Music

Hear & Now

This week on the music beat

– ‘BRICK’ LAYERS They’re the strangest of bedfellows, but kitsch-rocker Rob Zombie and ’80s R&B idol Lionel Richie recently recorded a duet of the Commodores’ ”Brick House,” the 1977 paean to pneumatic hotties. ”I love all of the music from [the ’70s], whether it was Black Sabbath or Captain & Tennille,” says Zombie. (Are you sure you want that in print, buddy?) The snazzy update – which will appear in his bloody directorial debut, House of 1000 Corpses, hitting theaters in April – doesn’t forsake any of the modern-day wedding-reception staple’s playful elements, but there is one addition: Rap diva Trina recorded a ribald interlude at Richie’s suggestion. ”We knew we needed someone who was mean and nasty and dirty,” says Zombie. ”And that’s where Trina came in.” A la Moulin Rouge’s sleazy rehash of ”Lady Marmalade,” Zombie plans to bring his ”House” to radio. ”There’s a freak-show element to it,” he explains. ”It is so ridiculous, and Lionel knows it too. It’s so wrong that it ends up being so right.” – Nicholas Fonseca

– NAME CHECK Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, and Ben Lee have teamed up to form a supergroup called, appropriately enough, the Bens. ”We’re trying to cash in on that whole the Strokes, the Vines, the Hives…” jokes Lee. The trio has recorded a four-song EP and is touring Australia this spring. A full-length album and U.S. tour will likely follow. ”At first I was a little skeptical, because you don’t see this kind of thing too often,” Lee says. ”You see it a lot more in the hip-hop world. But once we started throwing ideas around, it felt like the right thing.” The band – which plans to take the stage to the strains of ”It’s All About the Benjamins” – will perform original songs by all three members, with Kweller manning the drums and Lee playing bass. According to Lee, the music touches on everything from Gary Numan-ish new wave to traditional indie rock. ”We’re gonna take this Bens thing to a place it’s never been taken before,” says Lee. ”Which is pretty easy.”

Originally posted March 14 2003 — 12:00 AM EST

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