A wacky little pocket-sized guide to remaking your image as a 1980s rock star recently landed on my desk and I’m taking notes. Jordan Hart’s Steel Rainbow advises wearing three watches, snakeskin tap boots and always pointing into the camera (he also advises wearing a cape and learning to play the guitar, but I’m not trying that hard.) Mr. Hart alerted me that Van Halen’s Hot For Teacher, the “greatest video of the genre,” was filmed at a real school in Los Feliz and shared the following observations:
• In 1985, it was one of two music videos shown by Paula Hawkins in the infamous Tipper Gore-lead Senate hearing about censoring musical lyrics and content.
• Little known fact: the late Phil Hartman, a California State University – Northridge alumni, voices the video’s hero, Waldo.
• Around 80 people out of a couple of hundred were selected for various roles in the video, most being young kids from LA
• Van Halen is solely responsible for both the creation of Hair Metal and making Los Angeles the epicenter of rock music for an entire decade. “Hot for Teacher” is easily their most iconic video.
• It received instant backlash from The Parents Music Resource Center for a laundry list of reasons including exposing the children in it to strippers, cigarette smoke, and sexual innuendo, yet MTV refused to stop playing it.
• Filmed over a four-day period at John Marshall High School, the exterior, library, and a classroom are featured.