Garbage Give Ramones Electro Sheen While Manson Moans, Marches

Metallica, U2, Eddie Vedder also on We're a Happy Family, due in February.

About the only thing Eddie Vedder, Metallica, U2 and Tom Waits have in common is that they’re all fans of the Ramones and they’re all featured on We’re a Happy Family: A Tribute to the Ramones.

The disc, due in February, was spearheaded by Rob Zombie and features a variety of acts playing songs by the legendary New York punk band (see “Rob Zombie Finalizes Ramones Tribute With Last-Minute Adds” ). Since the pioneering group relied on three-chord riffs and basic instrument skills, it’s not hard to cover the Ramones, but it’s hard to cover the Ramones well.

Many of the covers on We’re a Happy Family are pretty faithful to the originals. Offspring’s “I Wanna Be Sedated” could almost be mistaken for the Ramones themselves. While the band is a tad tighter than the Ramones typically were, vocalist Dexter Holland sings in a voice that sounds remarkably like Joey Ramone.

Similarly, Rancid’s bombastic “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” is reverentially delivered with the speed and power of a blender on “puree,” and Green Day cleanly blast through “Outsider,” demonstrating they have a grasp for both East Coast and West Coast punk.

Though U2 vocalist Bono sings “Beat on the Brat” in a tender, lovestruck voice, his bandmates tear into the cut with vigor and ferocity. And while Garbage give “I Just Wanna Have Something to Do” a modern electro sheen, they perform the song in a way that’s instantly recognizable.

Not surprisingly, singer/songwriter Pete Yorn plays “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” with passion and sensitivity; surprisingly he rocks it up to the point where it’s just as powerful as Metallica’s version of “53rd & 3rd.”

Other songs on the record bear a less direct resemblance to the Ramones. “Red Hot Chili Peppers” turn “Havana Affair” into a pepper pot of scribbley guitar, meandering basslines and Anthony Kiedis’ distinctive vocals. Rob Zombie reconfigures “Blitzkrieg Bop” into a churning beast of effects and lunging guitars.

Marilyn Manson’s neo-gothic take on “KKK Took My Baby Away” is even more extreme, filled with breathy, moaning vocals, industrial percussion and an effect that sounds like a synchronized military march.

However, the winner of the most unusual Ramones interpretation is Tom Waits, who along with Primus’ Les Claypool converts “Return of Jackie and Judy” into a ramshackle, twisted blues rocker with cigarette-scarred vocals.

Eddie Vedder and punk band Zeke contributed two songs to the album — a melodic but pounding version of “I Believe in Miracles” and a room-shaking rendition of “Daytime Dilemma (Dangers of Love).”

Other acts with songs on We’re a Happy Family are the Pretenders, Kiss and Rooney