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Danny Elfman on Tim Burton, Gus Van Sant, and why it's so hard to sing in Russian: An EW Q&A

Ever since he first laid down tracks for Tim Burton’s Pee Wee’s Big Adventure 25 years ago, composer (and erstwhile ’80s rock star) Danny Elfman has crafted scores for dozens of iconic films and television shows.

You can scarcely swing a cat without bumping up against an Elfman creation, be it the opening songs from The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives to now-legendary themes for flicks like Batman and Spider-Man.

You’ll get to hear him again in some of the biggest movies on the horizon, including Real Steel, Men In Black III and The Hunger Games, and if you’re interested in his past work, he recently released a 16 disc retrospective box set of his collaborations with Tim Burton. This week, he also just opened Cirque Du Soleil: Iris in Los Angeles. EW caught up with him recently, and he told us his memories from some of his favorite projects.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
“If I were to list my favorite collaborations with Tim [Burton], I would say number one would be The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was the purest, simplest process I had in all the years with Tim. There was less pressure, and the results came from the ability to kind of wander. We didn’t know how to start doing a musical; there was an animation crew ready to go and there was no script. So we started with the songs. And literally, he’d come over and start telling me the story.

I said, ‘Just tell me the story like you’re reading a book to a kid.’ So he’d take out some pictures and tell a little bit of the story, and as he was telling the story, I’d start to hear an idea for a song. Usually about three days later, I’d play him the song, and then he would tell me more of the story. Ten times we got together, he told me a story and I wrote the songs. When I was writing lyrics for [Oingo Boingo], I would write about abstract things or things that annoyed me. I could be bitter or facetious about something. I had never written anything where I told a story and wasn’t sarcastic in the process. It was a new experience writing lyrics for songs that were doing a complete narrative.” READ FULL STORY

Rob Zombie Q&A: Rocker and filmmaker talks Slayer tour, new movie, and the legend of Mick Jagger

Two nights ago, Rob Zombie turned the summertime volume up to 11 by kicking off his co-headlining tour with shred legends Slayer in Reading, Pennsylvania.

But the multi-talented Zombie has quite a few tentacles in a number of different pies at the moment, so when we caught up with him a few weeks ago, he ran down the seemingly ever-growing list of projects he’s currently advancing.

Entertainment Weekly: The last time we talked, you were also working on a tour and getting movie stuff together at the same time. Can we safely call you a workaholic?
Rob Zombie: I like to have a lot of projects going at once because I work in a very kind of schizophrenic manner. So if I ever get stuck on something, I can just to the next thing and the next thing. It’s kind of a blessing and a curse because at the same time, I hate working that way. I’m like “Boy, if I could just focus on one thing…” but then I’m always afraid if you’re only focusing on one thing and if the one thing falls apart, you’re like “Now what?” It’s sort of a paranoia.

You’ve played with Slayer before in the past, going back to the White Zombie days. Were you a fan before you worked with them?
I was a fan before we opened but not for long time. I was never a crazy metal fan. I saw them at the Felt Forum in New York on one of the early shows on the South of Heaven tour. That’s when I really was blown away by the show and the insane intensity of the whole thing.

Is it inspiring to you that they can still put out that kind of energy all these years later?
It’s not really inspiring to me because we’re all the same age. So I’m not inspired by that. I’m inspired if I watch the Rolling Stones. I think, “Holy f—, Mick Jagger is almost 70 and look at the energy that guy’s got.”

Is that going to be you? Will we be able to see you live at 70?
Who knows? I mean, there’s very few people that have that. Probably not, because when I’m together with all the guys from Slayer, everybody’s  just sitting around talking about how much their necks hurt. Mick Jagger is just possessed. People take for granted that they don’t even understand how great it is sometimes. Like when the Stones played the Super Bowl and everyone complained about it. Give me a f—ing break! You work that f—ing stage the size of a football field when you’re 66 years old, and we’ll see if you come out alive. It’s a phenomenon. READ FULL STORY

'God Bless Ozzy Osbourne': Check out an exclusive clip from the new rock doc and interview with director Mike Fleiss

ozzy_ozbourne_212.jpg

Mike Fleiss has one of Hollywood’s more unusual résumés.

The producer is best known for bringing us the boy(s)-meets-girl(s) reality shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but he has also overseen a string of boys-and-girls-get-butchered horror movies, including Eli Roth’s two Hostel films, the rather nifty 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, and the forthcoming Shark Night 3D. Fleiss has now added another string to his bow — or, arguably, lashed the other two together — by co-directing God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, a new documentary about the reality show star and infamous, bat-molesting, Black Sabbath-fronting metal icon.

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Cameron Crowe's Pearl Jam documentary: Watch the teaser here, and learn how they chose their name

Pearl Jam have been close with director Cameron Crowe for years (they even appeared in his 1992 movie Singles), and as part of their year-long 20th anniversary celebration—which also includes the release of deluxe reissues of Vs. and Vitalogy—Crowe is releasing a long-in-the-works documentary.

The short trailer for PJ20 (which you can watch after the jump) features vintage archival footage of the group discussing how they just changed their name to Pearl Jam. Originally, the group was called Mookie Blaylock, after a former NBA point guard (there’s even a shot of a marquee that touts Mookie Blaylock as the opening act for Alice In Chains).Legal issues forced them to change the name to Pearl Jam, and they’ve run with it ever since.

There’s a lot of terrible early ’90s fashion and plenty of goofing around in a van, which means that the film itself, scheduled to get released later this year, should reveal a lot about one of the most interesting and enduring bands in the world. Check out the brief teaser for yourself.

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'God Bless Ozzy Osbourne': New documentary presents the life, art, and addiction of the metal madman

God Bless Ozzy Osbourne, a documentary about the life and times of the Prince of Darkness, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this Sunday.

What could have been a glossy, fawning tribute to the most visible face in heavy metal music history—especially considering it was co-produced by his son, Jack—actually turned out to be a remarkably evenhanded look at Ozzy’s monumental musical influence as well as his less exemplary life as an addict and often-absent father.

The rock doc starts with Osbourne’s poor childhood in the cramped quarters of inner-city Birmingham, England, and goes up to his long-sought sobriety following the end of the water-cooler fodder reality series The Osbournes.

In Ozzy’s own words, “nothing really happened” in his life until he first heard the Beatles. “It was like someone had turned the world on to me,” said the Ozzman regarding his first exposure to “She Loves You.” “I knew I was going to be a rock star the rest of my life.” (Speaking of Beatles, Sir Paul is one of the numerous interviewees paying tribute to Ozzy’s impact). READ FULL STORY

Elton John premieres Cameron Crowe-directed music doc starring himself and Leon Russell, plays the hits at Tribeca Film Festival

Surrounded by the after-hours glow of Lower Manhattan skyscrapers and buffeted by winds rolling in off of New York Harbor, Elton John wrapped up the opening night of the tenth annual Tribeca Film Festival with performances of such evergreen Elton classics as “Tiny Dancer,” “Rocket Man” and “Your Song.”

His solo piano performance followed the world premiere of Cameron Crowe’s The Union, a music documentary that followed Sir John and legendary rock pianist Leon Russell as the two Rock Hall of Famers recorded an album together last year.

The Union turned out to be a pleasantly affecting surprise. What could have merely been a music doc about two aging rockers recording a late-career album was instead a heartfelt, decades-belated love letter from Elton John to his early career idol and one of his greatest influences, Leon Russell. Plus, it was fun to watch the flick sitting behind a group that included the uncommonly talented actors Anna Kendrick (Twilight, Up in the Air), Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood), and Zoe Kazan (It’s Complicated). Kendrick’s eyes were glued to the screen while Dano and Kazan were smoochily glued to each other—that’s what the PortaPotties are there for, you crazy kids!) READ FULL STORY

Dave Grohl Q&A: The Foo Fighters frontman talks about the new Foos album, saying no to 'Glee,' and playing 'Smells LIke Teen Spirit' for the first time in 18 years

On Tuesday, the Foo Fighters released their seventh CD, Wasting Light, and recently debuted a new documentary, Back and Forth, tracking the band’s tumultuous 17-year-long history.

And let’s not forget that this August will mark 20 years since the release of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the song that signaled a seismic shift in modern music—and made megastars of Grohl’s previous band, Nirvana.

All of which seems to have left Grohl, 42, feeling a tad, well, old. “It’s weird when there’s a kid on the bill who comes up and says, ‘Your band was my first concert,’” he muses. “You just think, ‘Oh no. I’m that guy, now? What am I, f—ing Gandalf?’”

In truth, few people would confuse the Foos overlord for the Lord of the Rings wizard. Apart from anything else, Gandalf doesn’t drop the F-bomb nearly as much as Grohl who, after the jump, foul-mouthedly talks about Wasting Light, Back and Forth, and what it was like to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for the first time in 18 years.

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Beastie Boys drop star-studded trailer for 'Fight For Your Right Revisited': Watch Will Ferrell, Jack Black, Seth Rogen and more here

Apparently, it’s National Beastie Boys Day on the Internet.

Not only did the online universe get to hear a brand new track from the trio’s forthcoming album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, but they also unleashed the cameo-riffic trailer for their new short film Fight For Your Right Revisited. Check it out here (though you might want to wear headphones, as there are a few bad words):

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Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig covers Paul Simon's 'Papa Hobo': Hear it here

Vampire Weekend have heard the Paul Simon comparisons one or two thousand times before, so it makes sense that frontman Ezra Koenig would record a version “Papa Hobo,” from Simon’s self-titled 1972 solo album. Give it a listen here:

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Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins on new Foos documentary : 'I wish we wouldn't put that f--ing movie out'

Foo-Fighters

Foo Fighters recently unveiled the documentary Back and Forth at South By Southwest, and though it met with general acclaim, one person isn’t a fan: Foos drummer Taylor Hawkins.

“I wish we wouldn’t put that f—ing movie out,” said Hawkins to NME of the film, which openly chronicles his battles with drug addiction and the band’s brushes with near-dissolution. “I’m not really comfortable with the public sort of openness.”

Take a look at the trailer:

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