I really wanted him to line up on the steering wheel, but Dan told me I should do it when he turned a corner and just sniffs it up his nose. He’s probably seen a thing or two, I reckon he could tell you a bit more than me.
What about Terry the name? Did you know someone called Terry before, or does it just work with ‘tough’ well?
Danny: Yeah I don’t know if it goes any deeper than that, but when you’re a kid, the Terrys were always the ones who were a bit rough and would go around just being a prick… Brett, BC, do you guys know?
Brett: Nah exactly the same, if you had a mate being turbo you’d just tell him to stop being a Terry or whatever.
Danny: Geez, that original Terry must have been a real fucking tough cunt.
Reid: I remember we had the music video done even before COVID; what do you guys think of the song now that it’s out?
Danny: I reckon the weirdest thing is just not being able to play the song live. Usually when you release something, you sort of play in it the next week later and you can gauge how it goes. I don’t know, it’s a bit weird just siting here waiting and not being able to play it.
BC: I’ve made the discovery within myself that I don’t actually do well not being on tour, so now I’m going on tour without any shows.
Danny: Or instruments.
BC: Yeah but that’s the best part about going on tour! Couple of beers, couple of palm trees.
Danny: The onstage Terry mascot’s going to be pretty sick. Is that going to be a bit of a cool moment for you to see this like real life Terry out and about?
Reid: Yeah, I think it’d be sick! It’ll be sort of surreal to see a big Terry walking around. I’ve been telling my mates about it and they all think it’s such a sick idea. It’ll be so fun to see him out and about.
Danny: You’ll have to jump in it when we play our set for This That in Newcastle.
Reid: Oh yeah that’d be sick, I’d love that! Hopefully I fit – I’m pretty short. But imagine doing a stage dive in Terry!
Danny: That’s it!!! You got it here first, Mixdown exclusive!