Mope Rock Soundtrack Features Nick Drake

The soundtrack to Finn Taylor's (Pontiac Moon) directorial debut, Dreams with the Fishes, is as dark as the black comedy itself. And that's just the way he likes it.

"I wanted this to be like Easy Rider or Harold and Maude, where the music is so integral, where the songs would hit you at a gut level without hitting you over the head," the director told ATN Wednesday.

The Sundance buzz film, which stars David Arquette (Scream) as a suicidal peeping Tom saved from leaping off the Golden Gate Bridge and taken on a drug-fueled road trip by doomed addict Brad Hunt (Mulholland Falls), features a non-stop barrage of bummer tunes from, among others, the late king of mope rock, Nick Drake, who kicks off the soundtrack with the morose tune "River Man" from his 1969 debut, Five Leaves Left.

Also included on the 13-track album are: the Waterboys ("Fisherman's Blues"), Ween ("I'm Holding You"), Squirrel Nut Zippers ("Blue Angel"), Jeremy Toback ("The Word Behind Words"), Tindersticks ("El Diablo en el Ojo"), Jeremy Enigk ("Abegail Anne"), Greg Brown ("Sadness"), Cal Tjader ("Soul Sauce"), Leroy & the Drivers ("The Sad Chicken") and exclusive tracks from Grandaddy ("Why Would I Want To Die"), Chaser ("Billy Away") and Arquette's band, Ear Two Thousand ("Coming Home").

Taylor said that he and the soundtrack's executive producer, Charles Raggio, picked tracks such as Drake's and the Squirrel Nut Zippers' because they wanted the soundtrack to have a timeless feel. "I was inspired by the road movies of the '70s," the 38-year-old Taylor said. "So I wanted to try and create a film that would be a classic, that wouldn't feel dated a year from now, and I wanted the music to feel the same way. The Nick Drake song is a classic, the rest is contemporary stuff you can't put in a box. The Tindersticks' and Squirrel Nut Zippers' songs could have been written a year ago or 40 years ago. The film has tons of humor and laughs. It's dark humor, but very funny as well. I didn't want to go for the Backbeat kind of stuff. I wanted more interesting music."

Taylor said the premise of the road trip film grew out an experience he had years ago with a dying friend. "I had this wild friend who I would travel with and watch him do all these crazy things, like go to New Orleans and make friends with people in live sex shows. He'd invite them back to the house for tea and cookies and end up being invited to join their shows. It was real eye-opening for a suburban kid like me."

Taylor lost track of his friend for a while, hooking back up when he heard the friend was dying. "We were both supposed to be saving money for this trip to Europe, but he didn't and I did and I ended up spending that money helping him live out all these fantasies over his last few weeks."

Some of those fantasies ended up in the film, such as a soon-to-be-classic scene in which the protagonists go nude bowling with a couple of hookers. But Taylor said that while the majority of the fantasies were funded by him, he was "too repressed" to fully participate.

Not surprisingly Taylor said one of the movie's funniest scenes is cued to "I'm Holding You," Ween's retro country contribution. "...The Ween song is on during an acid scene where the characters dose a cop and it works perfectly with the image."

The soundtrack will be released on July 1. The movie, currently showing in New York and Los Angeles, will open in art houses throughout the summer.