The soundtrack of Tarantino’s mind

Special to The Times

For a lot of movie fans, it’s impossible to hear the 1973 Stealers Wheel hit “Stuck in the Middle With You” without thinking about Michael Madsen slicing off Kirk Baltz’s ear in “Reservoir Dogs.”

For many, it’s also impossible to hear Dick Dale’s surf instrumental “Miserlou” without picturing Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer knocking over a restaurant in “Pulp Fiction.”

Quentin Tarantino hopes the same phenomenon will apply to Nancy Sinatra’s singing “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” coupled with an image of Thurman, in full bridal regalia, lying wounded in a church.

That’s the opening scene of “Kill Bill Part 1,” Tarantino’s first movie in six years. The East-meets-West ninja revenge tale opens Oct. 10.


“I think you’ll have a hard time hearing that after seeing the movie and not thinking about the bride lying in the church,” says the writer-director. “It’s the opening credits. That was in my head six years ago when I first came up with ‘Kill Bill.’ Along with the whole story, I came up with the idea of using that with the opening credits.

“One of the things I do when first thinking about a movie is I go into my record collection and listen and need to find the opening credit sequence, music the movie will work to the beat of.”

That passion extends to the soundtrack albums for the films. With 1992’s “Reservoir Dogs” and even more with 1994’s “Pulp Fiction,” he set standards for dizzying mixes of musical styles and pop culture evocations, woven with bits of movie dialogue -- a now common practice. He continued that approach with the ‘70s funk- powered “Jackie Brown” in 1997.

For this one, with the album due Sept. 23 from Maverick Records, he built the soundtrack around other soundtrack recordings drawn largely from his own collection, which he’s been building since childhood.


“In this album I’m using soundtrack cuts the way I used surf music in ‘Pulp Fiction,’ ” he says, taking a short break from a deadline editing session.

Those cuts range from a “Twisted Nerve” cue by composer Bernard Herrmann to Al Hirt playing Billy May’s “Green Hornet” TV theme to “The Flower of Carnage,” from an obscure ‘70s Japanese kung fu movie, “Lady Slow Blood.”

“That’s by Meiko Kaji,” he says. “She was a huge star in Japan in the ‘70s, doing ... revenge female action movies. She even wrote the lyrics and sang it, so it’s cool for her to give benediction to Uma Thurman’s carnage.”

Helping Tarantino find selections was hip-hop producer RZA, who shares the filmmaker’s mania for oddball movie music, especially kung fu soundtracks.

RZA also wrote and performed “The Ode to Oren Ishii,” a narrative summarizing the plot. The first original song ever in a Tarantino project, it will be on the soundtrack album but not in the movie itself, unless the director tags it onto the closing credits.

Other tracks include Santa Esmerelda’s 1977 Latin-disco version of the Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “The Lonely Shepherd” by Romanian pan-flutist Zamfir,-- a track brought in at the last minute by RZA after he heard it while eating at a Thai restaurant.

Part 2 of the film and a second soundtrack album will be released next year, though Tarantino wouldn’t tip his hand as to what we’ll be hearing then.

Those booos aren’t aimed at Bruuuce


The roar hasn’t died down entirely from Bruce Springsteen’s Aug. 17 concert at Dodger Stadium, but it’s not fans shouting “Bruuuce.” It’s some saying “booo” for the jacked-up parking and concessions prices they found on site.

Parking in the stadium lot was $20 rather than the $8 charged for Dodgers games, and beer ($8) and small sodas ($4.50) were both a dollar more than during baseball, rendering the relatively reasonable (by the current concert market) face-value ticket price of $75 less of a bargain and drawing numerous complaints to The Times.

Don’t blame the Boss, and don’t blame concert promoter Clear Channel, neither of whom set the prices for nor shared in revenues from parking and concessions. That responsibility falls on Dodgers ownership, which attributes the increases to the higher cost of preparing the stadium for concert use and then returning it quickly to baseball readiness, as well as increased security and longer employee shifts, all paid for by the Dodgers.

Derrick Hall, senior vice president of communications for the club, says that it has been standard to raise parking and concessions prices for nonbaseball events but that this markup was the highest ever.

“The field alone costs the Dodgers $80,000 to cover,” Hall says, noting that the team was paid a rental fee for the show but took no share of ticket sales. “The Yankees turned down Springsteen because they wanted to keep the field in shape. We wanted to do both. One thing we could have done and will look at in the future is adding public transportation options.”

Small faces

* Bow Wow Wow’s reunion for the Inland Invasion sponsored by KROQ-FM (106.7) Sept. 20 at the Glen Helen Hyundai Pavilion will feature a special guest manning the drums: No Doubt’s Adrian Young will fill in for original member Dave Barbarossa, who had a prior commitment. Guitarist Leigh Gorman has been working with Young to teach him the Burundi-derived techniques that are core to the band’s sound.

* Mirroring Led Zeppelin’s recent release of its first-ever concert DVD and accompanying live album, Atlantic Records label mate Rush will release its first concert DVD set, “Rush in Rio,” with 28 songs shot live last year in Brazil. Due Oct. 21, the set will include bonus features, including a 45-minute documentary and multiple-camera viewing options. The DVD will be released through Rounder Records, while Atlantic will on the same day issue a three-CD live album from the Rio show.