THIS record features music written for the Todd Solondz movie ‘Storytelling’. As some of the group had admired Mr. Solondz’s work in the past, when he expressed the desire for us to write some music for his new film we immediately made our way to New York City armed with high hopes, dreams of great artistic endeavour and a copy of the ‘Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid’ soundtrack.
However, once ensconced in the process of film scoring not only our fate but our true nature seemed to emerge. Soon we were behaving like veteran hacks composing seventies style sitcom jingles on demand and churning out songs with lyrics referring to the action of the plot, a bit like the Colonel’s staff songwriters in the Sixties who hacked out all those appalling Elvis Presley soundtracks (although to be fair every one of those contained a classic e.g. ‘Rock A Hula Baby’ on ‘Blue Hawaii’ but this is hardly the place for a critique of the King).
So there we were, yoked up to the TV monitor with them big American Movie people cracking the whip. But to be honest this was no bad thing and working within the framework of a collaborative endeavour is incredibly satisfying even if the pleasure is sometimes garnished with the occasional disappointment e.g. the movie consisted of two halves and originally we were commissioned to write the second half of the movie, then at some point we were asked to do the whole thing (whoopee) but then later on still we found ourselves back to just the second half. Oh well, too many tunes and not enough celluloid time. Fair enough in my opinion; the Director has got to get his vision down after all. Anyway, as a result, not everything got used.
‘Fiction’ and its variations including ‘Freak’ were written for the first half of the movie and are included in extended form for your listening pleasure. We had three goes at writing a song for the finishing credits, each one focusing on a different character in the film. These were ‘Wandering Alone’, which refers to aspects of Consuelo’s imagined family history, ‘Big John Shaft’, which was written for the actor portraying “Mr. Scott” the English lecturer and ‘Storytelling’, which was written as an ode to Todd himself (guess which one he picked?)
‘Black and White Unite’ is not so much representative of the movie but more that bittersweet, slightly decaying summer feeling in the air when we were putting this record together (the tune however is based on a leftover theme from the film). ‘I Don’t Want To Play Football’ comes from the second half although the scene was deleted in the final cut. All the other tunes are featured in some form and are adapted here for LP format.
And that’s that. The film has been released, the reviews have been written, and Todd has moved on to pastures new. This record contains parts and fragments of the story he came to tell but if there is a story on this record, it should be regarded primarily as our own. I suppose it’s time for the group to be moving on also, although in leaving I have to be honest and say that in my view ‘Storytelling’ is a great film and that this is a cracking record, maybe the best one we’ve made in a while but look … it’s just my opinion and … what do I know?
Stevie Jackson, FEB 2002
IN February 2001, we flew to New York to record some music for the Todd Solondz film, ‘Storytelling’. We had already recorded some ideas in Glasgow before we went across. Todd kept saying, ‘I love it all, but it’s not right for the movie’. We just didn’t know what was right for the movie.
Figuring out what is right can be a long, but enjoyable, process. Todd told us that the music he wanted to link some scenes should be the audio representation of a housewife stroking her favourite soap flakes box.
What ended up being right for the movie amounted to about 6 minutes of music. What wasn’t right, we developed, and all of it is on this LP.
Mick Cooke, DEC 2001