Remembering when Nick Cave and Neko Case covered The Zombies’ song ‘She’s Not There’
We’re taking a trip back into the Far Out Magazine vault to dig out an absolute gem of a cover track; ‘She’s Not There’ by Nick Cave and Neko Case.
The Zombies classic, originally released in 1964, was written by keyboardist and vocalist Rod Argent who, at the time, had taken inspiration from John Lee Hooker song ‘No One Told Me’. “I wrote the song for Colin’s range,” Argent once said of the song in reference to lead singer Colin Blunstone. “I could hear him singing it in my mind,” he added.
It turns out that Gary Calamar, the music supervisor for hit HBO TV show True Blood had a similar brainstorm, this time though it was to combine the voices of Nick Cave and Neko Case for the song. For background information, dark fantasy and the supernatural TV show True Blood have a method of naming each of the episodes after a song which is featured in that episode.
When Calamar was handed a script for the fourth season-opening episode, he quickly realised that writer Alexander Woo had opted for a Zombies inclusion. After initially discussing the option of using the Santana version of the song, Calamar and his team instead opted for a more ambitious approach: “I thought well, we’ve got some time. Why don’t we try and produce a new, fresh version of this classic and make it our own? Let’s have some fun with this — Bon Temps Louisiana Style,” he wrote in an article for KCRW. “CC Adcock laid down his arrangement of the track along with his Louisiana pals Jon Cleary on piano and Keith Frank on bass and accordion,” he added.
While names such as Florence and The Machine, Dr. John and The Kills remained at the top of their wishlist, scheduling conflicts required the music department of the show to be a little more creative in their selection. After learning that Neko Case of The New Pornographers was a big fan of the show, Calamar was able to recruit the singer and, after searching his CD collection, set his mind on Nick Cave to complete the duet.
“Neko sang her part in a small studio in Seattle. Sounded brilliant,” Calamar explained. “As it turns out Mr. Cave was coming to Los Angeles with his family for a vacation. In between trips with his kids to Universal Studios and Disneyland, we got him down to the Redstar Studio in Silverlake to top off the track with his haunting, cavernous vocals.”