Before Avril Lavigne could cover the theme to "SpongeBob SquarePants" for the pineapple-dweller's upcoming movie soundtrack, some changes had to be made.
After all, a girl known for wearing combat boots, spiked jewelry and clothing emblazoned with skulls and crossbones couldn't sing lyrics as silly as "absorbent and yellow and porous is he" with the same sing-songy bounce as the original.
"I made the song a little more edgy," Lavigne said. "It's kind of like the rock version of [the original]. There are a lot of loud guitars, and we picked the tempo up a little and sang it with a little more attitude."
With the help of co-writer and producer Butch Walker, Lavigne rearranged and recorded the TV theme for "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" soundtrack, due Tuesday, during a rare break in the rigorous tour itinerary she's maintained since the May release of Under My Skin. Despite scheduled shows that stretch into December, Lavigne has been making the most of her time offstage.
"I'm constantly writing, coming up with little bits here and there," she explained. "I haven't recorded anything yet, just written stuff on my own whenever I've had time — you know, with my guitar and stuff. After the tour, I'm going to rest for a bit and then get right back into the studio."
While Lavigne put her touch on the "SpongeBob" theme song, the Flaming Lips had the privilege of penning the soundtrack's first single, "SpongeBob and Patrick Confront the Psychic Wall of Energy" (see "Flaming Lips, Wilco, 'Commercial Weirdo' Avril Lavigne Head Up 'SpongeBob' LP"). The band visited Austin, Texas, early last month to shoot the video with director Bradley Beesley.
Unlike all of the director's previous collaborations with the band, including clips for "Do You Realize??" and "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 2," "SpongeBob and Patrick" actually had a treatment and storyboard before shooting commenced. In other words, it was a big deal.
If a Flaming Lips show is any indication, singer Wayne Coyne likes big deals. The video's four scenes mimic scenes from the movie. One finds the band dressed as pirates atop a clipper ship's crow's-nest. Another uses the Lips' infamous giant plastic bubble, which Coyne often employs to walk out onto the crowd at shows, for a bathtub shot overflowing with soap bubbles. But by far the strangest scene is the one with the bandmembers dripping with gelatinous goop.
The viscous fluid is meant to be saliva, and the Flaming Lips perform in a giant mouth — complete with cavity-riddled teeth — dressed as the components of a Crabby Patty, a delicacy featured at SpongeBob's favorite restaurant, the Krusty Krab. Bassist Michael Ivins is a tomato, guitarist Steven Drozd is a piece of mystery meat, drummer Kliph Scurlock is the bun, and Coyne, appropriately, is a big chunk of cheese.
"This borders on absurd," Coyne said, dressed as a giant cheese chunk with goop dripping down his face. "There is a surreal element to it. There's nothing wrong with being playful. People think you have to be either serious or silly, but I think you can be both. This is definitely silly."