Rufus Lives

Album: Bill and Ted Face the Music (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • Mastodon recorded this song for the soundtrack of the Bill and Ted Face the Music movie. The title is a reference to the late George Carlin's character from the first two Bill & Ted films. Guitarist Bill Kelliher described Carlin as a really intelligent comedian who we lost too soon (Carlin was 71 when he died in 2008). "We just wanted to give a little ode to Rufus," he said, referencing Carlin's character in the films.
  • Kelliher and drummer Brann Dailor birthed the song when they were working on Mastodon material together. Dailor had consumed too many cups of coffee that morning and was ready to rock. "He started playing guitar, we put this thing together, it wasn't even 10 o clock in the morning and we already had this fast, crazy thing going on," Dailor recalled to Rock Sound. "It just sounded cool."

    Rather than focus on the hair metal of the original films, Bill & Ted music director Jonathan Leahy decided to involve groups such as Mastodon, who he believed represented the current state of electric guitar. Dailor recalled to Rock Sound that they had just written the "Rufus Lives" instrumental track for their upcoming album when they got a call from Leahy looking for something very specific for a scene in the movie. He explained it needed to be like party rock 'n' roll.

    Mastodon gravitate towards minor chords, and the first couple of songs they sent were "a little doomy." When Leahy explained they wanted something more fast-moving and rocking suitable for a party, not a funeral, they dug out the "Rufus Lives" instrumental track. The band then added some lyrics that went with the scene.

    "I think we were able to maintain our aesthetic and our musical personalities, and give a party rockin' song," said Dailor. "It's basically, like, 'You're at a party, you're in the woods, everybody is having fun, what's on the stereo?' That's the song we needed to write, and what we tried to do. Then we took the situation that Bill and Ted were in, and we applied it to the lyrical content. So I'm singing in it, and Troy (Sanders)'s singing."

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