Covering a classic rock song is one thing, but chopping an 11-minute song by the iconic Bob Dylan by nearly three quarters and turning it into a punk anthem?
That’s what My Chemical Romance have done with their snappy, Sex Pistols-esque take on “Desolation Row” for next month’s Watchmen, the movie based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel about superheroes in existential crisis.
“When the chance came to do a cover of one of my favorite artists, Bob Dylan, for a film version of my favorite work of fiction of all time we had to jump at the chance,” frontman Gerard Way writes in a MySpace entry. The graphic novel uses a quote from “Desolation Row,” which first appeared on Dylan’s 1965 masterpiece Highway 61 Revisted, in its first chapter.
After speaking at length with Watchmen director Zack Snyder (300), Way, an unabashed comic book lover and comic book author, sat in an Arizona hotel room and diced Dylan’s lengthy lyric sheet down to punk rock size. “I paid careful attention to the lyrics,” he writes. “While losing some of my favorite verses I managed to keep the ones I felt were represented by Alan Moore in the comic.”
But is this 2009 remake ready for the Highway or just plain old roadkill? Watch the video — in which My Chem don ratty leather jackets and strap on beat-up guitars that seem older than Dylan’s original — and post your comments below.
Watch: My Chemical Romance, “Desolation Row”