Face To Face With The Masters
Any citizen of the galaxy may be summoned to answer to the Jedi Council. Here you may read the transcripts of such sessions.
Cellblock 1138 - 1997-1999 - 2000 - 2002 - 2003+
April 2000, Paul Davidson
1977 soon after the release of Star
a fantastic album by musical artist Meco came out, with
one of the greatest and certainly the funkiest renditions
of the John Williams' Star Wars music ever created. Meco's
latest album is the brand-new Dance
Your Asteroids Off, featuring all of his music inspired
by the original trilogy and some new groovin' Episode
is proud to have had the opportunity to speak with Meco
a bit and share his thoughts on his work with our readers.
Where did you
get your start in the music industry? What got you into
disco in particular?
I studied trombone and got a masters degree at the Eastman
School of Music. Incidentally, one of my classmates was
Chuck Mangione ("Feels So Good"). After three years stationed
at West Point, I went to New York City to become a studio
session player, gradually making enough connections to also
arrange for other people such as Tommy James and Neil Diamond.
I started a little production company in 1974 and one of
the first artists we signed was Gloria Gaynor, ("Never Can
Say Goodbye" and "I Will Survive"), and the rest, as they
say, is history.
What inspired you to do the original wonderful Star Wars
STAR WARS first came to the theaters in 1977, no one, including
George Lucas, thought it would even do enough business to"break-even".
Because I was an avid Science Fiction fan, I saw the first
10:00 showing the first day and was so impressed I went
back the next day to see it 3 times in a row. I absolutely
loved the music. I was aware of the many great and beautiful
themes John Wiliams had written and bought the soundtrack.
I got my inspiration when I played the soundtrack and realized
I could not "re-create" the visuals from listening to it.
I wanted to hear the space ships, R2D2, the Light Sabers,
the creatures sounds, etc. I approached two record companies
with the following thought - I BELIEVE THIS WILL BE THE
BIGGEST MOVIE OF ALL-TIME. YOU'VE SEEN THE MOVIE - NOW DANCE
TO IT!!! Casablanca Records said yes and within one month,
I had a finished recording which went on to reach platinum
status - one million albums and two million singles (one
of only 60 platinum singles ever awarded).
I see that a lot of your other music is inspired by movies
-- which movies are your favourite, and inspire you the
Wars and Close Encounters remain my favorite two of those
that I recorded. My biggest disappointment was not being
able to record ET- The Extraterestrial - one of my favorites.
are some of your other achievements (musical and otherwise)?
What are you most proud of?
My production team, Tony Bongiovi and Harold Wheeler, along
with a genius named Tom Moulton were the first to release
an album of dance music which featured three songs with
no break in between. That album was the classic "Never Can
Say Goodbye" by Gloria Gaynor. I also co-produced the first
album of an unknown sax player named Kenny G.
What was your reaction to the huge success of your 1997
I was very pleased but disappointed. The CD was called "The
Best of Meco", but it did not include my three albums with
Arista Records which would have allowed the CD to include
all my versions from The Trilogy, as I recorded music inspired
by Return of the Jedi with Arista.
do you like best about your latest funky Star Wars release?
Since I am the Artist, producer and owner of my new "The
Complete STAR WARS Collection", I was able, just like George
did with the 20th anniversary Special Editions, re-work
my music from the first three films. Most artists are never
completely satisfied with their work, so it was great after
23 years, to revisit my earlier work. Here, unlike "The
Best of Meco",I could finally include my versions of music
inspired by ALL FOUR FILMS! I changed tempos, added sound
effects and some dialogue and re-edited and re-equalized
them. For The Phantom Menace, I recorded John Williams'
"Duel of the Fates/Augie's Municipal Band" and two new songs
inspired by the film. "Cousin Jar Jar" is about an incident
during the Los Angeles premiere of The Phantom Menace. After
the screening, a huge party was held at Millennium, a new
Disco on Sunset. It was widely reported as a night to remember
by all. Midway through the bacchanal, in the wee small hours
of the morning, with hundreds of frustrated people still
lined up aaround the block, a curious event supposedly occurred.
The crowd came alive and in a single voice, started chanting,
"JAR JAR, JAR JAR, JAR JAR". Someone, whom everyone thought
was Jar Jar Binks and a party of 6 from Naboo, stepped out
of a Gungen limo. The crowd surged towards the Gungens,
feverishly trying to get autographs, imploring Jar Jar to
dance for them. But he kept denying that he was, in fact,
Jar Jar. Some people reported seeing him awkwardly attempting
to dance the Macarena. Finally, he and his fellow Gungans
slipped out the back door of the Millennium, jumped into
their Limo, and sped off into the night. And if he was,
as he claimed, Jar Jar's cousin from Brooklyn, he had a
long drive ahead of him, indeed......... The other original
song is "A Jedi Knight", a haunting female vocal number,
with inspirational "force"-driven lyrics over a crisp Latin
What did you think of Episode 1?
Let me tell you what I think of all of them...... Episode
IV - MAGICAL! Episode V - MAGICAL! Episode VI - MAGICAL!
Episode I - MAGICAL!
Whom would you rather spend an evening with -- George Lucas,
or John Williams? :)
Since I am, obviously a "film music" fan, you ask the impossible
in choosing between the two most brilliant proponents of
those arts. In my view, no one creates film magic better
than George Lucas. As for John Williams, I was recently
asked in an interview, "What's your opinion on the evolution
of the music of Star Wars?" My answer was and is, "In my
opinion there is no evolution in the Star Wars music. As
long as John Williams is the composer, the films will all
sound essentially the same. That is, they will be performed
by huge symphony orchestras, lovingly conducted by John
himself, playing the most thrilling and inspired themes
that are in the heart and soul of the greatest film composer
of all time."
So what's next?
Along with millions of other fans, I am counting the days
for the magic and mystery to return in Episode II..........
I thought I was
a die-hard fan! By the way, anyone interested in getting
a copy of Meco's latest CD with his complete Star Wars collection,
or just listening to some music clips from it, should go
to his website, www.mecoman.com.
Thanks again, Meco!