By Jay Tilles
Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine is fronted by Mark Jonathan Davis, a singer, songwriter and generally witty guy who tours the country playing funny lounge-ified versions of pop, rock and hip-hop currents and classics. So, when Davis got a request for one of his songs to be included Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, he figured it must be some sort of joke. After all, judging by 2013’s Man of Steel, the DC Universe is a pretty dark place. How would the tongue-in-cheek lounge band’s songs fit in this grim movie. And the director at the helm of both films is Zack Snyder, more well known for violence than humor (his other credits include 300 and Watchmen).
Snyder first contacted Davis in 2004 when he was in production on his remake of Dawn of the Dead. The director asked to use Davis’ elevator-music style (but still NSFW) cover of Disturbed’s overtly aggressive “Down with the Sickness.” Davis said it was a surprise, and was a huge opportunity for his band. He also figured it was a one-time shot, unlikely to be repeated. Davis stayed in touch with Snyder over the years, jokingly asking him to include the band in his next film. He relentlessly asked for small parts in his movies.
“What I didn’t really understand is that Zack Snyder really loves our band,” says Davis to Radio.com. In 2008 Snyder wrote an article about Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine for MTV.com, in which he noted that Cheese “Has the ability to look in the pop-culture mirror and see both the good and the bad and, without discriminating, have fun dissecting both.” Still stunned when discussing this today, Davis pauses and says, “I was like, ‘Dude, that is really nice but you need to find some other interests, you know?’”
Davis would send Snyder a Christmas card every year, but didn’t hear anything back. And then, last year he received a call from Warner Bros. saying the director of the Batman Vs. Superman movie wanted to use one of his songs in the movie. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, yes that’s great. Of course, we’d love it!’ And then I had to Google to see who was directing it.” Which is when he realized it was, once again, super fan Zack Snyder.
Davis was stumped. “What song would he want from us? Which one of my songs makes any sense in a Batman Vs. Superman movie?”
It wasn’t until a trip to Snyder’s production office that he learned what his contribution would be. Snyder wanted Davis to record Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” the song made famous by Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. The song would serve as the background music to scene where Clark Kent meets Bruce Wayne at a party thrown by Lex Luthor.
But as if that wasn’t already blowing Davis’ mind, Snyder asked him to record “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” also written by Cole Porter. “I was like, ‘OK, you’re crazy but we’ll do it.’ And so, we did.”
Davis and his Lounge Against The Machine bandmates were invited to a screening of the film last week, and were stunned to when they heard the performance in the film. “When the song came on for the first time, we were just frozen in our chairs—so excited—my immediate response was, ‘Man I wish Bruce Wayne would stop talking to Clark Kent right now so I can hear my song!'”
“It was super surreal and obviously the biggest honor I could ever have—having this amazing director put one of our silly songs in his amazing movie. Up until the movie comes out this weekend I’m still going to assume it’s just a very elaborate prank.”
We’re pretty sure it’s not and Davis would be well advised to stay prepared; Snyder is also going to direct the two upcoming Justice League films (which will feature the characters from Batman V Superman), and he’s producing upcoming films Wonder Woman, The Flash and Aquaman.