Martini Ranch was a new wave band conceived in 1982 by Andrew Todd Rosenthal. The band was composed of Rosenthal (vocals and guitar) and actor Bill Paxton (voices and samples), and featured a similar sound to late 1980s Devo. The Martini Ranch track "How Can the Labouring Man Find Time for Self-Culture?" featured three members of Devo.
In 1989, Martini Ranch was featured in the end credits of Bill Paxton's 1990 cult movie Brain Dead.
Rosenthal later formed a new band called Swifty's Bazaar.
During the period of 1986 through to 1988, Martini Ranch released two extended plays and one studio album. How Can the Labouring Man Find Time for Self-Culture? and Reach were released as EPs, with a follow up album being Holy Cow; all of which were released on Sire/Warner Bros. Records. The album was reissued in 2007 by Noble Rot. In 2010, Warner Special Products made Holy Cow available on iTunes.
"How Can the Labouring Man Find Time for Self-Culture?" was produced and engineered by Devo keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Bob Casale and also featured drummer Alan Myers playing percussion and singer Mark Mothersbaugh on keyboards.
The tracks "Hot Dog", "New Deal" and "World Without Walls" feature the vocals of Cindy Wilson of the B-52's. Actor Judge Reinhold is credited as the whistler on the song "Reach". Mark Mothersbaugh and Bud Cort donated their voices to the infomercial satire, "Fat-burning Formula".
The album also features film composer Mark Isham on flugelhorn, keyboardist Robert O'Hearn, (brother of bass player Patrick O'Hearn from Frank Zappa and Missing Persons), Patrick O'Hearn who performed bass on the song "New Deal", drummer Curt Bisquera of Morris Day's Band (singer for the Time), who performed drums on "Serious Girl", and backing vocalist Carol Parks.
Though long out of print, following Bill Paxton's death Futurismo, Inc released a vinyl reissue in May 2017. The package included a 180gram green-and-white ("Ranch Dressing") LP pressing and DVD with videos for "Reach" (directed by James Cameron) and "How Can the Labouring Man Find Time for Self-Culture?" (directed by Rocky Schenck).
Everything You Hear is For Sale
Rosenthal recorded an album of a genre blend rooted in jazz-rock, with friend Michael Sherwood. The band name was changed from Martini Ranch to Swifty's Bazaar and the album is titled Everything You Hear is For Sale; the album is digitally available. Swifty's Bazaar is currently recording a second album at Martini Ranch in Ocean Park, Santa Monica, California.
"How Can the Labouring Man Find Time for Self-Culture?"
Aside from Rosenthal and Paxton, the cast of the video features cameos by actors associated with Paxton. Anthony Michael Hall, with whom Bill Paxton starred in the 1985 film Weird Science and Rick Rossovich, who appeared with Paxton in The Lords of Discipline, Streets of Fire and The Terminator, represent intellectual class and working class men.
Director James Cameron created the cowboy-themed video of "Reach". The production included cameos from his soon-to-be-wife, fellow director Kathryn Bigelow, as well as Aliens and The Terminator alumni Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser and Jenette Goldstein, Judge Reinhold, Brian Thompson, and Adrian Pasdar (the video is roughly contemporaneous with the production of Bigelow's Near Dark, the cast of which included Henricksen, Goldstein, and Pasdar as well as Paxton). Also seen is Bud Cort as the crazy person admiring Bill Paxton's motorcycle. There is also a memorable scene with the three band members Rosenthal, Paxton and keyboardist O'Hearn being dragged through the dust. Three female bodybuilders Paxton knew from the gym also appeared: Dorothy Herndon (as a blacksmith) and Crista Videriksen and Val Streit (as bounty hunters from the cowgirl gang).