July 25, 2015 - One of my favorite subversive things to do as a composer on a television show that reaches millions of children all around the world is to include stylistic musical homages to my favorite artists. I consider it a form of sonic philanthropy to pass along the wisdom of the ‘unsung’ artists that have so greatly influenced me. In the case of this weeks episode of Harvey Beaks titled “Dad Band,” I found an opportunity to create a tribute to to one of the greatest American pop/rock bands of the last 30 years: The Pixies.
Granted, i’m not allowed to lift any phrase from a Pixies song, so what I do instead is try and think like the Pixies would. From Kim Deal’s trademark “la la la” back up vocals and her driving bass lines, to Black Francis’ unconventional chord changes on his telecaster which are overlaid by an abrasive, yet simple melodic phrase by guitarist Joey Santiago. All these elements make up the language of the Pixies and that’s what I try to decipher and re-interpret when I write in the manner of any of my musical heroes.
I had the honor of playing banjo on stage with Black Francis on the Pixies song “Monkey Gone to Heaven” back in 2010. Now to see if I can get him to sing on an episode of Harvey Beaks! Hmm…
tl;dr- Listen to the Pixies.