Gary Chang Talks FIREWALKER - 5 ?'s

Check out our latest entry into our 5 Questions segment! Composer Gary Chang sits down and talks about the CD premiere of his score to "Firewalker"!  CD ORDER:

1. Tell us how you became involved with “Firewalker”.

- I was finishing "52 Pickup" on the Cannon sound stage with John Frankenheimer when the call came for "Firewalker." I was a big WWII buff when I was a kid, and "The Guns of Navarone" was one of my favorite films, so I jumped at the chance to work with J. Lee Thompson!

2. Did the director/producers give you any ideas/thoughts/suggestions on what they wanted in the score?

- Not specifically, but they wanted an electronic score with an orchestral context; much of the temp score was from J. Lee's previous Cannon film - King Solomon's Mines. I couldn't take the film seriously, though. It was too wacky in places, where the acting was campy, or the special effects were obviously not very subtle to score it as a straight-ahead adventure. It had to be lighter.

3. Do you remember any particular scene that was tricky to score or difficult in finding the right mixture of electronics?

- One has to consider the time when this film was made - 1986. I had an early MIDI synthesizer setup, a 24 track recorder, a VCR and a synchronizer. All of the cues were recorded on 20 or less mono tracks and mixed to an encoded stereo surround on the same reel of 2." So, unlike today's aesthetic with unlimited tracks and everything synchronizing instantly, Firewalker was created in a very limited space where we had to creatively use every bit of resources that we had.
Oh, yes, one other thing; there wasn't any time!!! So, we camped out in my home recording studio in Newhall, CA and made the score....

4. Did you have any live players, any soloist you want to give a shout out to?

- Fortunately, I had some pretty amazing people along for the ride. Ken Caillat, the famed producer of Fleetwood Mac's Rumors and Tusk was the recording engineer and mixer; Jack Daro and Curt Taylor Neishloss contributed bass and guitars, respectively.

5. A few years ago a documentary came out called “Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story Of Cannon Films”, did you happen to see it and was working for Cannon that time really that “interesting” to say the least?

- I did not see that documentary, although, at the most recent BMI Composer's banquet this past spring, I communicated with a couple executives at Canon when I was around ...

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