- War Zone Buy 21:25
When I explored a commercial music career move to Chicago in 1988, I arrived to become one of hundreds of commercial music composers here in Chicago. I knew that there would be significant challenges to compete as a jingle and underscore writer in a ferociously competitive market; Chicago was the third-largest city in America in the late 1980s, (and still is today). Yet, I had a small advantage: I owned two New England Digital Synclaviers, a massive electronic digital workstation encompassing a synthesizer, comp, sound sampler, and emerging technology with hard disk recording to produce vocals and narrators. Costing over $300,000 each, it was a formidable expense, but it did give me some credibility in a ten-times larger market than Cincinnati.
At this point, I need to mention my dear friend Alan Schulman, who at my age 33, invited me to come to Chicago. I’ll always remember him telling me: “I’ll give you your first two jingles; after that you’re on your own.” It was a huge career decision which changed my life for the better. I will always owe a tremendous debt of appreciation and gratitude to Alan. He worked with me as a “reviewer” as the War Zone soundtrack developed. During this time, I wrote jingles and underscore for top Chicago advertising agencies: Leo Burnett, Foote Cone & Belding, DDB Needham, A Eicoff, among many others.
My agents at the time introduced me to a Chicago film producer, Roger Barski. Mr. Barski had shot a film with a working title of War Zone, and now he was looking for a music composer. I competed with four or five other Chicago composers, scoring the opening theme which you’ll hear as this recording of “excerpts” begins. Roger told me that within a few minutes of hearing mine, he knew it was exactly what he wanted for the film. Unbeknownst to him, my commercial music production had dried up for a period of 6 to 7 months and this feature film score was really all that kept me staying in Chicago and not turning around and giving up and just going back to Cincinnati.
The Synclavier is featured throughout, as well as the digital guitar interface which was made famous by Pat Metheny and John McLaughlin. Yep, I had one too; although I never had their fame of course. There is some live saxophone, violin samples, but all the other parts were performed by me: Synclavier, live guitar, live basses.
The setting of the film was, you guessed it, on the south side of Chicago. To this day, not much has changed: that region of Chicago is still referred to by law enforcement officials, politicians, and the media as the War Zone…