Bill Paxton, of new wave act Martini Ranch (and popular motion pictures), 1955-2017

Sad news today for fans of Bill Paxton, the actor known for iconic mid-’80s supporting roles in “Weird Science” and “Aliens” who went on to star in the blockbusters “Twister” and “Apollo 13.” The 61-year-old died Saturday due to complications from surgery, his family announced today.

There will be much well-deserved celebration of Paxton’s cinematic work in the days to come, so let’s at least take a moment to remember another one of the actor’s creative outlets: his role in Andrew Todd Rosenthal’s very ’80s new wave act Martini Ranch.

The group, which Paxton joined in 1984, released two EPs and an album between 1986 and 1988, and is probably best remembered for its single and very ambitious video “How Can the Labouring Man Find Time for Self-Culture?,” which was produced by Devo’s Bob Casale and featured Casale’s bandmates Alan Myers on drums and Mark Mothersbaugh on keyboards.

Late this evening, Rosenthal emailed a statement to Slicing Up Eyeballs about his friend and bandmate:

“Bill Paxton changed my life. He taught me so much about life and film making… We were great friends and made some fantastic art together. I have lost a real big brother.”

No stranger to music videos, Paxton also made an appearance (alongside Rae Dawn Chong) in New Order’s video for “Touched By the Hand of God,” and both directed and appeared in the clip for Barnes & Barnes novelty song “Fish Heads,” a Dr. Demento favorite.

Below, check out the video for Martini Ranch’s “How Can the Labouring Man Find Time for Self-Culture?” — it features cameos by Anthony Michael Hall, Rick Rossovich and Judge Reinhold — as well as the wild James Cameron-directed clip for “Reach.”

 

Video: Martini Ranch, “How Can the Labouring Man Find Time for Self-Culture?”

 

Video: Martini Ranch, “Reach”

 

 

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