Lotus Crush & C. Thomas Howell Chronicle L.A. Homelessness in 'All the Same' Video: Exclusive

Courtesy Photo
Lotus Crush's video for "All The Same."

Lotus Crush takes on the serious subject of homelessness in its new video for "All the Same," directed by actor C. Thomas Howell.  

The video, which premieres exclusively via Billboard, is a poignant look at downtown Los Angeles' Skid Row intercut with performance footage. The theme asserts that no matter one's circumstances, "we are very much all the same and but for a couple of left turns in life," lead singer Terry McDermott, was the runner-up on season 3 of The Voice, told Billboard.

"All the Same" is the next single off of the alternative rock band's album, Rabbit Hole, that was this spring on CaviGold Records. Watch the video here:

Howell told Billboard he watched McDermott on The Voice but hasn't really watched the show since. After teaming with Lotus Crush in the group’s last video for single, "Hearts & Minds," The Outsiders star, who is currently featured in the film Woodlawn, said he was excited for the opportunity to get behind the camera on another piece. 

McDermott said he wrote "All the Same" with an image in his mind "of somebody, perhaps on a bus or a stranger on the subway breaking down next to you and depending where you are in the world, you are either going to care, or not to care." And after listening to the cut, Howell was inspired to tell real human stories.

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"I'm an actor and the last thing I wanted to do in a music video is work with actors," he said. "In music videos, for me personally, we are usually subjected to beautiful people who aren’t very talented put into a situation that is set up for doom anyway. It is nobody's fault other than the situation and so I really felt, like, 'Well, I don't see this as being as a falling in love [story]. I didn't want to see another video with good looking people pretending to love each other."

What he wanted to do, he said, "is really to drive home the message of homelessness in our own cities and countries as much as to bring the awareness that those people aren’t all convicts and drug addicts and sort of 'unworthy' people."

To do this, Howell took a film crew into Skid Row -- a move he acknowledged was dangerous.

“I did have a few very scary moments where people thought I was stepping over my boundaries and walking down into their areas with a camera and talking to them,” he said. “Some of them thought I was F.B.I. Some of them wanted to beat me up. Some thought I was part of the police department. Some wanted to steal our equipment.”

After handing out water and earning trust discussing what people really need -- batteries for the transistor radio or flashlight, medication, dental care, for example -- Howell interviewed people to get to the heart of their stories. Seeing people living in tents, scared to leave their sleeping bags for fear that their possessions will be stolen, broke his heart.  

“There are people I have met that are servicemen, firemen, policemen -- people that are really struggling to get a hand up that don’t have family, or  lost everything in a fire or battling an illness,” he said. “I met a guy who lost his job, lost his home, lost his wife and his kids and he is now struggling to live on the street while battling a custody case at the same time and he is a guy that served in the marines.”

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Howell speaks on the issue with great passion and said he is trying to raise awareness to the homelessness issue now. After talking to some of the people, the director used a subtle visual of his subjects holding up cardboard signs to illustrate their situation, capturing their hope. 

“In our video, which was amazing, you see that there is still love and hope and that’s what our story is about. There will be those that have a hard time with it. It’s not filled with pretty people and it’s not fake. It’s real,” he said. “I’m very proud of the video. I love the song. I love the images that we caught. I love how it came together and I love the story that we tell."

Lotus Crush and Howell will continue to collaborate, as the band was invited by the actor to participate in the This Time Tomorrow charity gala in Milwaukee, Wisc., on Nov. 21. The organization provides financial support to individual families and organizations focused on cancer research, education or advocacy. Lotus Crush recorded the theme song, "This Time Tomorrow,” which McDermott said is the “musical centerpiece of the gala.”

“Every year they have an artist to do an interpretation of this original song, and we were asked,” he said. “I’m proud of the song. It came out great.”

McDermott and Howell will also take part in the foundation’s Random Act’s of Kindness campaign this month surprising families in need with financial support for cancer treatment.