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Beavis, Butt-Head storm music biz

They’ve quickly become the rage on MTV, the arbiters of cool in teen culture and the bane of self-styled guardians of morality. Now the animated characters Beavis and Butt-Head are setting out to conquer the music business.

“The Beavis & Butt-Head Experience,” a compilation of songs performed by an all-star lineup, will be released this month on Geffen Records.

The album contains new material from such top-drawer acts as Aerosmith, Nirvana, Anthrax, Megadeth, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Run-D.M.C. and Primus. But perhaps the most interesting track in the collection will be released Nov. 16 to Top 40 radio: Beavis and Butt-Head perform with Cher on a remake of the classic Sonny & Cher ’60s hit “I Got You Babe.”

Geffen Records A&R exec Tony Berg, countering claims the label is simply jumping on a bandwagon, noted that label head David Geffen “anticipated the success of Beavis and Butt-Head when they were part of MTV’s ‘Liquid Television.’ He and (Geffen president) Eddie Rosenblatt conceived of a joint venture with MTV.”

Since video exposure on MTV’s “Beavis and Butt-Head” show has resulted in significant music sales increases, getting artists to contribute to the album was no problem. “We were barraged with requests from artists who wanted to be on the album,” Berg explained. Berg is co-executive producer of the album with the cartoon’s creator, Mike Judge.

Berg doesn’t expect the negative publicity surrounding Beavis and Butt-Head — like their alleged role in inspiring a youngster to set a fire that killed his sister — to dampen sales. “We are respectful of the controversy surrounding the incident with the child,” Berg said. “But there is nothing incendiary, literally, about this record. We don’t want to be perceived as capitalizing on controversy; the recording was in progress well in advance of the incident.”

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