Russell Brand plays rock star onscreen and on disc
By Cortney Harding
NEW YORK (Billboard) - Infant Sorrow seems to have it all: a charismatic, good-looking frontman; several talented and well-known musicians; an extensive, major-label-funded marketing campaign; and a No. 1 debut on Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart.
There's only one wrinkle: Infant Sorrow isn't a real band.
Infant Sorrow's debut album, "Get Him to the Greek," is in fact the soundtrack to the film of the same name. And star Russell Brand, who plays hard-partying rocker Aldous Snow, sings all the tracks on the record. The songs were written and recorded by a number of high-profile British rockers, including Carl Barat of the Libertines and Jarvis Cocker. Snippets of several songs do appear in the film, but fans who want to hear full versions can pick up the album, which has sold 3,500 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"Russell and the film company felt very strongly about doing something like this as opposed to a traditional soundtrack," says Kim Garner, senior vice president of marketing and artist development at Universal Republic. "We wanted to release it like we would an actual rock band's album."
The album's sales were assisted by the box-office success of the film, which opened at No. 2 and grossed $17.5 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. But Universal Republic didn't want to rely solely on the film to drive publicity.
"We curated a piece with the film company about the music and the movie, and that will run on the HD wall in Best Buy stores through June," Garner says. "We also shot a proper music video, which Russell directed, and that premiered on Vevo. Russell and Jonah (Hill, who co-stars in the movie) also made celebrity playlists for iTunes, which helped us get great placement there."
Universal Republic also produced special content for Record Store Day and commissioned a Union Jack Fender guitar like the one Brand's character uses in the film as a prize for a label-run contest in alternative weeklies around the country.
"We took the music for this film very seriously," Brand says. "We got brilliant writers and tried to make it as authentic as possible. We wanted songs that were quality and quirky -- like a rock version of Flight of the Conchords." Continued...