Hear & Now

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 Mar 14, 2003 Published in issue #700 Mar 14, 2003 Order article reprints