Months ago I was looking up various song videos on Youtube. At some point I thought of a song that was on the radio around 1999: “Steal My Sunshine”. Back when it was on the airwaves I was only a bit familiar with it but did not know who the artist was or anything else about it. What I did remember was that it was a neat catchy song.
After some quick research, I found that the song is by a Canadian band called Len. Len was started by siblings Marc and Sharon Costanzo. Steal My Sunshine was from their third album titled “You Can’t Stop The Bum Rush” and according to Wikipedia, it peaked at #1 in Canada and reached #9 in the U.S. and #8 spot in the U.K.
The song sampled and looped the bridge portion of Andrea True Connection’s “More More More”. The song was originally recorded on an 8 track half inch recorder and almost wasn’t included on the album.
The video itself was shot using a $200,000 budget. The band used the money to fly themselves and numerous friends to Daytona Beach for several days and filmed the video in one afternoon. There is no theme to the video, just the band members and their friends having fun. To me the song is a lighthearted fun summer-type song, so this sort of video seems appropriate.
After seeing comments on Youtube that it was shot in Daytona Beach, I looked up some of the landmarks on Google Maps. Using the Daytona Beach Pier as a reference point, I was able to find some of the areas where some of the scenes were filmed. Recently I took a long road trip from my hometown of Houston to various cities in Florida. On my way up from Cocoa Beach to Jacksonville, I stopped in Daytona Beach for a couple of hours, walked around and took a lot of pictures.
Several things have changed in the area. The pier and boardwalk are still there but have been updated. The pier no longer has a Gondola and a Joe’s Crab Shack now occupies the building where a casino was. According to a couple of locals, the gondolas on the pier were taken down because of hurricane winds and will not be reinstalled.
**EDIT** I went back to Florida in February 2013. While there I spent a half day in Daytona Beach and spent a couple of hours trying to find some of the filming locations that I didn’t see in 2012. I pasted several still frames into a PowerPoint slide, printed it out and took that with me. (Yes, I am quite a nerd. A Len-nerd to be specific). I talked to employees of the arcades on the Boardwalk and they helped me find a few of the locations.
Graziano’s is no longer there but another pizza shop is. According to an employee of a shop a couple of doors down, Graziano’s closed a couple of years ago and shortly after another individual opened another pizza shop in its place.
This shows the current location where the first ‘scooter scene’ was shot. The scooters and palm trees were located where the red umbrellas and tables now stand.
At 1:30 into the video, the group are riding scooters. On the left side of the still frame, a swimwear sign is visible along with a fireworks store further back. A quick search indicated both the firework store and Sand Box swimwear are still there. In my most recent trip (February 2013) I found the stores and took a picture where this scene was shot.
At 2:03 LEN is seen walking into an arcade. Long story short, there was some confusion as to which arcade this was (presently there are two arcades). I asked the managers of the two arcades currently on the boardwalk, and they concluded this was taken at Midway arcade which closed a few years ago.
I did run across one of these signs (although not working and painted yellow and not green like in the video). An arcade employees said when Midway arcade shut down, the adjacent arcades took some of their machines.
At 2:51 in the video, the group is in a food/concession area. Arcade games are in the background. The employees of the arcades could not definitively say where this was. It may have been in the now defunct Midway Arcade or Joyland.
Food area of Joyland Arcade. Conceivably it looks like it could have been the same area, but who knows.
Len has several other videos on Youtube. In fact I made a playlist of them. Check out LenVEVO , len2006 and LENOfficialTVfor a complete list. Both the album and single versions of Steal My Sunshine and a few other songs by Len are available for iTunes.
Since I originally published this post, LEN released not only a new single “It’s My Neighbourhood” but a new album titled “It’s Easy If You Try”. The album has been released in Canada and is available on iTunes. Be sure to follow LEN on Twitter and on Facebook. I hope to see them in concert sometime soon. 🙂
Also check out this behind-the-scenes video of Steal My Sunshine that LEN recently released on their official Youtube channel.