The House on the Rock between Spring Green and Dodgeville attracts lots of tourists to view the strange, eclectic collections of architect Alex Jordan. It recently drew musician Jack White, of The White Stripes, and was the backdrop for his latest video with The Raconteurs.
The video, “Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying),” from the band’s recent “Help Us Stranger” album, features exterior shots of the house but spends most of its time in and near the giant indoor carousel and in the house’s 218-foot “Infinity Room.”
The cantilevered glass-enclosed chamber has more than 3,000 windows and narrows to a point overlooking the Wisconsin River and Baraboo Hills.
“It opened to the public in 1985, and it is amazing,” Nancy Schaaf, the house’s director of human resources, said of the room. “It’s got a beautiful, beautiful panoramic view of the Driftless Area here.”
Schaaf said the band shot the video later in the day on Sept. 16, a Monday, so as not to disrupt the attraction’s visitors. The production crew scouted the location the day and night before.
“All the production people were amazing and the band was so kind and nice to work with,” she said. “Everyone came real organized.”
Director Ben Chappell, best known for his collaborations with the band Arctic Monkeys, grew up in Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, and said his mother took him to the House on the Rock for the first time when he was 9 or 10.
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Later, in college at DePaul in Chicago, he said he went back to the House on the Rock with friends. Over the years, he went at least twice more. He bought old brochures and books about the house, hoping to learn more about Alex Jordan and his creation.
“The thing that hooked me in is you can’t tell what’s ‘real’ and what’s not,” Chappell said. “He put a tremendous amount of work into tricking you. The whole place is sort of one big magic trick and leaves you mystified and bewildered and you leave every time not really knowing what you have just walked through.”
The video has been well-received, Chappell said.
“Those who know the place have been really excited to see it, and those who aren’t aware of it seem very perplexed as to what and where it is,” he said.
The Raconteurs played a sold-out show at the Eagles Ballroom/Rave in Milwaukee in July and weren’t on tour in the area at the time of the September shoot.
It’s not the first time a band has used the House on the Rock to film a video. In 1997, 10,000 Maniacs shot “More Than This” there. A 2009 version of the video has 1.5 million views on YouTube.
Neil Gaiman set scenes of his 2001 novel “American Gods” in the House on the Rock, and, in 2017, scenes from the Starz show based on the book were set at the house and also shot there.
As for The Raconteurs, they’re gaining fans at the House on the Rock.
“It’s a good song,” Schaaf said. “We’re all singing it today.”