From the Files

Marvin Hamlisch dies at 68

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 at 9:00 am

Unexpected, and very sad: The death of Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy winner Marvin Hamlisch. Anyone who knew Marvin couldn’t help but smile at his energy, creativity and sense of humor. To this day I still have his cell phone number on a Post-It next to my desk. He was so kind, giving me all… Read More

John Williams at 80

Friday, May 18th, 2012 at 6:00 pm

BMI asked me to write a piece acknowledging the celebrated film composer’s 80th birthday. Here it is. I drew on interviews that I had done over the previous months, for Classical KUSC and Variety, for some of the quotes.

Steve Jablonsky, Billion Dollar Composer

Thursday, May 17th, 2012 at 5:00 pm

To coincide with the release of Battleship, Variety asked me to interview Steve Jablonsky, whose Transformers music transformed him into one of the most bankable composers in the business. He’s quiet and self-effacing. The main story explains how he got there and has quotes from Hans Zimmer and Michael Bay. This one looks specifically at… Read More

10 Questions for Rolfe Kent

Monday, May 14th, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Rolfe Kent, the delightful English composer of Sideways, About Schmidt and Dexter, received BMI’s top award in 2012. Instead of the usual career profile, BMI asked me to pose 10 questions that might elicit some offbeat answers. (They did.) Also, here’s a story about the ceremony itself.

Stanley Wilson, TV music pioneer, honored

Saturday, March 17th, 2012 at 5:00 am

When I learned that Universal was renaming one of its streets after Stanley Wilson, I jumped at the opportunity to write about it — and composers John Williams, Lalo Schifrin, Quincy Jones and Dave Grusin all immediately agreed to talk with me about him. That’s because he helped launch all of their careers at Revue/Universal… Read More

Alf Clausen and “The Simpsons”

Friday, February 17th, 2012 at 10:00 am

The Simpsons has set so many records that it’s becoming hard to keep track. One of those, a little-known one — maybe because I’m the only writer who has ever actually noticed — is that composer Alf Clausen’s 500 scores for the series constitutes a record for total original scores written by a single composer… Read More

David Arnold vaults into the Olympics

Thursday, December 1st, 2011 at 9:00 am

David Arnold is, without a doubt, one of the most fun composers in movies. He has a wicked, often dry wit — and yet takes his job very seriously. His five James Bond scores (from Tomorrow Never Dies to Quantum of Solace) took the series in new musical directions while maintaining a stylistic link with… Read More

Christophe Beck, Billion Dollar Composer

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 at 6:00 pm

This was another in a series of composer profiles I’ve recently done for Variety. Chris Beck is one of those guys who has paid his dues, come up through the ranks and emerged as one of our most versatile composers (just contrast The Hangover with The Muppets). I talked to Chris, and several of his… Read More

John Barry obituary and appreciation

Monday, January 31st, 2011 at 10:00 am

This was a tough one to write. I was in South Carolina, visiting my dying brother, when word came that John Barry had died of a massive heart attack. I knew the career so well — and we had been friends for over 20 years — that I was able to write it in my… Read More

Michael Giacchino, profiled in Variety

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 at 9:00 am

I’ve written a number of pieces about Giacchino over the years but this was one of my favorites. Another in Variety‘s series of “Billion Dollar Composer” sections, it offered a chance to place his career in a bigger context; the main story recounts his own background and sprinkles in quotes from directors J.J. Abrams and… Read More