Basil Poledouris: A Man and His Music

An Interview with Basil Poledourisby Rudy Koppl / Edited by Randall D. Larson
Originally published in Soundtrack Magazine Vol.16/No.64/1997
Text reproduced by kind permission of the editor, Luc Van de Ven and Rudy Koppl

basil-poledourisFilm composer Basil Poledouris unfolded a tapestry of musical styles in over 55 television and motion picture scores. When you have a wide palette of styles and ideas that can fit almost any film genre, your talent is welcome in an industry that demands flexibility. This gift combined with sensitivity can take you a long way. Basil s emotions speak for themselves in film after film. He has a wealth of ideas inside that keep coming forth on each new score he composes. From the joyful overtures of BIG WEDNESDAY and the legendary melodies of CONAN THE BARBARIAN to the massive atmospheres of STARSHIP TROOPERS, recording using SDDS technology with one of the largest orchestras Basil’s ever worked with, it’s a pleasure to bring to you an inside look at film composer Basil Poledouris, the man and his music.

When you compose a score can you explain your technique?
I honestly don’t know what happens and I’ve always been afraid that if I ever understood the mechanism then I would try to reproduce it and lose it. In understanding it, it might disappear. Now there are things that I do and there is a certain methodology that I use, but I don’t understand what happens. The very first thing I do is either read a script or see a film. Based on that I will get some kind of almost instant feeling. It’s not tangible, it’s not a melody, it’s just the feeling that I know there is somewhere inside I will be able to come up with something that is a representation of the movie musically. If I don’t get that, I don’t do the film. If you don’t have a feeling for the movie on any level, it’s almost impossible to write music for it.

Do you always use a video of the film to write to?
I’ll generally see the film projected the first time because I think it’s always good to see as large an image as you can, it makes a bigger impact. Then I like to go away and just sort of free associate. I play the piano and just improvise on the feeling that I got from watching the movie. Nothing specific, it’s not a character, not the chase; it is all of those things. It’s the colors that the director has tried to impart to the movie that I try to reinterpret with music.
I usually come up with two or three fragments of an idea and I’ll go back and look at the film on video tape and maybe even tryout an idea against it just to see if it seems to stick to the picture. Sometimes it just doesn’t, it just slides right off the screen. I have a feeling if I’m going in the right direction. After that I’ll look at the film several times. There’s a certain structure and pace to any film when it’s finally cut. The music suggests rhythms, it can suggest tempo, it can suggest a lot of things. So I think it’s really critical that I get the film into an almost subconscious area of my mind. Then when I actually start writing, after we’ve got the final timings and assuming the director is in agreement with my thematic material, I turn off the video machine and start writing.

What was special to you about working on CONAN THE BARBARIAN?
It was the third feature film I’d ever done. It was the largest orchestra I would’ve ever imagined using and I got a full choir. It was a 90-piece orchestra with a 24-voice choir that we overdubbed once. Not only that, here was a movie where the first cue lasts 30 minutes with 3 minutes of dialog. 27 of the first 30 minutes of the movie are all music and visuals. It was like scoring a silent film!

Do you feel scoring CONAN THE DESTROYER was as effective as scoring the first one?
Not at all. The first score, like the first film, was obviously better. The first film was the vision of one person, John Milius. He really knew the look, the sound, and the feel as well as the characters to put together a pretty amazing movie for the time. It spawned this whole generation of sword and sorcery films.

Do you enjoy doing this type of film?
Absolutely. Here was a world that was undefined in terms of its style and in terms of what it sounded like. I prefer doing fantasy films and science fiction films to almost anything, other than really serious drama, because you can create your own world musically. It’s like Rozsa being able to do Rome – who the hell knows what Rome sounded like? Who knows what Conan sounded like? Nobody. I knew. I know what it sounded like. Maybe STARSHIP TROOPERS will be like that. Here’s a world 400 years in the future.

Your scores range from symphonic to synthesized. Do you treat the synthesizer as another instrument in the orchestra?
Absolutely! I’ve also treated the synthesizer as the only thing in the film. NO MAN’S LAND is completely synthesizer. I had an orchestra, but the producer chose not to use any of it. And in retrospect it was not a bad choice because it’s a very sparse, strange kind of film. I think the synthesizer complemented it very well. Often-times when I combine synthesizers with the orchestra the focus will shift from one to the other. This happens in ROBOCOP or maybe the most prominent example is the tons of synthesizer in UNDER SIEGE 2, but it really is truly more of a blend. Whether it’s large or small or soft or loud really depends on the formal dictates of the drama within the film itself; The style of the film, the intent of the film. And as a composer I need a range of colors and the synthesizer truly is just another color.

When you do a score like this, do you write your score out for the synthesizer?
Yes, always. I know there are a lot of composers that work at the synthesizer and video. You see it and create it simultaneously. I wish could do that – it could be more time effective. But I need that distancing from a one-to-one relationship with the visual, by not looking at it and letting it roll around in my head. There have been many times when I wished I could just sit down and rattle it off, punch print, and there it is, send it off to an orchestrator.

When using a synthesizer, do you record it before the orchestra or overdub the latter?
It depends on how complete the film is. If we’re still in the process where we’re scoring a picture and it’s pretty obvious that it’s going to be recut or they’re going to preview and make cuts, then I try to lay the synthesizer after the fact, if it’s not highly rhythmic. This is because there might be changes that go down on the orchestra dates. I generally record the synthesizers live with the orchestra. If any changes are there, then the synthesizers will be changed at the same time the orchestra is changed. Having said that, what has crept into our reality most recently, in the last few years, is the ubiquitous mock-up where directors and producers sometimes are willing to pay to have a complete synthesizer rendition of the orchestral score. When we do this mock-up thing we’re also laying the synth down. So I’d have to say that in the last year I’ve been prelaying the synths…

Did composing THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER offer any challenges?
This one went down pretty well. The hardest part was probably teaching the choir to sing Russian. These guys do commercials during the day. They are real Hollywood professionals who do Michael Jackson’s backups in one session and then do television commercials in the next. They’re just extraordinarily talented people.

Did the environmental elements of the film WIND have an influence on the score?
Sure. One of the main characters in the film are the boats and the whole idea of what sailing is. I’ve been sailing since I was seven years old. So sailing is something I know a great deal about and have some very strong opinions about what it sounds like musically. WIND was a grand opportunity to lay those ideas out. It’s an interesting score because a lot of this was done in my studio. In fact I did a lot of the solo synthesizer work and I really enjoyed it. It was the first time that I extensively used just synthesizers in a score, outside of NO MAN’S LAND. There is orchestra there too, but on the album fifty percent is just solo synthesizer.

What inspired you on ROBOCOP?
It was Paul Verhoeven’s understanding of what the film was and being able to communicate that to me. If a director has a strong vision of what a movie is then they communicate that vision to everybody who works on it. They have to. That’s why you see a lot of films that are a total mess because sixteen people have given their notes on what the movie is supposed to be and everybody has a different idea. I’ve worked on pictures that I’ll get a phone call from the director in the morning saying, If I know the producer wants this, but I’m telling you this needs something else than what he wants. II Then in the afternoon you get the same call from the producer saying “Look, I know the director wants that but this is the way it’s got to be.” Then another five people will have their opinions, anyone from the film editor to the music editor. This has no focus. Every choice I make as a composer has to be driven. Every decision that’s made about size, style, tempo, instrumentation, it all has to stem from the vision or the drama in the’ movie. Actually the script is where it all starts. LONESOME DOVE is a perfect example of a script that was so powerful that everyone had the same feel for it. The script drove everything. You couldn’t do anything else.

How did that work with STARSHIP TROOPERS? After you watched the film and went to the piano to freely associate, did the themes or this score come to you right away?
No, not at all. It took a lot of work and a lot of direction from Paul. It’s a very strange score in that there’s not that much thematic continuity in this score. If anything it’s more of a harmonic continuity that all takes place within a certain kind of harmonic setting. The sound of the orchestra using a lot of low brass, using a lot of very low trumpet work, and at the end using these multiple percussion ideas is really what gives it its character and style. In terms of its melodic content there are definitely themes, but it’s not like a normal picture where you see the troopers walking and there’s the trooper theme, or you see the bugs and there’s the bug theme. It just doesn’t seem to work that way. It’s been a fascinating process and this is because of Paul. He’s such an incredible director he can come at the same scene several different ways. There are so many different points of view that he will present as a director. All those points of view need to be addressed in the music as well. I tend to look at a scene and I think “This is a piece of cake; a mobile infantry theme goes here.” All of a sudden this doesn’t work here, even though you see that the mobile infantry is walking around. I’m scoring more of the environment than any kind of thematic scoring. Each planet, that these battles take place on, have their own distinct character. Even the bugs, there are four or five different kinds of bugs in the movie. And each one of them has their own distinct flavor, depending upon which planet they’re on. It’s a very fascinating process. It’s been hell sir, but fulfilling. Definitely fulfilling.

Would you explain the themes you’ve created?
They’re very general. There are some specific themes, but they really only get stated once or twice. Instead of just repeating the theme, there’s this rather elaborate variation of it. In terms of what they are, there’s the mobile infantry which is very military or martial. This is somewhat rousing, but enclosed in a sort of nineteen forties innocence. To really understand what the music is, you really have to understand what the film is or what the music is trying to do. There’s a repressed kind of society here, that’s very ordered and very structured. In that sense it’s really very much like the forties and World War II, where everything was goal driven.
This is basically an attack on the human species by bugs and they have to rise to that. There’s very little room for anybody deviating from what the dictates of the governmental structure of this society is. It seems like it’s a global society even though we’re never really sure of that, but it seems like there’s a world government. It’s very militaristic and martial.
I must say the recording sessions have been just marvellous. The L.A. musicians are the most extraordinary group of people I’ve ever worked with, ever, anywhere. There are so many different types of music in this film. For instance, the bugs obviously are a very angular or jagged kind of music. Space tends to be much more flowing and lyrical. The relationship motifs are very ephemeral. These are three completely disassociated styles and I can go from one of those cues to the other and in an instant the musicians understand where I’m going. It’s just such a joy to work with such an incredible orchestra.

Where did you record STARSHIP TROOPERS?
We did all the recording at Sony, which is the old MGM stage. We’re doing all the 7.1 mixes at my studio. 7.1 is five speakers across the front with two surrounds and a boom. Basically it’s a seven discrete channel mix, so you have seven separate sound sources.

Have you ever done this before?
No, SDDS is what this is called. Sony Dynamic Digital Sound.

Will this enhance the film score here?
Yes, I think this will allow a lot of it to be heard, because it’s spread out over five speakers. We set the orchestra up normally spread out across that, but for instance you can hear the woodwinds across the middle three speakers. There’s two timpani, one’s all the way to the left like on speaker one and the one on the right is on speaker five. This gives you a lot more to play with than the overdubs. We’re using a lot of snare drum overdubs or military percussion type stuff. You can spread that out as well. We had experimented with six trumpets in fanfares, three trumpets on the left and three trumpets on the right. Somehow it seems it gets a little dicey, unless they are seated together in the orchestra.

Will this technology make composers rethink how they put their scores together?
It certainly lends itself to more overdubbing, because then you can place these sounds very discreetly exactly where you want during the final music mix. So that lends some interesting possibilities for synthesizer scores and any specialty instruments that a composer might want to overdub. In an orchestral set up it just really gives a much truer image of the way the orchestra fits. Basically I set up the orchestra the same way you set up on a concert stage. The violins are on the left, violas in the middle, cellos on the right, basses on the right, so you get that imaging that is being enhanced by the five speakers or five across the front.

Will the music stand out on its own more?
I don’t know if it will make the music stand out more. It just gives everything more space instead of trying to jam it all through three speakers, which is what we normally do. This definitely presents some exciting possibilities.

How do you feel about working with Paul Verhoeven again?
It’s great! It’s like, how do you work with anybody else after this? He’s a consummate director. First of all the film is his vision, make no mistake about it, and he has a strong vision. There’s nothing worse than confronting a director who will say to a composer, “I really don’t know what I’m looking for, but I’ll know it when I hear it.” When you hear that, if you’re a composer, it’s like your life flashes before your eyes. Basically they don’t know what the hell they’re doing. They don’t have any concept of what the film is and they certainly haven’t considered what the music ought to be. If somebody who said that to me then kept their mouth shut and let me go off and do my job that would be fine, but I’ve been involved with those kind who really mean it. They don’t know what they want and they want to hear everything in the world there is to hear in the process of searching for what it is. Then basically they hear something that reminds them of something they’ve heard before and that’s what they tend to like.
This is the exact opposite here. Paul knows exactly what he’s looking for, he knows the tone of the picture, he knows the characters and why they’re doing what they’re doing, why each bug makes a particular movement, it’s a total understanding. This is a real powerful, energetic, complete film maker. It’s a real joy. Because what we’re involved with is the creative process. We’re not involved with copying something that worked in ALIEN or worked in STAR TREK. If you think of the models of what types of films might be like this, and that’s the generally the way people approach their initial ideas of film scores and that’s what temp tracks are all about, it’s a like kind of film. He’s never once alluded to those things because he knows his film is different from those films and therefore, the music should be different than those films. If he’d wanted music like that, he should have hired those composers, which he didn’t. He didn’t and he doesn’t want it to sound like that. This is a totally different approach to what you might think is normal.

Do you ever take any of the temp tracks into consideration when scoring for a film?
Only unless they’re really adamant about the way a temp track works. Uninformed directors, who really aren’t that creative, sometimes will insist that you copy a temp track. This is because they’re limited in their imagination and unsure in their own abilities, so they play it safe by following something that has already been done. It’s much easier to accept something that’s safe. Safe means it reminds them of something. In this instance the only reason I think the temp track was there was to give them an idea of how the film was working dramatically. Basically the film is somewhat of a montage, it’s an action montage. But still when you’re working with sketches of bugs and there’s no dialog certainly, they don’t talk, they do have voices but they don’t talk, you need something to give you a sense of pace. Now what Paul would tell me was, “If you want to listen to it, fine. If there’s anything in it that you can use, which is either if you can get an idea of the size of the orchestra that we’re interested in or if a particular tempo seems to work that could give you an indication of what the music should be, that’s fine.” But in terms of the melodic content and the actual harmonic structure of it, he could care less. That’s pretty amazing.

If Paul Verhoeven could write music and score his own film, do you think he would be a good film score composer?
Sure, because he understands what the process is. He understands dramatically what he wants to do. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Paul Verhoeven, because in the Hollywood atmosphere, which is so corporate right now, where very few people will take the responsibility to make a decision for fear that they will lose their job if they stick to something they believe in, it’s incredibly refreshing to have someone who says, “This is what I’m doing and by God I’m going to do it.” It isn’t playing the how-do-I-cover-myself game. He’s made the movie he intended to make. If Paul could score films, hopefully it would sound not unlike STARSHIP TROOPERS.

I understand your approach to scoring STARSHIP TROOPERS is definitely more symphonic.
Absolutely. More symphonic than electronic.

Why did you take this approach?
Basically this was one of the formal requirements by the director. He really didn’t think that we should make any concession to the future. There should be no wildly futuristic type sounding music because this implies new instrument combinations and electronic instruments representing the future, like where violins would go in four hundred years or oboes or flutes. If you advance the whole orchestra four hundred years, what would it sound like? That was never a consideration.
We kicked it around for about ten seconds. I think it’s because the bugs themselves are so alien and they make such harsh non-musical noises, that I suspect he felt the music should be a little more natural and a little more human. So basically the music represents the humans and the sound effects take care of the bugs. Also I’m scoring the humans’ reactions to the bugs. Nonetheless it’s still within a richer and warmer sound that plays counterpoint to the effects. The other consideration was that a lot of the effects are electronic, in fact made up of electronic elements. Paul wanted no conflict between the sound effects and the music. He was very clear about that. He’s very clear in all of his thinking and I think this is a very good concept that he’s got for the whole sound design of the film.

Does the violent nature of parts in this film have a great influence over your score?
You have to come up with something that represents unexpected violence and terror, sure. It’s more of a concept than the individual hits like these pictures skewering people. Sometimes I hit those things and sometimes I don’t, but it’s more of an over-all kind of attitude about how nightmarish one particular scene might be or how overwhelming it can be, just by the sheer numbers and multitudes of these things. It’s really more of a conceptual approach than it is a frame by frame approach. This is why each piece of music seems to be slightly different to me, because each theme has a different concept behind it. It’s very difficult to take music that I’ve written from one scene and place it over another.
Paul and I have done that on several occasions just to get an idea of how the score might progress as we go along. We’ll take a scene that I’ve scored previously and then run it over a scene that comes later in the film. It doesn’t quite work. The thing keeps expanding, the score keeps growing, and the material that preceded it gets put into the next stuff. That’s what I was talking about, an elaborate variation. It must be very difficult to make sense out of tills and it’s been very difficult for me to make sense out of this. Thank God I’ve got a director who really understands.

It makes sense to me.
Good, because this is the first time I’ve even really tried to explain it. These things always take a while. I’m never really sure what I’ve really done until a couple of years afterwards, when I really have the distance to sit and listen to it. Then you go “Oh yeah, I see. That came from there, that idea was born there and I took it somewhere else.” I don’t approach it that way and say “Now I’m going to take this and make a variation on that.” I assume I drag all that along in my subconscious with me when I’m writing. So then when I approach a scene it’s there to draw from, but I mayor may not be that aware of the fact that’s what I’m doing. I don’t analyze it before I write it. I analyze the scene, but then I just follow my pencil.

Do you enjoy scoring science fiction?
Yes. It’s really not that new. CONAN in a way is science fiction, even though it’s actually more mythological. I think there is a great similarity between mythological films and science fiction films. CHERRY 2000 was science fiction. Yes, I enjoy this immensely because nobody knows what the future sounds like and no one knows what the past sounded like. This is the same reason why I enjoy the mythological stuff. When Bernstein did THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, no one knew what the biblical era sounded like. I think this gives the composer a tremendous amount of freedom. This is my first space film even though UNDER SIEGE II had a couple of satellite shots, but this hardly took place in outer space. There were some space motifs, you see the satellite, you hear space, but this is not that sort of thing.

Is your score to BIG WEDNESDAY special to you?
Definitely. First of all it was the first big score. You have to realize that up to BIG WEDNESDAY I’d done about one hundred and twenty-five educational, industrial, documentary, PBS, and TV commercial projects. So it’s not exactly like BIG WEDNESDAY is the first time I’d ever written music, but it’s the first time I had a large orchestra. It also was about surfing, which like sailing; I started doing at a very early age. This score was actually about sixty minutes long. I think I’m going to rerecord this. I’ve been saying that for five years, but someday I’ll get around to it. Definitely some of the material has to be reworked, but this is very special to me.

You composed a piece for the 1996 Olympics called ‘The Tradition of the Games’. This is reality-based and not part of a film, right?
This is also part of a mythological dream because this was about ancient times. Reality, but not really. Reality two thousand years ago. This was done with The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with around ninety pieces. The choir was The Robert Shaw Chorale, I don’t think they caIl it that anymore. During the performance we had 300 voices because The Chorale was augmented by The Morehouse College and some other groups as well. There were a lot of singers. I remember turning around to throw the downbeat when I looked and the entire stadium isle up to the top was fun of singers.
This was during the actual games, but for the recording there was only The Robert Shaw Chorale with about forty-eight voices. I’ve only written two pieces of music that weren’t specifically for films. The first was ‘The Conan Sword and Sorcery Show’ at Universal. They did this live twenty-minute show all day long at Universal City. This second one was very intriguing to me. It was a ballet really, the way I approached it is that I worked with the choreographer and director Don Mischer. They definitely wanted some very strong ancient type Grecian thing to represent what the ancient games were like. The idea was wildly exciting to me. My father immigrated from Greece, so I have a particular kind of connection to it. I love mythology and I love ancient history. When I was in music school I always wanted to a do a doctorate dissertation on the music of ancient Greece, till I realized this would be pretty impossible to do since not very much of it existed at the time. I think recently they’ve discovered some fragments of ideas, but we really don’t know what any of this sounded like. It was a fascinating process because I grew up in a Greek culture which is my heritage.

How did you record a piece of this magnitude?
We pre-recorded the orchestra, the singers were live. This was done in the symphony hall in Atlanta. The reason they had to do that was that there are a lot of thunder storms in Atlanta. The musicians refused to bring their real instruments out. We had a dress rehearsal two days before the Olympics aired in front of ninety thousand people; John Williams got rained on at the podium. There’s no way they were going to bring out two million dollar instruments into the rain. The pre-recording was a defense against that, so we recorded this before the airing of the games. However it was excellent both times we did it.

Which film do you feel was the biggest challenge for you to do?
There would be two: CONAN and ROBOCOP, but for two completely different reasons. With ROBOCOP it was very difficult to find the tone of the film. Dark and brooding as you said earlier. It’s a pretty strange world you get into with this guy that’s half man and half machine. It took me quite a while to figure out exactly what that sounded like.
CONAN was a challenge because I knew the music would be so visible. There was nothing to hide behind. Milius wanted it to drive the movie and to tell the story because so much of it had no dialog. He wanted to make sure the audience had a real handle on what he was trying to get across. To meet the challenge here you have to discover your way out of it. You work your way out.

You have done some television music. Do you prefer scoring for motion pictures?
Absolutely. There’s more time. If it’s a TV movie or something that is trying to be a feature without the money, time, or material, you’re in trouble! LONESOME DOVE was one of the great exceptions to our preconceptions of what a TV movie is. LONESOME DOVE was far beyond any of that. On the other hand I loved writing for the new TWILIGHT ZONE series. I loved to see how fast I could write. For this I did ‘Profile in Courage’, ‘A Message From Charity’, and ‘Vampires’. ‘Vampires’ was really great. This was really great because each show was in short form around 20 minutes. This was like a short story. We used a twenty piece orchestra and no one tried to make it sound like a forty piece orchestra. There were no pretenses about what we were trying to do. In fact I love working on films where there are no pretenses about what we’re trying to do, because you’re scoring what is instead of what everybody wants it to be. It’s how you turn a camel into a horse.

Does the score from THE WAR AT HOME portray the soft or tragic side of your emotions?
It was all those things. It was soft, tragic, and about a family in crisis with a guy who’s in the middle of a nervous breakdown. This is about the war and what it did to a lot of people, like the characters in the film. That was the war in Vietnam. For a number of reasons this is something that I lived through. I didn’t go to Vietnam, but there were discussions in the film amongst the family that went on in my own life. It’s about being divided by circumstances.

The score here was very beautiful, was it just the film that inspired you here?
Yes. My father had just passed away and this was the first film I did since that happened. Thank God it wasn’t CELTIC PRIDE I was scoring or some damn comedy. This film, and I will be eternally grateful to Emilio Estevez for making it, gave me a place to put my grief appropriately. It wasn’t as if I were doing a comedy and then writing this emotionally charged music. The film sort of collided with my world at that time in the sense that it was an appropriate vehicle for me to put myself into it without having to force anything. I didn’t have to force anything with THE WAR AT HOME. You don’t have to do that with good movies.

You certainly explained how you plugged your emotion in here.
Like I said earlier, these scores are milestones in my life. If you’re going to write music that truly communicates effectively to other human beings, then you need to write about some kind of human condition. You take something from your own experience and apply it to a dramatic situation that’s occurring on the screen. Then hopefully because I’m a human and I have emotions and feelings and the ability to express them musically, another human with emotions and feelings can listen to that music and somehow pick up on these same emotions and feelings we’re trying to make the audience feel from the film. Unless you’ve got that, all you’re going to do is imitate a temp track or Tchaikovsky or somebody who’s written a piece of emotional music and unfortunately this happens. My work method really is that you have to plug something of yourself into everything you write for it to truly communicate effectively. Unfortunately I haven’t done very many films like THE WAR AT HOME. I’d like to do more films about real people and real emotions. You know, CONAN, UNDER SIEGE II, and things like that are mythological. They are larger than life. I’d like to do some films about life.

You issued a promo CD of your score for WAR AT HOME…
Yes. BMI held a special screening of the film for invited guests. It was their way of honoring Emilio and I for doing the film. They had one hundred people come to the screening and this was pressed for that event in November or December. There was a dinner afterwards at which time on everybody’s plate was a CD. This was a very special evening for me.

How do you feel about doing war films?
The war to me was an unbelievable tragedy. I remember when I went on an interview with Oliver Stone for PLATOON. He was very interested in using “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” for the main theme of PLATOON. To this day I remember saying, “Oliver; to me the Vietnam War was the single largest tragedy to dissolve this country since the Civil War. I really don’t think you want to be out there singing ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ when you’re marching through Vietnam.” He may have meant it in a very ironic sense, but I never got past that. I said, “Frankly, I think it should be very sad.” He said, “Sad?” I said, “Yeah, you know, something like ‘Adagio for Strings’.” Of course now that’s what he’s got in there (laughter).
THE WAR AT HOME is very sad. The relationship of no communication between the father and the rest of his family was very sad. My own situation at the time was very sad. For a lot of reasons, like I said, I will be eternally grateful. There are a few times when your life coincides with your art. This is one of them.

Do you feel it’s to a composer’s ad-vantage to make a promotional CD?
I don’t know how else you would make people aware of some of the things that have never been released before. You must realize this has only come about because of the technology that exists today. In the past we’ve always made promos, except they were released on cassettes. They’re basically demo tapes. A producer or director calls wanting to hear some of the types of music you’ve done. This is a tool for the agent. Nonetheless, they like to have something in hand. We used to do it on cassettes, but now we’re doing it on CDs. It’s really not a new thing; just the interest in it is new because it’s duplicated easier.

The author would like to thank Bobbie Poledouris, Julia Michels, Greg Hinton, Ken Brady, Stacy Lumbrezer, Mickey McDermott, and Leonard Brady. These wonderful people made these interviews possible.

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