Comedian/musician/performance artist Reggie Watts stopped by The A.V. club studios for their “Undercover” series. In it, the editors come up with a list of 25 songs and invite artists to come by and perform a cover of something on the list. Once the song has been covered, it’s crossed off the list. Obviously, since it’s the mostly indie-centric AV Club, most of the songs on the list, and especially the bands selected to cover the songs, aren’t particularly metal. However, there was an interesting cover of Suicidal Tendencies “Institutionalized” done last week by the Portland Cello Project and the frontman of Low.
At any rate, Reggie picked the Van Halen classic “Panama” and put his own twist on the song. And by “twist” I mean he passed on the straight up tribute and decided to salute the actual country of Panama while weaving in some lyrics (actually, just the chorus, and only once) from the original song. Van Halen fans will cry sacrilege, especially when he tells the interviewer that his version is the original demo that Van Halen gave to him. But it’s amazing to watch Reggie’s loop-based vocal improvisation in a live setting, and pretty much any fan of music will be fascinated.