KCRW Exclusive: Eric Burdon and Jenny Lewis Duet for True Blood

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Jenny Lewis and Eric Burdon at work in the studio

KCRW DJ Gary Calamar premieres a special track from the upcoming True Blood Vol 4. soundtrack – Eric Burdon and Jenny Lewis dueting on “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”. Take a listen and read the story behind it below.

“Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Eric Burdon and Jenny Lewis

Oh, the summertime is comin’….flowers blooming, fireflies lighting the sky, and the beach is the place to go. But no suntans for the vampires in True Blood which is kicking off Season 6 (Season Premiere June 16 on HBO) and a new soundtrack album coming on May 28 (on ATO Records).

As Music Supervisor of True Blood, this is the time of year I look forward to. This is my favorite job (after DJing at KCRW of course), creating and picking songs for the sexy, scary, funny world that Alan Ball has created for True Blood.

In past seasons, I’ve had the pleasure of putting together some cool recordings collaborations for True Blood:

Donovan and Karen Elson’s witchy version of “Season Of The Witch”
Nick Cave and Neko Case’s sexy take on The Zombies’ “She’s Not There”
Iggy Pop and Bethany Cosentino for “Let’s Boot and Rally” a song which I co-wrote (with James Combs) last season.
The Heavy’s soulful and spiritual reading of Laura Nyro’s “And When I Die”

For Season 6, the writers of the show wanted to use the song “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood“, one of my favorite songs as recorded by Eric Burdon and The Animals. (Nina Simone did a beautiful version as well.)

Eric has recently had a career resurgence with a loving shout out from Bruce Springsteen at SXSW and great new album “Till Your River Runs Dry“. How about Eric doing a new version of the song ? How about pairing him up with someone to take the song to a whole new place for True Blood?

As it turns out the ex-Animal lives in Ojai. I give him a call,  give him the low down…..and he’s game. YES !

I’ve always loved the voice and style of Jenny Lewis (from Rilo Kiley, Jenny and Johnny, Postal Service). Her collaboration with Elvis Costello on “Carpetbaggers is terrific.

I think her sexy and soulful acid tongue would be a perfect fit. I give her people a call….she likes the idea….she would love to get in the studio with the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

The secret weapon here is producer John Would. We get together at his Stanley Recording Studio in Echo Park and start to lay it down. It takes a bit to get the vibe right in the studio. Eric has never sang this song as a duet. John Would’s  “True Blood” production of the song throws him a little bit as well.

It was a little touch and go at first. Eric wasn’t so sure it would work. He said “I Gotta Get Out of This Place“. But after a few passes it starts coming together as Jenny wraps her soulful vocals around Eric’s gruff sound. Eventually everybody got into a groovy groove and we were having some fun. They nail it!

Let me say, my life and career has been defined by Rock and Roll. To me, the stories about the olden days in Hamburg, London, Memphis, Laurel Canyon and Seattle are downright biblical! As a rock and roll history buff, I am honored that I have the opportunity to bring the old(er) school and the new(er) school together to keep the rock and roll timeline moving along.

Check out the new recording of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and let me know what you think….also on True Blood Vol. 4 is new music from My Morning Jacket, Alabama Shakes, Los Lobos and Deap Vally as well as The Flaming Lips, The Naked and Famous, Warpaint, and Howlin’ Wolf.

The End

Gary Calamar and Eric
Gary Calamar and Eric (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)
Eric, Jenny and Gary Calamar
Eric, Jenny and Gary Calamar (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)