Dhani Harrison agrees that putting a dog in a video — as he does with the clip for his new single “Motorways (Erase It),” premiering exclusively below — is low-hanging fruit. But, he figures, so what?
“Banksy was asked once, ‘What do you think about the Internet?’ and he said, ‘It’s a great place for looking at dogs’ — so I think, really, at this point, have it,” Harrison tells Billboard with a laugh. “It’s positive and fun.” And in the case of “Motorways (Erase It),” it’s also personal.
The Liam Lynch-directed video, featuring stock footage of a dog, Frisbee in mouth, flying around the world, represents the past couple of years of Harrison’s own traveling life. “(Lynch) said, ‘What should we do? I said, ‘I dunno, let’s have a dog fly over every place we’ve been the last two years, from Antarctica to London to Indian caves to Japan, China…all the places we’ve been and let’s just bring a little bit of positivity and bring it back to the journey we’ve been on.’ And I love Liam’s take on anything because he’s a funny man and we’ve done loads of video together.”
“Motorways (Erase It)” is a follow-up of sorts to Harrison’s 2017 solo debut album, IN///PARALLEL, and the first new material after taking time to score documentaries such as HBO’s The Case Against Adnan Syed and Netflix’s Dogs with thenewno2 bandmate Paul Hicks. “This is just putting a track out, testing the waters,” Harrison explains. “I’m in the middle of working on a new record, (with) a lot of the same writers I was working with on little collaborations here and there from the last (album). I rebuilt my whole studio and I’m just coming down off a load of big documentary projects. So it’ll be nice to get back once we’re done with this tour and just start working on my own and have some time to actually dedicate to a record.”
“This tour” is a North American jaunt with Jeff Lynne’s ELO, which runs through July 30 with a make-up date Aug. 1 in Pittsburgh. Harrison and Lynne go way back, of course, to the latter’s work with George Harrison on Cloud Nine and The Beatles’ Anthology as well as the Traveling Wilburys. “Jeff sort of moved into my house when I was probably eight or nine,” says Harrison, whose first concert was an ELO show during the mid-80s. “It was just about seven years of hanging out with Jeff. Jeff put me on to records. I learned from him and dad how to make records, how to use tape machines, how to EQ stuff…everything I’ve learned, really, and that was when I was a kid. I’ve been in and out of the Jeff Lynne school my whole life, so it’s kind of logical that I should be here with him, ’cause I spent so much time with him. But at the same time getting invited out with ELO is such a great honor. I’m really over the moon about it.”
And Harrison — who performs the Wilburys’ “Handle With Care” with ELO each night — is also pleased with the reception he and his band are getting from the ELO audience. “It’s about the best you can hope for, really. The arenas have been sold out and we’ve had everyone in their seats for the opening act. It’s been mostly standing ovations. For me it’s mental because I didn’t expect them to know my music, and we’ve been getting such a great reaction. It’s been like the most fun tour I’ve ever done.”