The Fistful of Soundtracks Internet radio station has been streaming film and TV score music since 2002. One of my favorite film and TV composers is Ennio Morricone. When I dabbled in college radio and picked A Fistful of Soundtracks
as a show title, it was a shout-out to Morricone, whose score music from the Fistful of Dollars
trilogy, A Fistful of Dynamite
(a.k.a. Duck, You Sucker
) and Once Upon a Time in the West
is fantastic work, although in more recent years, I've gotten more enjoyment out of Morricone's slightly more experimental-sounding scores outside the spaghetti western genre. I actually don't like having A Fistful of Soundtracks as the station name anymore. Instead of reusing a show title from college radio, I should have chosen a station name that emphasized the score music format as opposed to the broader term of "soundtracks" (like ScoreTime or something).
A Fistful of Soundtracks also makes people think I'm a Clint Eastwood fan and a right-winger, and I'm neither. I wish I could downsize the name to just AFOS, which I've been more commonly calling it these days, but changing it would require recording new sweepers, and I don't have the cash. I'm like Bill Lawrence. He regrets calling his show Cougar Town
, but he can't change the title because doing so would screw up his viewers' DVR season passes.
The station originated as the aforementioned radio program of the same name, which I hosted and produced from 1997 to 2002 on terrestrial radio and from 2002 to 2008 on AFOS. I began the program while I was a UC Santa Cruz student because I wanted to bring to the local airwaves a film music radio series that was much like the programs I used to hear on either Bay Area radio or at the multiplex (before the feature presentation would start). I didn't want to play typical college radio music, so I rebelled and started A Fistful of Soundtracks
, which first aired on Friday, June 21, 1997 at 12:30am. The only Santa Cruzans listening to the radio at 12:30am are either gas station clerks or paranoid potheads who have no choice but to flick on the radio because they're afraid their TV sets are going to attack them and do some creepy Videodrome
thing with one of their orifices or something. This wasn't the audience I was looking for, but hey, I had to start somewhere.
The cutting edge
Film and TV score music isn't just John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Danny Elfman. AFOS streams material by those greats and many others, but film and TV score music is also the RZA, Asheru's theme song from The Boondocks
(my favorite original TV theme with lyrics), Adrian Younge, David Holmes and synth acts like Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx, M83 and Flying Lotus, who are making the jump to feature films and writing cutting-edge scores that are as brilliant as anything written for the screen by classically trained composers.
AFOS streams all of the above artists, except for Asheru because Whitey caused me to misplace the mp3 I had of the Boondocks
So the next time you dismiss Daft Punk or some other pop, rock or hip-hop artist before you even hear a single note of their film score, take a minute, think about your misgivings, maybe go and sample some of their previous work before forming an opinion and stop acting like an oddly conservative putz. You might end up enjoying what you'll hear. Like Conan O'Brien said on Jeff Garlin's By the Way
podcast, "There's nothing sadder than a 49-year-old man saying, 'What's with this rrrrrock n' rrroll music?'"--Jim