We've been fans for awhile of L.A. band The Title Trackers and their simple but ingenious premise: What if, instead of just being a conventional cover band, you created “lost title tracks” for classic albums that didn't have one? So the Trackers' repertoire includes Billy Joel's “Glass Houses,” The Doors' “Morrison Hotel” and, of course, U2's “The Joshua Tree,” all performed in the style (with tongue firmly planted in cheek) of the original artists. Brilliant!
Now, the Trackers — Russell Wiener, David Tokaji and Andy Hill — have taken their love for one of those original artists one step further, creating a video for their “lost” U2 title track, whose full title is “Chopping Down the Joshua Tree.” But not just any video — a video shot on location in the middle of the desert, at the exact spot where Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. posed for their now-iconic Joshua Tree gatefold photo.
How did they find the exact spot, you ask? Thanks to a guy named Ernie Navarre, the location has long been known among U2 superfans. Navarre spent years exploring the desert until he found the vista that matched the photo (which is actually in Death Valley, not Joshua Tree National Park), then commemorated the site by installing a plaque. (Navarre deserves a whole article unto himself — and we'll post one later this week.)
The Title Trackers' threw a premiere party for the video on Saturday, Jan. 16, then kindly agreed to let L.A. Weekly premiere it online today. Maybe it'll inspire you to make your own desert pilgrimage. Or at least crank up your copy of The Joshua Tree and bust out your own best Bono impersonation.
Catch The Title Trackers live at Molly Malone's on Thursday, March 31. Advance VIP tickets available at www.thetitletrackers.com.