Robin Wilson’s always had a perfect voice for graveyards. The Gin Blossoms singer’s slightly nasal tenor is just the type of whine to carry far and clear across the tombstones. Right in time for Halloween, he puts it to good use on a faithful cover of the Ramones’ cult hit “Pet Sematary.”
The cover was the idea of Nashville drummer and radio DJ Andy Herrin, who hit up his old friend Wilson to lend his voice to a studio recording and a subsequent video. Rounded out by Herrin’s fellow Nashville musicians Paul Masson on guitar and Mike Purcell on keys, and Wilson’s 19-year-old son Grey on guitar, the Last Rites were born.
All of the players appear in the video — staying pandemic safe in creepy masks and backing up Wilson as he mugs and mimes his way through the clip in ghoulish face paint. In a year fraught with real-life terrors, it’s that welcome good kind of scare.
It also pays tribute to one of the all-time best Halloween rock songs. Written by bassist Dee Dee Ramone and producer Daniel Rey, the Ramones’ 1989 original appeared in the big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s 1983 horror novel about reincarnation. The New York City punks’ own video is an equal blast, with Joey Ramone and the band poking fun at their own career — in the end, they’re buried alive under a Ramones headstone.
Along with “Pet Sematary,” Wilson has put together a Halloween playlist for Spotify that includes songs by the Cure, the Cult, Johnny Marr, and Ghost, along with the Last Rites’ Ramones homage. He’ll also join the Smithereens’ Jim Babjak, Marshall Crenshaw, Graham Maby for a Halloween livestream concert beginning Saturday at 3:45 p.m. ET on the Smithereens’ Facebook.