Pete Yorn: "Scarlett Johansson Could Be Brigitte Bardot"

May 27, 2009 4:56 PM ET

Pete Yorn has been swamped recording three separate albums, but only one of the trio features an Golden Globe-nominated actress who's a famous fan of Tom Waits: Scarlett Johansson. On Break Up, due September 8th, Yorn sings duets with Johansson in the style of '60s partners Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot. Yorn tells Rock Daily the idea came to him after a week of insomnia, when he finally had a dream: " 'I have to make a record inspired by Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot and it has to be like that.' So who is Brigitte Bardot? And I was like, Scarlett Johansson could be the Brigitte Bardot type. So I reached out to her and she was into it and we did it," he says. "I'm really proud of that record."

But before that collaborative LP hits stores, Yorn will release Back and Fourth on June 23th, an album produced by Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes and Rilo Kiley fame. Mogis yanked Yorn from his comfort zone — playing all instruments himself — and assembled a band of musicians including Beck drummer Joey Waronker, Bright Eyes pianist Nate Wolcott, John Cale bassist Joe Karnes and Azure Ray vocalist Orenda Fink. "It was definitely a challenge to let go," Yorn says, "I just wanted to try something different, and Mike was all for working with the band." The album was laid down in Mogis' home studio in Omaha, Nebraska; executive producer Rick Rubin advised Yorn through the early stages of the record, helping with song selection.

But around a week before heading to Omaha, Yorn became restless and took a detour to record with Pixies' Frank Black. Yorn explains, "I had an opportunity to go and work with Frank Black so I just jumped on a plane on my own dime and I went up to Salem, Oregon, and we recorded." The end result was 14 raw songs captured in merely six days. This LP has no set release date, but Yorn isn't sitting idle now: he's on tour with Coldplay until June 4th and will continue to tour solo in support of Back and Fourth after those dates.

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

Music Main Next
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

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

More Song Stories entries »