MUCH LESS THAN ZERO: It's no big deal when a band covers an old pop classic, right? Just ask the Bangles' Vicki Peterson--who is very nervous about the reception to the band's new rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter," just out as the first single from the sound track to "Less Than Zero." (Other sound-track tunes will include an Aerosmith cover of "Rockin' Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu," Poison's version of "Rock & Roll All Night," Slayer's remake of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" as well as "Goin' Back to Cali" by L. L. Cool J and "Bring the Noise" by Public Enemy.)
For starters, Peterson still remembers the lukewarm reception the band got when they used to play "Hazy Shade" in their early club days. "It didn't always go over very well," the Bangles' guitarist recalled. "I still remember reading a Robert Hilburn review where he called our version really mediocre." (For the record, Times pop music critic Hilburn dubbed it "plodding" and "punchless".)
Then there's rap-master Rick Rubin, who produced the song (along with several other sound-track cuts), only to have the band remix it on their own. "Rick was very positive, energetic and he really knows his pizza and pasta," Peterson said diplomatically. "But we did sort of reorganize the song--we just had a different concept of what it should be. Rick did a real minimalist version, and we fattened it up a bit."