Over the past eight years, the Film Music Foundation has been interviewing composers and others active in the movie-music business — getting down their life stories, their career anecdotes, their thoughts about this curious profession. I have been privileged to conduct many of these, and the Foundation (as part of its educational initiative) has now made them available online. Visit the website here — but be ready to spend a lot of time there, because most of these interviews are between two and three hours long! So far, I’ve done songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman; and composers Bruce Broughton, Bill Conti, Danny Elfman, Dave Grusin, Maurice Jarre, Laurence Rosenthal and Lalo Schifrin. (Others feature such giants as Patrick Doyle, Johnny Mandel, Van Alexander and Richard Sherman.) Three more interviews are scheduled for the first quarter of 2016.
We spent the day at Bill Conti’s gorgeous home, shooting an interview for the Film Music Foundation. We covered his entire life and career. I am guessing the entire interview was between three and four hours. Bill is great, funny and self-deprecating, with a million anecdotes about everything from Rocky to Dynasty. His wonderful wife Shelby served us lunch, and it was just the latest in a really great series of video “oral histories” that the Foundation is doing.
It was, by all accounts, one of the most entertaining evenings in recent memory at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater (and that’s not just my opinion!). I wrote, co-produced and hosted an evening all about “The Music of Bond.” It was, of course, timed to coincide not only with the publication of my book but with the 50th anniversary of the 007 franchise and the upcoming release of Skyfall. It was great fun, chatting on-stage with lyricist Don Black, composer Bill Conti and guitarist Vic Flick (who introduced the evening by performing the “James Bond Theme” live on the original Bond guitar, the one he used in the original 1962 recording). The house was sold out, we played many classic clips, and there were laughs aplenty. Here’s a wonderful page from the Academy’s own website that features clips of all of us. It was an evening I’ll never forget.