Kweller, Lips Play Undead

"Stubbs the Zombie" soundtrack features new oldies

November 17, 2004 12:00 AM ET
Ben Kweller, the Flaming Lips, the Raveonettes, Death Cab for Cutie, Cake and the Dandy Warhols lead the list of bands covering oldies for Stubbs the Zombie: The Soundtrack. Due out March 15th, the compilation provides the audio backdrop for a video game set in 1959 in fictional Punchbowl, Pennsylvania. The game pits wealthy industrialist Andrew Monday against Stubbs the Zombie, after Monday builds his tech-happy "City of the Future" on a burial ground. War between humans and corpses ensues.

The Lips tackle the Wizard of Oz classic "If I Only Had a Brain," Death Cab for Cutie cover the Penguins' doo-wop smash "Earth Angel" and the Raveonettes do "My Boyfriend's Back," co-written by their producer Richard Gottehrer for Sixties girl group the Angels.

"I just computerized it," says Raveonettes guitarist Sune Rose Wagner of the band's synth-heavy "Boyfriend." Bassist Sharin Foo sings lead, and one of Gottehrer's Orchard Records employees gets her chance to shine on the song's intro. "Stella walked in and I said, 'Stella, do the spoken word.' And that was it.'"

Kweller takes on another girl-group favorite, "Lollipop," a Number Two hit for the Chordettes in 1958."I thought it would be such a good juxtaposition to be in this happy town in Pennsylvania singing 'Lollipop' while you're a zombie killing people," Kweller says. "'Lollipop, lollipop,' and everything's good and happy except you're all going to die."

Beyond the basic changing of pronouns in the song from he to she, Kweller's version stays faithful to the original, with band members competing to sing the song's more distinctive vocal accents. "We went around the room to see who had the lowest vocal and John [drummer Kent] won, so he did the [bass] 'doo do do do' part," Kweller says. "The owner of the studio happened to be the one with the best lollipop [popping] sound. It's one of those songs that has such stigma to it that you can't really remove any of those parts and try to make it your own. It was really fun though . . . I'm really excited to play the game."

Stubbs the Zombie track listing:

"Lollipop," Ben Kweller
"My Boyfriend's Back," the Raveonettes
"Earth Angel" Death Cab for Cutie
"Everyday," Rogue Wave
"Strangers in the Night," Cake
"There Goes My Baby," the Walkmen
"All I Have to Do Is Dream, the Dandy Warhols
"Mr. Sandman," Oranger
"If I Only Had a Brain," the Flaming Lips
"Tears on My Pillow," Clem Snide
"Shakin' All Over," Rose Hill Drive
"Lonesome Town," Milton Mapes
"The Living Dead," Phantom Planet

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

More Song Stories entries »