The upcoming soundtrack to the late comedian Andy Kaufman's biographical
film "Man on the Moon" will represent a number of firsts for arty
In addition to being the veteran band's first score for a film, the
soundtrack will feature the rockers collaborating with the movie's star,
comedian Jim Carrey, who will join singer Michael Stipe on the song "This
"Because most of the stuff we did was instrumental, the onus was really
on [bassist] Mike [Mills] and [guitarist] Peter [Buck] instead of me for
once," Stipe said with a laugh while recording the album earlier this year.
"I'm more like an ancillary conductor sitting on the sideline, saying
stuff like, 'That's too jolly, let's do more of a Keystone Kops thing
here.' That's the kind of direction I give."
Man on the Moon, starring Carrey as the late comedian and Hole
singer Courtney Love as his girlfriend, is due to hit theaters Dec. 25.
Kaufman (19491984), best known for playing mechanic Latka Gravas
on the sitcom "Taxi," was an envelope-pushing comedian controversial for
his bizarre stunts, such as wrestling women on TV. His comedy was so
avant-garde that many fans suspected his death from lung cancer
he didn't smoke was a hoax.
The 15-track score album hits stores a month earlier, on Nov. 23. The
film was directed by Milos Forman ("The People vs. Larry Flynt").
Although Stipe said Buck and Mills mostly ran the ship during the album's
recording, the singer will have his chance to shine not only on the first
single, "The Great Beyond," but on a duet with Carrey. The unlikely pair
share a microphone on the song "This Friendly World," according to a
source close to the project who requested anonymity.
"The Great Beyond" will go to radio Nov. 9, according to the source. The
album was produced by frequent R.E.M. collaborator Pat McCarthy.
In addition to the duet with Stipe, Carrey takes the microphone for the
songs "One Last Song For You" and a version of Gloria Gaynor's 1978 disco
anthem "I Will Survive" as one of Kaufman's alter egos, lounge singer
Tony Clifton. Carrey also appears on the album doing a skit from the
The record contains two versions of the title song: the original
excerpt), from R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People (1992),
and an orchestral version. The five score pieces on the album are: "Tony
Thrown Out," "Miracle," "Lynn & Andy," "Andy Gets Fired" and "Milk &
For Buck, writing instrumental music posed demands that were different,
but not more difficult than writing traditional songs.
"It's just a matter of re-thinking your priorities," he said. "We're real
persnickety and it's ... so mathematical. I didn't realize we would be
getting all these cues that we have to hit second by second to sync up
with the action."
Stipe has an active role outside R.E.M. in his two film-production companies,
which have produced such critically acclaimed films as "Being John
Malkovich" and last year's glam-rock movie "Velvet Goldmine." Buck has
recorded two albums of music he has described as "soundtracks to films
that haven't been made" with his instrumental side band, Tuatara.
R.E.M. released their most experimental album, Up, in
October 1998. The 11th studio album in their 17-year career, it features
a number of tracks with drum machines and psychedelic touches. It also
includes the first lyric sheet ever to appear in one of the band's albums.
Up was their first effort following the 1997 departure of drummer
Bill Berry, a founding member.
The full track listing for "Man on the Moon" is: "Mighty Mouse Theme,"
"The Great Beyond," "Kiss You All Over" (by Exile), "Angela (Taxi Theme),"
"Tony Thrown Out," "Man on the Moon (Original)," "This Friendly World,"
"Miracle," "Lynn & Andy," "Rosemarie," "Andy Gets Fired," "I Will Survive,"
"Milk & Cookies," "Man on the Moon" and "One Last Song for You."