Carissa Johnson is an old soul of rock and roll.
And we mean that, obviously, in the best way possible. The Boston-based bassist, singer, and songwriter, who released her latest album Only Roses back in May, doesn’t have time for the modern shine forcefully cast on the current climate of music. Johnson, an Andover native, has a certain grit and urgency to her sound; exuding Joan Jett cool, keeping her vocal mic elevated like Lemmy, and knowing that CBGB patch on the back of her denim jacket isn’t a fashion statement — it’s a marking for when the punk rock ghosts come back from the past to whisk the true believers off this planet and into a far-away musical utopia.
This morning she releases the video for her latest guitar-rock track, the raucous, bullet-tipped “Fuel Heart”, which begins with her thumbing through the FM radio dial. And like the great Jonathan Richman and Modern Lovers of yesterday, Johnson knows a thing or two about cruising around Massachusetts late at night.
“I wrote the song last fall when I would just drive around Boston aimlessly at night listening to the bands who inspire me,” Johnson tells Vanyaland. “I’d have nowhere to go but it was my way of getting inspired and feeling this sense of urgency in getting my own music out into the world. The title of the song came to me that way, and the core of the song comes from just being frustrated. Feeling undefinable in a world where everyone wants to label things. I wanted this song to be the anthem for anybody who might feel that way, anybody who’s going through a time where they’re finding themselves and finding the world they fit into. It’s about being afraid but diving into the fear and about finding confidence through that. It’s also about being uncomfortable and realizing that that’s not necessarily a bad thing.”
The “Fuel Heart” video, which we are excited to premiere below, was filmed and directed by Andy Hansen, and shot on what Johnson describes as “a deserted wasteland tucked away in Andover.” The radio, we are saddened to report, did not survive.
“Each take was only 20 seconds because the smoke bombs don’t last long at all,” Johnson says. “We relied on getting it on the first take. We were both up for two days straight because the original day we were planning on filming a thunderstorm happened in the only hour of the day we were gonna do it at (4 to 5 a.m.) so we stayed up and made more of a blueprint for the video the whole next day… I have a radio which we tore apart at 2 a.m. and filled with smoke bombs for the video. I can forgive all the sand, the digestion of the smoke, and sacrificing the radio because this was the most fun I’ve ever had filming a music video. Andy always has the best vision.”