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With a two-year-old Red House Painters record sitting on the shelf, unable to find release due to legal ramifications, Mark Kozelek broke four years of recorded silence with the Rock 'n' Roll Singer EP. Released in 2000 under his own name, the half-hour disc featured interpretations of three Bon Scott-era AC/DC covers, a John Denver cover, and a couple new songs of his own. The EP seemed to divide longtime fans and critics into two camps. Some felt that the long period of no new material shouldn't have resulted in a batch of covers, while others were impressed with Kozelek's straight-faced reinterpretations that revealed a surprising amount of depth at the heart of AC/DC's songs. Kozelek also spent a fair amount of time during 1999 and 2000 arranging Take Me Home: A Tribute to John Denver and two benefit compilations for the Shanti Project, a San Francisco-based AIDS relief organization. He was also cast in the role of a bass player with a predilection for high-school females in Cameron Crowe's critically acclaimed Almost Famous, which hit theaters in 2000.
Meanwhile, Kozelek bought back the rights for Red House Painters' unreleased record, entitled Old Ramon. A full-length solo record, What's Next to the Moon, was released by Badman (the outlet for his previous EP and compilation involvements mentioned above) in early 2001. This time, the album was all-AC/DC renderings, featuring Kozelek's own arrangements and further polarizing fans and critics. Sub Pop eventually released Old Ramon a couple months after What's Next to the Moon, and they also offered White Christmas Live by the year's end. A Yuletide-inspired disc of live material recorded the previous year in Scandinavia, Sub Pop made it available through mail order only. Little Drummer Boy Live arrived in winter 2006, followed in 2008 by Nights LP: 12 Songs by Mark Kozelek (Live & Rare Versions: 1996-2007) and The Finally LP, a collection of covers recorded for children's albums and tribute records that have since gone out of print.