Search Results for : Interviews

Christopher Guest on Spinal Tap at 30

I got to interview the great Christopher Guest a few weeks ago for a Variety piece on a 30th anniversary screening of This is Spinal Tap at the New York Film Festival. I used about 5% of the interview in that article—so here’s the other 95. Guest definitely wasn’t the warmest interview, but his reflections on one of the funniest movies ever made are pretty entertaining. Enjoy.

The Music of The Lion King: A 20th Anniversary Conversation with Rob Minkoff and Mark Mancina

As a nine-year-old cub myself when I saw it the first time in the summer of 1994, The Lion King hit me in that sweet, magical spot of childhood where movies become enshrined as idols for a lifetime—sometimes regardless of their quality. But I would have plenty of backup arguing that The Lion King is a serious contender for Disney’s best animated film, despite my biases. Shakespearean drama and excruciating loss are acted out by memorable, endearing characters, couched in some of the studio’s most lavish animation since the days of Pinocchio.

The final layer elevating the film to greatness is its music: classic songs written by (arguably) the greatest pop songwriter of the 20th century, and a serious, dramatic score by a young and explosively talented Hans Zimmer. The sum total is a powerhouse of a “family movie” I don’t think has ever been rivaled.

Scoring the Cosmos: A Conversation with Alan Silvestri and Seth MacFarlane

MacFarlaneIt still feels weird that the creator of the wisecracking, puerile, and frequently crude cartoon Family Guy is the executive producer of a series that (in his words) earnestly explores the science of the cosmos. But it seems Seth MacFarlane loves defying expectations as much as he enjoys spinning a dozen plates at once as an undeniably talented voice actor, regular actor, writer, director, and producer (despite your or my opinion of his sense of humor).

John Lunn, Jeff Beal, and Mark Snow on the ascension of TV music

I wrote an LA Weekly piece, posted today, on television music in light of the upcoming concert hosted by the television academy. In it I said that “TV music has largely languished in a sea of forgettability”—and while I admit it’s not totally fair to paint the whole medium with such a broad brush, I do think most TV scores throughout the decades have been pretty bad.

I’m not talking about TV theme songs, which are their own animal. Actual television underscore has suffered from the limitations and weaknesses of the format: short, choppy cues, the repetitive use of reheated “library” cues, and either a busy style that apes manic action or boring, ambient drones.

Fred Armisen gives the skinny on his new gig (as well as an education in punk rock)

One of my cooler recent freelance assignments was writing a short piece for Variety on Fred Armisen’s new stint as bandleader on Late Night with Seth Meyers. I had a really fun conversation with Fred (by phone), and was only able to use the scantiest essence of it for the article. So, for your reading pleasure and enlightenment, here is comedian/actor/drummer Fred Armisen on the nuts and bolts of his new gig, the very specific punk song influences on the theme song he wrote for the show, assembling the 8G Band, his well-oiled improv chemistry with Meyers, and why he thinks stress should be embraced.