Over the course of its five seasons, “True Blood” has consistently been one of the best shows on television not only for fans of vampires but for music fans as well. Each episode is named after a song title, and a number of artists have contributed new recordings to the show. Every week during season six, Radio.com will check in with “True Blood” Music Supervisor Gary Calamar, who has been nominated for GRAMMYs twice for his work on the show. To see previous recaps, go here.
This week’s episode –“You’re No Good” — featured a new take on a classic song (which inspired the episode’s title) as well as a newer bit of music.
A new storyline this season is that of the Vampire Unity Society, an organization of humans trying to open a dialog in order to prevent a human/non-human war. Previously, co-founder Nicole Wright tried to get Sam to “come out” of the closet as a shape-shifter. No big spoilers here, but the organization — who seem a bit conflicted about their goals — drove up to Alcide and the wolf pack’s compound (where the frequently shirtless pack leader has had tensions with his self-described “No. 1 Bitch,” Rikki, pictured). The VUS were listening to industrial-sounding music on their car stereo. “The song they were playing in the car was ‘7 Discos Of The World’ from a great Bay Area band called L’Avventura,” Calamar told Radio.com.
The San Francisco group has been around since the mid-2000s, and previously contributed a cover of the Zombies’ “She’s Not There” to an episode in season four.
“They write amazing songs and have a super cool sound,” Calamar said. But, more importantly, “We wanted something that these hipsters would be listening to on their quest for werewolves.”
The episode’s title track ended up being the classic song written by Clint Ballard Jr., as well as a hit for Betty Everett in 1963, a No. 1 for Linda Ronstadt in 1975, and eventually covered by Van Halen. Another option Calamar looked at was a more recent song of the same name, by Major Lazer.
“I had heard the Major Lazer track and I got very excited to use a brand new song,” he said, “but alas it wasn’t working for the episode.”
Calamar continued: “I believe it was producer Brian Buckner that suggested this classic song after we all watched the episode in a spotting session. Everybody loved the idea and I went on a hunt for the right version for the show. We checked out the Van Halen and Linda Ronstadt versions. I loved the original Betty Everett version very much, but we ended up choosing a super cool garage version from the French band the Plastiscines. It’s great! We had used another one of their songs, “Bitch,” in season five. I seem to have a soft spot for the young female garage rockers. In the past we’ve used the Runaways and Care Bears on Fire.”
When we checked in with Calamar, he also offered a rare preview into next week’s True Blood: “In episode four, we also have a great girl garage duo from Los Angeles, called Deap Vally. Their song “(She’s A) Wanderer” is on our new True Blood Soundtrack (Vol. 4). They are wild!”
Next week’s episode is called “At Last.” Could it be the classic made iconic by Etta James? With True Blood, you never can be sure if they’ll go for the obvious.