Night Flight on IFC: Episode 16!

By on November 23, 2018

“Night Flight” was the most radically fun, nostalgically cranium-bursting cable TV program of all time, originally airing in the ’80s (and syndicated shows aired during the ’90s) during the wee hours on Fridays and Saturdays on the USA Network. Now we’re back on the IFC channel — and we’re now on at a new time, 1am east coast/10pm west coast, but as always be sure to check your local listings for time/TV channel location.

Tune in once again each weekend (check your local listings for the right time) to see a mash-ups of clips from rock movies and documentaries, concert films, experimental short films, weirdo kaiju monster flicks, computer art films, campy ’50s sci-fi serials, banned cartoons, and loads of music videos that MTV wouldn’t dare show.

We’ve had an online presence for a few years now with Night Flight Plus, our streaming subscription “channel,” which is where you can find all the above and more, supplemented by full-length streaming titles we’ve added from our content partners, including fellow cultural insurrectionists MVD Video.

Tune in to see why VH1 called us “the single greatest rock omnibus program ever aired” and Brooklyn Vegan named us “the most consistently weird and awesome thing on cable television in the ’80s.”

Read more below about our sixteenth “Night Flight Highlights” half-hour episode (“Addicted”) on IFC — the cable network describes these episodes as “A fever dream of classic clips including iconic rock stars, animation, and heavy metal music, a trip back to the boundary-pushing music and videos of the 1980s” — and be sure to sign up for Night Flight Plus to watch more classic episodes of the original ’80s, available on Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

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On September 23, 2016, Jane’s Addiction revisited their classic alt-rock second album for Warner Bros, 1990’s Ritual de lo Habitual, in a live concert setting before 15,000 devoted fans at the now-demolished Irvine Meadows Ampitheatre, birthplace of the first Lollapolooza.

In August of 2017, this live concert performance was released as Ritual de lo Habitual: Alive at 25 and you can watch it streaming in its entirety over on Night Flight Plus!

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The explosive full concert — directed by Mark Ritchie (Kanye West, Madonna) — was lensed during their last stop on their twenty-city worldwide “Sterling Spoon Anniversary Tour.”

On this particular evening, Jane’s Addiction were also joined by a couple of swimsuit-clad go-go dancers, who at various times during the evening were also suspended by wires high above the stage.

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Their gyrations gave the audience something to focus on other than singer Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins and Chris Chaney, who takes the place of original Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery.

Twenty-five years on, the band’s fans were once again able to revisit Ritual De Lo Habitual, which ended up peaking at #19 on the Billboard album charts.

The album ultimately sold more than three-million copies, with help from MTV, who continuously played the music video for “Been Caught Stealing,” directed by Casey Niccoli, Farrell’s girlfriend at the time.

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Ritual De Lo Habitual — recorded during the last year of the 1980s, when “Night Flight” was sadly already off-the-air, and released on August 21, 1990 — provided a true alternative to the late ’80s Sunset Strip cock-rock and hair-metal bands.

The first side of the album (or the first half of the CD, if you prefer) had featured the more rockin’ alt-rock songs, a weirdo west-coast amalgam of metal and Hollywood, CA art-rock (with a little Eastern influence as well, displayed by a prominent violin).

The second side was the more experimental prog-rock tracks, including a four-song suite dedicated by Perry Farrell to an East Coast-based visual artist and ex-lover named Xiola Blue, who had died from a heroin overdose in 1987 at age nineteen.

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The album had opened with a woman speaking in Spanish (Farrell calls her “Cindianna”), who says:

“Señores y señoras, nosotros tenemos más influencia con sus hijos que tu tiene pero los queremos. Creado y regado de Los Angeles… Juana’s Adicción!”

That translates into English as: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we have more influence over your children than you do, but we love them. Born and raised in Los Angeles… Jane’s Addiction!”

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The iconic album cover art — created by Perry Farrell — featured three clay figures in a kind of naked ménage a trois (two showing their naughty bits), clearly inspired by Mexican folk art.

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Check out the Reba Merrill Collection streaming over on Night Flight Plus!

The interviews come courtesy of Ms. Merrill herself, an Emmy Award-winning journalist with an extensive library of interviews which we’ll be bringing to Night Flight Plus subscribers (we’ll tell you below how you can become one of those if you aren’t already!).

Some of her own personal favorites include her interviews with Johnny, Depp, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Harrison Ford, Denzel Washington, Jack Lemmon, Jimmy Stewart, Meryl Streep, Cher and Whitney Houston.

She has hosted four talk shows, two in Phoenix, Arizona — “Reba” and “Good Morning Arizona” on ABC — and two in San Diego, California — “Sunup San Diego” on CBS and “That’s Life” on Cox Cable, which garnered her an Emmy Award as well as a Cable Ace Nomination.

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In 1986, Robert Palmer‘s video for his Top Ten hit “Addicted to Love” caused quite a sensation, becoming one of the most iconic and enduring videos of the 1980s, defining the decade’s hyper-stylized fashion-conscious look. It was featured in Night Flight’s “Take Off to 80s Dance Classics,” which originally aired on November 11, 1988, and you can watch it again, any time you want, over on Night Flight Plus!

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In the 1980s, blue-eyed British rock singer Robert Palmer was considered something of a Casanova with the ladies, and after his video — directed by British photographer Terence Donovan, known for his work with mod fashion during the Swinging ’60s — became hugely popular, due to its frequent airing on MTV, as well as other music video shows in the U.S. and abroad, giving the then-37-year-old singer the biggest hit of his career as a solo artist.

“Addicted to Love”entered the Billboard Hot 100 on February 8, 1986, before topping that chart — as well as the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart — around May 3rd of that year.

The single also reached #1 in Australia and #5 on the UK Singles chart.

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In 1987, “Addicted to Love” would win Robert Palmer a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Performance, and at the 1987 Brit Awards, Palmer received his first nomination for Best British Male, but Palmer had by then already had a long career before this seemingly overnight success.

“Addicted to Love” was first recorded as a duet between Palmer and Chaka Khan, but her management didn’t want her to have three singles out at the same time and her label, Warner Bros., would not grant her a release to work on Palmer’s label, Island Records, and so her vocals were removed from the recording.

Khan was by then having a lot of success with her 1984 album, I Feel For You, which we told you about in this recent Night Flight post, and she had also sung on Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love,” which beat out “Addicted to Love” for the 1987 Record of the Year Grammy.

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And so, “Addicted to Love” was released as a solo performance, with Palmer forced to re-record her high notes by himself.

Khan receives a credit in the album’s liner notes for the vocal arrangement for the track, and apparently there is a demo version of the track with both singing.

As for the video, Palmer — who appears on a small stage, in a white shirt and black tie — had subbed-out the actual band and replaced them with a new backing band, five impossibly beautiful, identically-dressed high-fashion models wearing either a slightly sheer, very tight little black dress, or a black top & mini-skirt combo with sheer black stockings, each towering in black stiletto heels, their faces dramatically made-up with smoky kohl’d eyes and slicked-back dark hair, rouged cheekbones, and bright glossy-red lips.

The video — which doesn’t have any special effect trickery, or smash-cut edits or anything else that would allow the mind to drift — was focused entirely on the performance of the song itself, with Palmer singing the song and the beauties miming along on their musical instruments.

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The models were Julie Pankhurst (keyboards), Patty Elias (guitar), Kathy Davies (drums), Julia Bolino (guitar) and Mak Gilchrist (bass).

Donovan auditioned the girls for the clip, filming them in a basement studio somewhere in London.

Over the years, each of the models appear to have been sought out for their comments about being in one of MTV’s most popular music videos during the 1980s.

For instance, in Rob Tannenbaum’s and Craig Marks’ I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution, Julia Bolino recalled that she’d never heard of Robert Palmer when she arrived on set to appear in the video. She was just eighteen at the time, and into bands like Blondie.

Bolino: “When we go to the set, the director, Terence Donovan, told each of us to pick up an instrument, and I happened to pick lead guitar. I’m glad I didn’t pick drums. Poor Kathy Davies, she didn’t get much screen time. Then we went into hair and makeup, which took quite a long time as you can imagine. The makeup was ladled on. I could barely talk because my lip gloss was so heavy.”

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Mak Gilchrist, meanwhile, was twenty-one years old and she says she had to persuaded to appear in the video, which she believed was something that models did to supplement their modeling career (she says she was paid a quarter of her normal day rate to appear in the video).

In 2009, Gilchrist told Q Magazine:“I remember feeling an acute sense of embarrassment when I first saw how sexy the video was.”

She also said that they were “meant to look and ‘act’ like showroom mannequins,” and adds that the “most unusual place I saw it was on a huge screen on the side of a Tokyo building.”

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Here’s what she says about the experience in I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution:

“I was really into funk, and I thought, I get to be the funky bass player who slaps the bass. As you can see, I insisted on slapping the bass, even though the song had no slapping bass whatsoever. In fact, I’m not even dancing to the tune that’s playing. I am not in rhythm with anybody or anything.”

Gilchrist — who describes Julia Bolino as “the one with what we called the autonomous breast, the girl whose boob is swinging to its own tune” — adds that Terence Donovan got the girls drunk on a bottle of wine during their lunch break, slamming it down on the table and saying to them, “Right, you lot, get your chops around that.”

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Gilchrist admits that she got “a little tipsy.”

“In fact, I got rather drunk. After lunch, my ankles began to wobble in those heels. My ankle sort of clicked over and I lost my balance. The neck of my bass hit Robert in the back of the head and hit a microphone. That would have been a hilarious outtake.”

Bolino — who says that Palmer was “very polite, very professional… his wife was there so perhaps he had no choice” — says that they had no idea that their tight black dresses were see-through.

It was only when she saw the video played back that she realized “Oh my god, you can see my boobs,” adding “I’ve always had quite big boobs.”

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About Night Flight

Voice of a generation that spoke from 11PM-7AM EST Friday and Saturday on USA Network in the '80s. Back to enlighten and inspire 24/7.