From KCRW DJ Gary Calamar:

I’m a very lucky guy. I have two of the best jobs that I can think of KCRW DJ and Music Supervisor for the best bloody show on TV, True Blood on HBO.

This season, the 4th, is going to kick off with a bang. Not just watching the latest adventures of Sookie Stackhouse and all her supernatural friends but I am so very excited about the new version of The Zombies’ “She’s Not There” a new collaboration with Neko Case and Nick Cave.

A little background. If you are a fan of True Blood you know that each episode is named after one of the songs that are in that episode. So it’s always exciting for me to crack open the script and see what the writer has in mind for the title and the song that I will ultimately need to track down and license for use in the show.

When I received the first script for episode #401, written by Alex Woo, I saw the title “She’s Not There”, one of my favorite songs by 60′s British Invaders The Zombies.

Alex had suggested that we use the Santana version of the song. I thought well, we’ve got some time. Why don’t we try and produce a new, fresh version of this classic and make it our own? Let’s have some fun with this — Bon Temps Louisiana Style.

Stream “She’s Not There” featuring Neko Case and Nick Cave

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The show’s creator Alan Ball gave me his blessing and I was off and running. The brainstorming began. I spread the word. I spoke with one of my friends CC Adcock, the great Louisiana musician and producer about it and he came up with a new arrangement for the song, more dark and sexy. We thought it would be great to make it a sly duet between a man and woman. I loved the idea. Many artists were thrown around in our conversations of who would be the ideal couple, Florence and The Machine, Irma Thomas, Dr. John, The Kills, etc etc etc but scheduling conflicts got in the way. Then, as strange as it may sound, I got a little help none other than The Cars. Yes, those 80′s synth pop new wavers, The Cars!

You see, The Cars have just released a new album, their big comeback.  Recently I received the advance copy of their new album, checked it out, and filed it away in my CD collection. Using the tried and true alphabetical filing system I slipped it it it’s proper place in the “C” section. Suddenly something magical happened. My eyes took a little trip further down the C section. NEKO CASE practically jumped into my arms and whispered “I’ll do it, call me, let’s talk about She’s Not There for True Blood”.

Yes Neko’s beautiful voice and sexy twang would be perfect for True Blood. Then I decided to go with the magical flow and continued down the C section. Johnny Cash…mmm,, would be great but he’s er…dead. Cat Power mmm, could be very interesting. I would love to watch Cat and Neko go at it, but NO we need a man for this collaboration. Then the second bolt of lightning hit me: NICK CAVE.  I had to sit down and catch my breath imagining this duet with Neko Case and Nick Cave. Let me make some calls and see if somehow this could work.

Turns out they both fans of True Blood and LOVED the song idea and wanted to it. What ? Holy #$%@ !

Nick Cave and Gary Calamar

CC Adcock laid down his arrangement of the track along with his Louisiana pals Jon Cleary on piano and Keith Frank on bass and accordion.

Neko sang her part in a small studio in Seattle. Sounded brilliant. As it turns out Mr. Cave was coming to Los Angeles with his family for a vacation. In between trips with his kids to Universal Studios and Disneyland (can you imagine Nick Cave at Disneyland?) we got him down to the Redstar Studio in Silverlake to top off the track with his haunting, cavernous vocals.

Sexy and Scary, a great combination for True Blood.

Please give it a listen and see what you think. Listen to the stream here at KCRW.com and it will be available on itunes after the 4th season premiere airs on Sunday June 26 on HBO. It’s not TV, it’s HBO…I should also say it’s not radio, it’s KCRW (and KCRW.com)

– Gary Calamar

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