Swinging Through Gotham: Richard Cheese Lounges Up The LEGO Batman Movie

Swinging Through Gotham: Richard Cheese Lounges Up The LEGO...

By Tim Beedle Monday, May 22nd, 2017

What's it like lounging with LEGO Batman? Soundtrack contributor Richard Cheese lets us know just that...and gives us our first listen of a never-before-heard version of "Everything is Awesome." Cheers!

Penguin isn’t the only person who’s bringing the lounge to Gotham City.

The LEGO Batman Movie is now available on Digital HD, which along with giving you an opportunity to catch all of the great gags you may have missed in theaters—and trust us, there’s bound to be a few—also offers up a chance to savor the movie’s sensational soundtrack. We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but our little plastic hero has some pretty good taste in music. It’s only natural that the official motion picture soundtrack reflects this, which it does splendidly from the zonkers rap rocking of Patrick Stump’s “Who’s the (Bat)Man” to the hilarious use of classic songs like Harry Nilsson’s “One” and Cutting Crew’s “(I Just) Died in Your Arms.”

One contributor who should absolutely not be overlooked is Richard Cheese and his always affable band, Lounge Against the Machine. A lively performer known for his loungey takes on alternative, rap and hard rock songs, Cheese contributed two songs to the LEGO Batman Movie soundtrack and made an appearance alongside his band in the film. Even better, LEGO Batman isn’t the only member of the DC family you’ll find in Cheese’s fanbase as we discovered when we spoke to him recently over cocktails and canapés in the Iceberg Lounge.

Do you think LEGO Batman would be much of a Richard Cheese & Lounge Against The Machine fan? The guy seems to be really into dark, heavy rock. Like, REALLY into it.

Not only is LEGO Batman a fan of our lounge music, but he and I are best buds! I even loaned him my tiger-striped tuxedo jacket, which you can see him wearing in The LEGO Batman Movie when he’s getting dressed for the Gotham Winter Gala!

The LEGO Batman Movie is actually the second DC film you contributed songs to. I hear you also had music in Batman v Superman. What were the songs and how did that come about?

Well, it turns out that director Zack Snyder has been a fan of Richard Cheese & Lounge Against The Machine for many years. In 2004, he was kind enough to use our lounge version of the song “Get Down With the Sickness” in his movie Dawn of the Dead.

So, when he was working on 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I assume he said, “Well, every movie I do with the word ‘Dawn’ in the title needs to have a Richard Cheese song in it!!”

He had me and my band record a swing version of the Cole Porter song “Night And Day,” which you can hear in the background of the cocktail party scene where Clark Kent meets Bruce Wayne for the first time. And then later in the film, when Lois Lane is kidnapped by KGBeast (Anatoli Knyazev), you can hear me singing another Cole Porter tune, “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.” By the way, there’s a callback reference to that song title in a later scene when KGBeast threatens Martha Kent!

It was such a blast to be a part of the BvS movie, and Zack Snyder has been so supportive of our Richard Cheese & Lounge Against The Machine band. In fact, my band entertained at his 50th birthday party in Los Angeles last year, and when they brought out the cake, I sang “Get Down With the Zackness” to him!

A few people have asked me if any Richard Cheese songs will be in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Justice League movie, but alas, that movie doesn’t have the word “Dawn” in the title, so not this time!

I obviously can’t say this with authority, but I’m guessing you never recorded music for LEGO bricks and minifigures before The LEGO Batman Movie. Do you think they appreciate a good, smooth sound like yours? Especially considering how bumpy the toys are?

When we were working on our recording of “Man in the Mirror” for The LEGO Batman Movie, we just figured the track would be heard in the background of a scene. But when we found out that the movie was going to have LEGO minifigs of us (above), we all just flipped our flapjacks. Like everyone, I played with LEGOs as a kid, so this was a real thrill. Even though we’re on screen for only a couple seconds, seeing ourselves as LEGOs was easily the coolest and most surreal thing that’s ever happened to our Richard Cheese & Lounge Against The Machine band. They even made a LEGO grand piano for my pianist Bobby Ricotta! JAZZED!!!

By the way, the animators had the Richard Cheese minifig dancing across the stage, and now at our live concerts, people in our audiences are surprised that my legs have knees.

Let’s talk about your recording of “Man in the Mirror” for a moment. Or rather, let’s speculate on who would win in a dance off between Michael Jackson and LEGO Batman. Any thoughts?

I’d rather see Wonder Woman in a dance off with Poison Ivy!

The official soundtrack album also includes your great instrumental take on “Everything is Awesome,” but you also recorded a version with vocals. Do you know why they went with the instrumental version instead?

Well, when Warner Bros. asked us to do “Man in the Mirror” for The Lego Batman Movie, I thought it would also be fun to sing a swingin’ lounge version of “Everything Is Awesome,” which was the big song in The Lego Movie. So we went into the studio and we just recorded “Everything Is Awesome” for kicks. I sent it over to the filmmakers because I thought they might dig it. Then, much to our surprise, they said, “Wow, maybe we should try to sneak this into The Lego Batman Movie somewhere!”

So, we talked about it and we ended up recording a new instrumental “elevator music” version of the song, which you can hear playing inside the Arkham Asylum elevator while Harley Quinn is stealing the Phantom Zone Projector from the guards. You can only hear it in the movie for a few seconds, but you can hear the glorious full-length version on The LEGO Batman Movie Original Motion Picture Soundtrack!

Meanwhile, our swing band version of “Everything Is Awesome” wasn’t used in The Lego Batman Movie—but I think you’re going to post a link right here so DC fans can hear it for the first time right now!!! And, we might be including it as a bonus track on our forthcoming new album, “Licensed To Spill” which will be released this summer at richardcheese.com.

Now that people can finally hear the vocal version, is everything, in fact, awesome?

In fact, everything is fabulous, stupendous, marvelous, swingin’, and swankified! We are so lucky and grateful to be a part of the DC Universe!

So, which DC super hero or villain would you say is the “loungiest”? I feel like Catwoman probably knows her way around a martini…

Well, Bruce Wayne sure knows how to throw a party, I could see us being the house band at Wayne Manor.

You know who’d be a great bartender? The Flash. Instantaneous drink refills.

I feel sorry for Aquaman, all his cocktails are made with seawater. And I don’t even think Cyborg can get drunk, can he? Maybe he could spike his rum with WD40…

But yeah, I’d love to have a drink with Catwoman. And Supergirl. And Lois Lane. Meet me at the Iceberg Lounge, ladies!

Finally, Batman’s arch enemy is the Joker (or is it Snake Clowns?). What would you say Richard Cheese’s biggest nemesis is?

My bar tab.

Be sure to grab the LEGO Batman Movie Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, which is now available in a limited edition color vinyl edition. Click here to check it out or purchase it.

Of course, the standard edition is also still available, and don’t forget to buy The LEGO Batman Movie on Digital HD!

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