Supergroup Showcase: The Class of ’99

THE PLAYERS: Layne Staley on vocals (Alice In Chains), Tom Morello on guitar (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave), Stephen Perkins on drums (Jane’s Addiction), Martin LeNoble on bass (Porno For Pyros) and Matt Serletic on keyboards (producer).
THE STORY: The band members, a veritable who’s who of 90s rock gods, came together to record Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall Part 1” and “Part 2” for the soundtrack to Robert Rodriguez’s late 90s horror flick The Faculty. Far as I can tell, they only recorded these two songs and were never seen or heard from again as a unit.

While it would take a little over 10 years for me to actually see The Faculty, a movie I wound up really liking (like pretty much every Robert Rodriguez movie I see), I do have very distinct memories from the late 90s of The Class of ’99’s cover of a Pink Floyd tune. I hated it. See, at the time, I had just started getting into Pink Floyd and I was fairly close-minded purist which meant that only Pink Floyd songs by Pink Floyd were acceptable. My buddy Chad was instrumental in getting me further into the band than just the usual Dark Side Of The Moon/The Wall phases that most teenagers interested in classic rock and roll go through (though the live version of The Wall is still one of my favorite records of all time). But that doesn’t mean I don’t remember the video with most of the band footage projected in various places throughout the The Wall movie-inspired high school.

Looking back, I really like their version of the song. It’s very 90s and really worked with the movie, but most of all, I’m filled with a wish that this spectacular assemblage of musicians could have done something more before Staley passed away in 2002, which makes them similar to The Dirty Mac in my mind. It’s kind of interesting that many of the band members would go on to be members of other supergroups. Morello would be in both Audioslave and Street Sweeper Social Club among other projects, Perkins has been in Jane’s Addiction and Porno For Pyros with lots and lots of appearances on other records as has LeNoble. Even Staley was in Mad Season. All of these guys have crazy chops and it would be fun to see them get together again or, better yet, how cool would it be if there happened to be unheard studio tapes of the guys jamming on other songs or having fun in the studio (assuming they were even in the studio all at the same time)? Anyone know any more info about the recording of the tracks? The Wiki page is pretty sparse.

Faculty Advisory

3:32:44 am

Robert Rodriguez is one of those director’s who’s always impressed me. Sin City, From Dusk Till Dawn, Planet Terror and his Mexico Trilogy were all great in my mind. So, when we got our online Blockbuster account I added just about all of his movies, especially looking forward to The Faculty because 15-year-old TJ wasn’t allowed to see it and later TJs never got around to it. Well, the wait was a pretty long one and then, what do you know, we included it in ToyFare’s Best Alien Invasions (see ToyFare #133 on sale today to find out what place it took and who snagged the #1 spot). So, with that, I borrowed the flick and watched it last night.

The Faculty (1998)

Written by Kevin Williamson, David Wechter and Bruce Kimmel

Directed by Robert Rodriguez

Starring Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Usher, Josh Hartnett, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Bebe Neuwirth, Robert Patrick, Jon Stewart and many more

Well, you can add this one to the list of Rodriguez movies that I dug. Part of it was a sense of nostalgia I got while watching it. It kind of reminded me of Can’t Hardly Wait. Not thematically, but when it comes to star power. There are SO MANY familiar faces in this movie. Just check out the list above. Freakin’ Jon Stewart plays a science teacher who gets possessed by an alien parasite and stabbed in the eye with some kind of caffeine drug. Great stuff.

Oh, I guess I should explain the plot. A small town in Ohio gets invaded by alien parasites who burrow their way into bodies, taking over control of the inhabitant. Elija Wood’s character finds one of the parasites on the football field and later finds himself in a closet with the hot girl as they see the football coach (T-1000 himself Robert Patrick) and another teacher drop a parasite in the hot nurse (Salma Hayek). From there a mismatched group of high schoolers (think basically The Breakfast Club. Don’t know what that is? Go away) bands together and figures out that the drugs that Josh Hartnett’s been peddling around the school can kill them and do their best to stop the invasion.

I really like how they don’t muck about when it comes to the story on this flick. You’re into the story pretty early on with Elija Wood finding the parasite. They don’t mess around with “is this really happening” BS too much that comes with these kinds of movies. You get your set group of characters pretty early on and you strap in for the ride with them. I also like that Matt Parkman’s partner from Heroes (Clea DuVall) actually compares what’s going on to Invasion of the Body Snatchers and all that. She tells Elija Wood about this and he wonders if all the movies and whatnot about aliens is actually a way for them to get people complacent so they don’t think an alien invasion is possible. It’s a great bit of business that feels really natural in “our world.”

Speaking of the cast again, it’s a lot of fun to see some pretty huge actors (along with some not-so-huge and completely unknown actors) in these roles. But they’re also really really convincing in their roles. Elija Wood looks like a huge geek and acts like one too. Josh Hartnett’s loser Zeke is pretty much a genius who just doesn’t like school and deals drugs on campus. They all handle the Thing-like suspense of “who’s an alien and who’s not?” so convincingly that I really couldn’t figure out who was and who wasn’t.

I also liked how the special FX (do they still spell it like that? Probably not, oh well) looked. Especially in the scene where the parasite-controlled Jon Stewart attacks the kids in a classroom. Zeke rips the blade off of a paper cutter and chops Stewart’s fingers off. But they don’t just lie there, the snake themselves towards the kids. But that’s not all, whisps of blood snake out from his fingers until he’s stabbed in the eye, foams and the parasites under his skin die. Crazy stuff.

All in all, this is a fun little romp that shows off Rodriguez’s directing chops along with the acting talent of the cast that has gone on to prove itself just as well as the adults who play the teachers. Oh and Bebe Nuerth looks hot as the principal. Yeah, I said it.