Musicians show ''Weeds'' some love -- The Shins, Billy Bob Thornton, and Linkin Park vie to get their version of the Showtime comedy's theme song on the air

By Shirley Halperin
Updated July 06, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Music’s biggest acts are looking to score some Weeds: For the second year in a row, dozens of singers and bands from Linkin Park to matchbox 20 are vying to get their recordings of ”Little Boxes” — the quirky theme song for Showtime’s comedy about a dope-selling suburban mom — played on the air. ”We have 90-plus submissions so far,” says Jay Faires, president of Music and Publishing at Lionsgate, which produces the show. He confirms that covers by Randy Newman, the Shins, indie rockers the Silversun Pickups, Linkin Park, and Billy Bob Thornton (!) are among those that have been chosen to run during season 3, which premieres Aug. 13. (Some that don’t make the cut may be used next season.) ”The show speaks to artists across all musical genres — hard rock, indie, alternative, folk…. Maybe it’s the weed thing.”

Matchbox 20 singer Rob Thomas, who made an eleventh-hour pitch to submit a cut from his band, says Faires is onto something. ”I like weed,” he deadpans, ”and we had instruments lying around. It was a perfect match.” Others, like Shins singer James Mercer, felt a connection to the song, which was written in 1962 by San Francisco folkie Malvina Reynolds to lampoon post-WWII suburban sprawl. ”It sounds so quaint,” says Mercer, ”but it’s really biting.” And that’s exactly why Weeds creator Jenji Kohan chose it. ”When I wrote the pilot, the lyrics to ‘Little Boxes’ were the first page of the script,” she says. ”It’s been really exciting to hear all these amazing versions of the song.”