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Why Avatar covered a song from South Park

Talking to Avatar frontman Johannes Eckerström about the band's decision to cover a song popularised by South Park

The music in South Park is paramount to its success. From Blame Canada to Gay Fish to I Am Lorde to Chocolate Salty Balls, there are standout tracks in every series of the quiet mountain town – don't even get us started on our love for Mr Hankey, The Christmas Poo! That said, some of the best musical moments don't come from the mind of creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, but real-life recording artists. Slayer was used to disperse a gathering of hippies, Korn show up to play the Halloween party and Primus wrote the infamous theme song.

One of the lesser-known songs South Park use is the 1920s Tin Pan Alley tune I've Got Something In My Front Pocket For You, which Butters tap dances to before his shoe flies off causing the deaths of eleven people. This moment from season eight's You Got F'd In The A stood out so much with Avatar frontman Johannes Eckerström that the band covered it! And here's why...

Why did you decide to cover I've Got Something In My Front Pocket For You?

"Well, we're big South Park fans, and after doing 60 minutes of deeply, very serious music, you know with a concept, and then you're contractually obligated to do those bonus tracks. But we rarely have anything left over because everything that doesn't end up on our albums is thrown away because it's good enough. Over the time of a writing session, we throw stuff away. So if we have one bonus track, it's usually a miracle.

So, we didn't have any bonus tracks – and I don't really feel like writing something less heavy and serious when it's not part of the concept – and we literally had nothing else that would make sense. So we thought, well, let's cover South Park! And we remember the scene when they used it, we laughed a lot too when we saw it."

Are you going to cover any more South Park songs?

"Probably not, but maybe. Now we've done that one, it would have to be a whole album of South Park covers, or something like that, because there's some good music in those shows. We had to have a new stupid idea next time."

Would you do a whole album?

"Well yes, of course, but not rather than doing something else. Time on Earth is limited. So that would be fun, but there are our own albums to make. Everyone who writes a lot of music also ends up with a pile of music that doesn't fit in. When that pile's big enough and I get paid enough for something that I can take a chance on, a South Park covers album I would be that. A 'lead vocalist enjoys the smell of his own farts too much' solo album, you know."


Avatar's latest album Feathers & Flesh is out now.

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