By Brian Ives
We posted a story recently about Walking Dead star Norman Reedus directing a music video for an up-and-coming band called the Bots (and good for him for doing so, because it brought a lot of attention to a very cool and deserving new group).
“That’s all well and good,” you might say. “But what qualifies him to direct a music video?”
Well, for starters, he’s a big music fan; he’s cited Sonic Youth, Motorhead, Tom Petty, the Stooges and garage rockers the Black Angels as artists he listens to when he’s on set.
“Well I’m a music fan, too,” you might then say. “But no one’s asking me to direct their videos!”
Point taken. However, Reedus isn’t just a music fan: he has actually logged quite a bit of time on music video sets before he became Walking Dead‘s Daryl Dixon (and he’s done at least one music video since the show started). His resume includes appearances in music videos for a huge range of artists, from Tricky to Ugly Kid Joe to even Hilary Duff.
But those aren’t even our favorites. Below we list our top 5 Norman Reedus music videos appearances, plus one bonus clip.
1. Lady Gaga – “Judas” (2011)
By the time this video was released in the spring of 2011, Reedus was a pretty big name, as The Walking Dead debuted the previous year. Reedus actually plays the starring role in this video. Judas, in this case, is a motorcycle gang member (and like Daryl Dixon, he opts not to wear a helmet when he rides). Gaga sings, “Jesus is my virtue. But Judas is the demon I cling to!” Of course she does, the bad boys always get the chicks! Elsewhere in the video, Judas gets in fights, kisses Jesus and pours what we can only assume is holy water on Gaga’s butt. Nice work if you can get it! Alas, he’s nowhere to be seen during the dance routines.
2. Keith Richards – “Wicked As It Seems” (1992)
It makes sense that Reedus would be in a Keith Richards video, as they both have a dark, mysterious sense of danger about them. If you’re in a brawl, they’re both guys you’d want in your corner. Reedus isn’t as prevalent in this video as in Gaga’s. Instead of a starring role, he kind of just hangs out (shirtless) and smokes cigarettes. Yes, people get paid for this stuff. Catch a brief glimpse at 0:10. At 0:55 a shirtless Norman is smoking a cigarette, and at 1:30 he’s flashing devil horns.
3. Radiohead – “Fake Plastic Trees” (1995)
We’re not sure Daryl Dixon would have much use for the artsiness of Radiohead, but Reedus was well cast as a rowdy guy in a futuristic supermarket. All he had to do was throw toilet paper, ride around on a shopping cart and kick boxes around. Last time we tried that, we got kicked out of Whole Foods.
4. R.E.M. – “Strange Currencies” (1995)
This black-and-white video only has a few glimpses of our future killer of walkers. But you can see him at 2:44 running while wearing a trench coat (maybe the same one he wore in “Fake Plastic Trees?”).
5. Bjork – “Violently Happy” (1994)
The only one of these videos where Norman doesn’t look like Norman; here, he’s wearing new-wave drag, cutting off his Duran Duran-ish mullet. That’s called “acting,” in professional terms.
BONUS: Cadillac Records (2008)
This isn’t a music video, of course, but it is a film about music. Here Reedus plays an engineer in a scene that as much of a showdown between Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf as when Rick had his sit-down meeting with the Governor on the Walking Dead. At the time of the film, Adrien Brody was one of the hottest actors in the game, and Reedus was just an up-and-comer. Things would soon change quickly for Reedus, and they’d slow down a bit for Brody (although his role as Dmitri Desgoffe und Taxis in last year’s The Grand Budapest Hotel was pretty classic).