You can always count on Aimee Mann to include a wealth of famous faces in her music videos, and the clip for new Mental Illness single “Patient Zero” is no different. Loosely based on Ronald Harwood’s 1980 story “The Dresser,” it stars James Urbaniak as the title character responsible for outfitting actor Bradley Whitford. Also featured are Tim Heidecker of Tim & Eric plus Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and Mad Men actor Rich Sommer (aka Harry Crane). Daniel Ralston directs.
As for the song, Mann spoke about it in our recent interview, calling it “a real story, a Hollywood story” and noting that it includes a reference to Carmen Sternwood, a character from Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. “I’m an obsessive reader of Raymond Chandler. You know how if you’re really super into a book, you forget that other people haven’t read and might not know what you’re talking about?”
So essentially we’ve got a song that tells one story and a music video that tells another. But even if you don’t want to delve into layers upon layers of meaning, on a pure aesthetic level “Patient Zero” holds up as another example of Mann’s songwriting expertise. Watch the video below.
Mental Illness is out 3/31. Pre-order it here.