By Brian Ives
Photo credit: John P. Johnson/HBO

(John P. Johnson/HBO)

Over the course of its six completed 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, has spoken with True Blood Music Supervisor Gary Calamar, who has been nominated for GRAMMYs twice for his work on the show.

This week’s episode started with the newly-freed vampires high on sunlight. Thanks to a blood transfusion from Bill last week, they now are able to walk in the daylight! During the first-ever daytime vampire picnic, Jessica and her new vampire lover, James, took on Jason Stackhouse and his vampire keeper, Violet, in volleyball while the Breeders‘ “Cannonball” played in the background. But Kim Deal and co.’s most well-known song almost didn’t make the cut; in fact, she just beat out Kenny Loggins.

No, really.

“We initially toyed with the idea of using Kenny Loggins’ ‘Playing With The Boys’ in a little Top Gun homage,” Calamar told, referencing a beach volleyball scene in the classic ’80s flick. “Cute idea, but ultimately we went with ‘Cannonball’ to show the joy and elation in in our characters playing volleyball in the sunlight.”

Jason Stackhouse probably would have been a lot more comfortable with Maverick and Iceman than with Violet (see her sinking her claws into him in the above photo). It’s not hard to imagine Jason in this scene.

Jason has certainly seen better days. While he’s Violet’s boy toy and food source for life, his former friend-with-benefits Jessica seems unable to help him out, and has moved on to James, who this week showed off his frontman skills in a bar band. Performing at “The Bar Formerly Known As Merlotte’s,” James sings a number of songs from the L.A. band Paper Pilots (you can hear the originals on the band’s official website — the songs he covers are “Lackadaisical,” “Balancing The Blacklight” and “Romancing Glares”).  For the episode, the songs were remixed with vocals from Luke Grimes, who plays James and is a musician in real life.

True Blood has traditionally veered away from the current pop charts, but for this week’s title song, “Radioactive,” they went with Imagine Dragons. While artists from Jimmy Page’s old band the Firm to Rita Ora to Kings of Leon all have songs by that name, Calamar says that a lot of thought was put into what song would end season six.

“We tried many things for the final song of season six,” he said. “We were looking for something with an apocalyptic theme that could leave us hanging and questioning the fate of our characters in season seven. We tried everything from Nine Inch Nails to Radiohead, but this Imagine Dragons track nailed it for us both lyrically and musically. It’s also great that we can use a song that is currently climbing the charts and very hot right now.”

And so, with many questions lingering, that ends True Blood‘s sixth season. Will Sookie stay with Alcide? What will happen to Eric? And of course, what music will soundtrack the lives of our favorite characters–human and otherwise–from Bon Temps?


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