David Arquette: The 10 Songs That Changed My Life

Actor, wrestler, general fearless dude David Arquette reflects on his life in music – from sneaking into goth clubs to playing a festival with Foo Fighters

David Arquette: The 10 Songs That Changed My Life
Mike Rampton

While best known as the actor behind Dewey from the Scream quadrilogy (a role he will be reprising for 2022’s fifth instalment), in the last few years David Arquette has dedicated himself to another form of expression: professional wrestling.

It’s been a long time coming. In 2000, while promoting the wrestling comedy Ready To Rumble, he briefly became WCW Heavyweight Champion, a move that greatly upset the fan community and didn’t do a lot for Arquette’s Hollywood career. The incident haunted the actor, who longed to get back into the ring in a more legitimate, credible way, and in 2018 he did it. His extremely painful venture back into the world of wrestling is documented in You Cannot Kill David Arquette, available for digital download on November 23.

But we're not here to talk about his endeavours in the squared-circle. David is also an avid rock fan, so we caught up with the horror actor-turned-grappler to talk about the songs that made him who he is today…

The first song that really spoke to me…

The Clash – Bankrobber (1980)

"I was born in 1971, so punk rock was coming up in LA when I was young; Black Flag, the Germs, Suicidal Tendencies. I was huge into Madness, and had a flat-top haircut. I liked the Specials, the Jam… That whole kind of ska-punk thing was huge for me, and I think hearing The Clash was probably the first time I went from just hearing music and enjoying it to going, 'Oh, that’s my vibe' and feeling like I’d found my own thing. Bankrobber is the one I felt that lightning with."

The first band I saw live…

Fishbone – Party At Ground Zero (1985)

"I’m a fairweather fan of everything. I love Led Zeppelin but couldn’t tell you the titles of any of their songs. I love AC/DC, Bob Marley, the Beatles, Black Sabbath – Iron Man was the first song that made me go, like, 'Whoa! Rock’n’roll!' One of the early concerts I remember going to was this festival, LA Street Scene, with a bunch of free concerts downtown. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone and Trulio Disgracias were all there really going for it. I love Fishbone. I directed a film called The Tripper in 2006, and got them to be in it and perform Party At Ground Zero. Fishbone in concert are one of the greats."

The first song I broke a bone to…

An Unknown Goth Band

"There was this club, aptly called the Scream Club, in a big building on MacArthur Park in East LA. We were too young to get in, so had to sneak in. You’d have to climb up the building next to it and jump across – like parkour before parkour was invented – and then go out onto the fire escape, slide down the connecting bars and go in through a window. We got in and there was this goth band on stage. We were kind-of wasted. I was taking gymnastics at the time, and I jumped up on stage and did a stage dive, a front flip, but I didn’t know you had to have someone there to catch you. I landed it, but broke my ankle, and the cops ended up taking me out of there. They said, 'How did you get in here?' and I said, 'I don’t know!' I have no idea who that band were. As I say, I was kind-of wasted."

The first time I achieved a gold record…

Ear2000 – The Race (1997)

"I had a horrible band for a while and we had the worst name of any band ever – Ear2000. That’s so bad! Wes Craven was a really huge music buff, and was so sweet and supportive, and allowed us to get on a couple of the Scream soundtracks. We got gold records! Being on those meant we got to tour like a real band – we did Big Day Out and played some small stage with Foo Fighters headlining. I got to meet Dave Grohl, who was so nice, and we got to play in Paris and stuff like that. We were always arguing though: the band had just come out of music school and were into obscure time signatures and shit, and I just didn’t get it. I just wanted to get crowds going and keep them going, and they’d want to get them going then change it up and go into something different and the crowd would just die. It all became a bit Spinal Tap. We both had valid points."

The first song ever written about me…

The Black Math Experiment – You Cannot Kill David Arquette (2005)

"This song was written in the ’90s as this silly jokey song, but I always stayed in touch with the Black Math Experiment, and they were kind enough to let us use the song as the title of the film. My wife – who produced the film and is truly the champion of this movie – came up with the idea to use the song as the way to explain where I was, because it explains a lot of my earlier career and being a wrestler and all that stuff."

My favourite wrestling entrance music…

Edward Elgar – Pomp And Circumstance

"I love the pageantry of Macho Man Randy Savage walking in to this, that would have to be my favourite. Or Rowdy Roddy Piper coming out playing the bagpipes. It’s weird, I’m sure I’ve heard Hulk Hogan’s song a thousand times, but I don’t remember it. But the coolest thing about all those songs is that [wrestling manager] Jimmy Hart, the Mouth of the South, was instrumental in putting them all together. During this process I got to wrestle Greg Valentine and the Honky Tonk Man, and Jimmy Hart was in the corner, and it was the most amazing thing. There was a fan event before it, and I bought a Honky Tonk Man action figure and asked him to sign it and insisted on paying for the autograph, and then later when we wrestled I got paired up with him. I put him in a wristlock and he really sold for me. My tag-team partner was watching from the corner just amazed, like, 'How have you got him to do that?'"

The song that gets me in the zone as an actor…

Radiohead – High And Dry

"I find music really helpful as an actor. On Scream I put together this big playlist of songs to get me in the right kind of moods, like if I need to be really pumped or I need to be emotional. Radiohead or Coldplay will get me all emotional, while some crazy jazz like John Coltrane or Miles Davis, or something like Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine will get me good and pumped."

The song that makes me cry…

Otis Redding – I've Got Dreams To Remember (1968)

"My favourite genre is probably soul music – Bill Withers, Al Green, Otis Redding. Fix You by Coldplay is also a tearjerker. Or, you know, Adele’s second album blew up right as my divorce happened, so that’s probably the winner. One of the greatest aspects of music is that it can take you back to a certain time period when you were really feeling something. That Adele album was pretty intense listening when going through a divorce. But it’s good to have something like that to get it all out, and then turn it off and listen to something happier."

The last song I got super into…

Wallows – Virtual Aerobics (2020)

"Wallows is a great new band, featuring Dylan Minnette, one of the guys in the new Scream movie. He’s incredible, and Virtual Aerobics is amazing. They’re a great band, and he’s an amazing actor."

The song I want played at my funeral…

Aurora – Life On Mars (2016)

"Fuck yeah, I’ve thought about my funeral! Growing up with [my late sister] Alexis, I was turned on to David Bowie really early. I love Life On Mars – the line 'My mother, my dog and clowns' reminds me of the stuff I love. The Norwegian singer Aurora does a lovely version of it. Chris Cornell did an incredible live version of Nothing Compares 2 U, by Prince and Sinéad O'Connor, which is beautiful."

You Cannot Kill David Arquette is released on digital download on November 23.

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