Wild Bill Gets in the Ring

Rock opera births boxing video trilogy

On the ropes: A punch drunk Wild Bill Ogden on the set of The Beaten Man Trilogy (Photo by Dave Creaney)

Wild Bill Ogden is a serious boxing fan and by that we mean he’s logged countless hours playing Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out on Nintendo and watching Rocky movies. The Austin songwriter combines that expertise with a knack for absurdist humor and South Park-ian storylines in a new music video trilogy.

The triptych, titled The Beaten Man Trilogy, coincides with the release of the Lost Knobs frontman’s solo bow, a rock opera called Fighting for the Title. The album, produced by local bluechip multi-instrumentalist Kris Wade, divides into two distinct acts. Side A, “The Fall,” sets up the narrative with acoustic songcraft representing some of Ogden’s most sentimental work. Sample-laden flipside “The Comeback” comes alive with beats and basslines as the prizefighter protagonist begins his redemptive climb to a championship bout.

The ambitious trio of corresponding clips, co-produced and directed by Ogden’s longtime video guru Will Martin and featuring animation by Luke Litman, were largely shot at Richard Lord’s Boxing Gym on North Lamar. The owner, a onetime Golden Gloves boxer, famously brought David Bowie to Texas in 1983 and trained him into shape via the boxing ring for his Serious Moonlight Tour. A journey into the imaginative world of Wild Bill, the videos connect storylines and characters from previous videos “She Don’t Say No” and “All I Wanna Do.”

They’re also chock-full of Nintendo nostalgia and even the coveted cheat code: up up, down down, left, right, left, right, B-button, A-button, select, start.

Kings of the ring: the video cast at Richard Lord’s Boxing Gym with Lord in the center, grabbing Amanda Ogden’s head. (Photo by Dave Creaney)

Part 1: “Gettin’ in Shape”
Wild Bill is trained by ABGB co-owner Mark Jensen, who uses Nintendo’s Power Glove to transform him into a human wolf hybrid, but there are more nefarious dealings afoot.

Part 2: “I’m the Wolfman”

 High on being the Wolfman, Wild Bill fails to notice treachery all around him. Jensen’s pulling Don King shit, misleading Bill into thinking he’s fighting Frail Floyd, when really he’s taking on Steel Stan.

Part 3: “Fighting for the Title”
The fix is in. Can our skinny hero beat the muscular Steel Stan? Is any of this real anyway?

Wild Bill brings Fighting for the Title to life with a thematic release show at the ABGB on Friday. It’ll debut on – appropriately – Nintendo-cartridge-gray vinyl. As Axl Rose once taunted, “Get in the ring motherfucker!”

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More Wild Bill Ogden
Texas Platters
Wild Bill Ogden
Fighting for the Title (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Dec. 22, 2017

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Wild Bill Ogden, Wild Bill & the Lost Knobs, Richard Lord’s Boxing Gym, Amanda Odgen, Will Martin, Mark Jenson, Kris Wade, Luke Litman, David Bowie, Axl Rose, Don King, Rocky, Mike Tyson

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