CHRIS HORVATH

Twentysomething years experience in all things musical... and still diggin' it.

Games at The Sound Lab...

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I’ve finally made my first foray into the world of music and sound for video games which has been a fun new world to explore. It’s given me a chance to write in a different way and I must say, most of the music has to be pretty intense and bombastic so that’s always fun.


All of the projects have been for The Sound Lab at Technicolor which is headed up by Scott Gershin and Exec Producer Debbie Gonzalez. In addition to music, I’ve had the chance to produce and even direct some of the VO for these projects and that has been a blast. The voice actors are great to work with and it’s incredible what they can bring to a project with their versatility and creativity.

I look forward to more projects here but I hope they don’t find out that I’ve never really played video games. Shhh....

A Little Something For Your Birthday...

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Working on this movie which stars Sharon Stone, Tony Goldwyn, and Ellen Burstyn was truly a birthday present come early. The film is a RomCom with the message that it’s never too late to find yourself and your path. It was directed by Susan Walter and produced by Gary Preisler and Matt Brady.

The score was fun to do because the on screen performances were great and Susan is very musical (a trained violinist); she was very clear about what she wanted and was comfortable speaking in broad creative terms as well as specific musical ones.

Another fun aspect was that I got to work with Dave Limina, an awesome piano player in Boston. Piano was heavily featured in the score and I wanted someone who could play authentic rootsy-bluesy parts with enough versatility to adapt to the needs of a film score. He
nailed it and I was able to work seamlessly with him even though we were thousands of miles apart. Jim Wheeler also added his sexy mojo with some awesome sax playing.

I also had the pleasure of writing the end credit song, “Sooner Or Later”, with Randi Soyland, who performed it on the soundtrack as well. Randi has always been one of my favorite people to write with because we spend as much time laughing as we do writing.

I hope to work with this whole team again because it really was a great experience.

Concert Across America...

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I served as one of the musical directors, along with Mike Lennon, as well as played keyboards for the Concert Across America, which was broadcast live from Santa Barbara, CA. It was a great show with Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, and Christopher Cross among others. To start things out, Venice played some of our own tunes and then served as the house band for the night.


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It was a lot to get together very quickly and we only had soundcheck the afternoon of the show to rehearse, but sometimes flying by the seat of your pants is kind of fun and exhilarating and keeps you on your toes.


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I’m so grateful to play with my musical brothers in Venice for shows like this and was psyched to have Curt Bisquera sit in and play some droomz as well. Trusty Rusty Conway (the greatest stage mgr in rock & roll) and Harry Rabin kept the production train on the tracks.

Playing live is about as fun as it gets and playing with artists like these is always a blast... plus, the green room catering was seriously great. On to the next one...

Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Etc...

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For quite a while I’ve been writing music for shows like Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition, Rachel Ray, eXtra, and others.

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This is all done via DiamondMine Productions which is the company of music supervisor and UNRIVALED party host, Mike Egizzi. The projects are always fun because they vary widely in what needs to be done for any given show and that changes more often than the seasons in New England... so it’s never boring.

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It’s cool to be part of this sort of “composer co-op” and get together every few months for a big dinner and to talk shop with other people who don’t tune out when you start talking about gear and chord structures.

It’s been fun and I look forward to much more.

SESAC Awards...

Ya know... it’s nice to get cleaned up and get out of the studio now and again so it was especially fun to go to the SESAC Film & TV Awards for the second time since I joined in 2016.

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It’s a great night and I’m grateful to everyone’s favorite PRO executive Erin Collins for all the help she and her team provide throughout the year. This is always a great party and ceremony where I get to hang with people I’ve known forever but rarely see.


SESAC 3 Amigos

Here’s a picture of the boys from the cool kids table... with Dave Feldstein and Eric Berdon.

SONA Summit Keynote...

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For a few years I have been on the steering committee for the Songwriters Of North America (SONA). This is a grass roots organization that advocates for fair pay for creators of music, who have seen revenues for streamed music go to fractions of fractions of a penny.


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I was honored to give the Keynote Address for the 2017 SONA Summit at the Village Recorder in Los Angeles. It was attended by a capacity crowd of leading songwriters, composers, and musicians who create many of today’s hit songs.

We looked at what the future may hold and how we as stakeholders can advocate for a better and more reasonable rate of compensation when our music is used and performed both domestically and around the world.

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It was a great night and you could feel the energy in the room of the community really coming together. The excitement was helped along by a great performance by Dave Bassett, who I’ve written with many times. He played his hit songs “Exes & Ohs” and “Fight Song” which really brought the house down.

To find out more about SONA and how you can be part of the solution, please click
HERE.

Jimmy Shubert - Zero Tolerance...

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I got a call from Dave Van Slyke at Slick Sounds LA about the new Jimmy Shubert comedy special called “Zero Tolerance”. It seemed they needed a theme that would reflect his gritty but timeless humor that he honed from his youth on the streets of Philadelphia.

It was fun to do and we ended up going with a rat-pack jazz styled theme which is cool with me because I so rarely get to do that stuff anymore.

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I assembled a travel-sized big band of my favorite players and recorded it at TriTone Studios under the watchful ear of Talley Sherwood, who made it sound great.

Check out “Zero Tolerance” when you can; it’s like eating the world’s best Philly Cheese-Steak that’s also hilarious.

Casual...

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I was very happy that a song from one of my favorite album projects was featured on the new hit series “Casual” on the HULU network. The title track from the David Isaacs album “Timebomb” was used in episode 6 of the first season of this very cool new show.


Songs are like your kids in many ways - some live in your basement and never get a job, and some go out into the world and eventually find their way. I remember writing “Timebomb” with Dave like it was yesterday and we were both psyched to see that it’s held up over all this time. Many thanks to editor Dana Glauberman who found the song and got the ball rolling.

Merry Christmas Movies...

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My friend Dave Feldstein and I wrote and recorded several Christmas songs for a slate of holiday movies produced by Hybrid Films. “A Christmas Reunion”, “12 Gifts Of Christmas”, and “The Flight Before Christmas” will all air multiple times this holiday season so set the DVR, bust out the egg-nog and get your Yuletide on!

These films were really fun because we did so many different styles including full big band, rocked up blues, jazz, and funky second-line New Orleans tunes.

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The music was brought to life by some of LA’s best, including singers Robbie Wyckoff and Beverly Staunton, and musicians Matt Laug, Javier Gonzales, Eric Patterson, Tom Whaley, and Duke Ramsey.

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I love working with Dave because it never feels like work. But it seems that when you spend so much time in the studio on so many projects over the years... you somehow start to dress alike.

Elias Arts...

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I was asked to write some music for the Elias Arts library and was glad to have the chance to work with this particular music house which is almost an institution in the world of advertising and production music.

Great team, great time, great experience all around. I’m looking forward to more...

KB Home Campaign...

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When the folks at Managed Digital Media in Santa Monica called up about some music for the new KB Home commercial, no one would have guessed that there would eventually become a 15 spot package - but it was.

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The Managed Digital team of David LaRosa, Chandos Erwin, and Matt Moss did a great job shooting and producing these spots that featured different families telling their story of building their first homes.

They were a pleasure to work with and I’m definitely looking forward to the next time.

USC Thornton School of Music...

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I had the pleasure of doing several master classes for the graduate students of the USC Thornton School of Music’s film & tv scoring program. This has been such a great experience because the students, the faculty, and the program are really fantastic.

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For those concerned for the future of music I would say there is little to worry about - there is some pretty great talent coming up the road behind us and the future looks very bright. Thanks so much to Dan Carlin, Dick McIlvery, and Jon Burlingame for having me. I’m grateful to be involved with such a cool program.

Julius Jr. Songs...

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This season I had had a blast writing several of the featured songs for the hit kid’s show “Julius Jr.” produced by Saban Entertainment and airing on Nick Jr.

Each episode has a story line that is a lesson about friendship, character, or working hard. The shows always end with a featured song that sums up the story and emphasizes the message. These were fun to write because the music isn’t supposed to sound like kids music (which a lot different than the shows I grew up on!). The creative team really allowed the songwriters to write real songs that would appeal to both kids and their parents.

Ken Stacey brought his vocal mojo to the songs and was chosen to be the voice of the show so he sang every song I wrote.

JC Quintero & Melissa Flores kept things on course for Saban.

August Empire...

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The August Empire is a band comprised of Dante Marchi and Liz Constantine out of Nashville. They write really great songs with a cool organic feel and sound - real music by real musicians. So I was very psyched when they called and asked me to add some keyboards to the album.

It was a blast to to do and I’d do it again anytime because the music is just so good. I have a lot of their stuff in my iPod and listen to it often - I recommend you do too ;-)

Woo Agency...

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I had the chance to work with a great ad agency on 2 different product campaigns; The Woo Agency located in Culver City, CA.


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They first called me to score their very creative commercial for Lenovo called “Unbearable”. It was a long form spot that had me chuckling from the first time I saw it. The spot used both original music as well as a track from the Jamnation Music library.



Ooma
I also scored a spot for Ooma internet phones. The spot was beautifully shot and it was fun to write some music that was earthy and organic to play against this very hi-tech product.

Valeria Moizel, Trish Rigby, and Lyla Wright were the creatives for Woo and great to work with.

Sunwing Travel Group...

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I’ve been working with the team at Sunwing Group Canada for several years creating music for their various ad campaigns.

This year we worked together to create new theme songs for both Sunwing Vacations and Signature Vacations, which then became their new radio and tv spots for all of Canada.

The spots were produced in both English and French. The French vocalists were recorded in Montreal via a Skype session which Luc Tellier contracted and engineered.

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Jacqueline Grossman, Nadia Granata, and Stuart Morris were the creatives for Sunning. I look forward to the next project and it occurred to me that I just might ask to be paid in a nice trip to a small island somewhere instead of money. Hmmmm.....

Colin Hay/Stephen Bishop Show...

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Another year, another Artists For The Arts concert to raise money for arts education in public schools. This year the guest artists were Colin Hay (solo, Men At Work), and Stephen Bishop. Once again I was musical director along with Mike Lennon.

These shows are always a huge but fun undertaking which involve a large string section, horn section, guest vocalists, and a ton of production. But you know what? It’s worth it. Not only is the show itself a blast and always a sell out, but the money raised goes to a worthy cause in this era of slashed and decimated arts education budgets.

You can learn more about Artists For The Arts by clicking
HERE.

Parents Just Don't Understand...

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I wrote the main theme and score to this show hosted by Joey Fatone - where parents and kids switch roles to get a taste of what each other’s life is like. The show was produced by 51Minds and is currently running on Discovery Family & HUB if you want to check it out.


“Parents just DON’T understand!!!!” I used to say it to my parents - and now I HEAR it... from
my kid. Payback’s a bitch.

Venice In Holland...

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I consider the guys in the band Venice to be not only great friends of mine, but among the best singers anywhere. I’ve been lucky enough to tour and record with these guys for over 20 years. In that time we’ve played in the U.S. and Europe to the types of fans you only dream of.





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During the most recent tour of Holland we played at the Bospop Festival for almost 30,000 Dutch fans. Touring there is always a blast because we’ve made a lot of friends over the years and the production crews are among the best.

Learn more about Venice and check the tour dates page to see where you can absorb some of their amazing sun-soaked harmonies by clicking
HERE..

CWRU "Colloquia" Lecture Series...

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When I had the opportunity to go to Cleveland to be a guest speaker as part of the Case Western Reserve University Colloquia Lecture Series - I jumped at the chance. The Colloquia Series features people from all walks of the music profession speaking about various aspects of what they do.

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The talk I presented was titled “Why Music Publishing?” which addressed the importance of composers understanding the various sources of revenue for music they create, and how these sources are impacted in the digital age.

Many many thanks to Dr. Robert Walser and the music department for having me. I am definitely looking forward to the next time.

Christian Dupree DVD Shoot...

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Christian Dupree is a talented songwriter I’d worked with before both live and in the studio. This time it was both.

Christian did a DVD of 10 songs called “Pursuit Of Happiness” that we recorded all
live (I know it sounds crazy... 5 musicians all playing & singing at the same time.... in one space.... TOGETHER).




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It was a multi-cam project shot at a very cool space in Venice Beach by a great video team from Sweden. Christian played guitar and sang, and the band was Erik Eldenius (dr), Mike Lennon (gtr & banjo), Mark Harris (bs), and me on keyboards.

I can’t tell you how much fun it was to play and record LIVE and hang with good friends that very long day, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Christian is definitely worth checking out and you can do so by clicking
HERE.

What Summer Brings...

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The band Venice was long overdue for a new album and they went back into the studio armed with plenty of ideas and material. So much so that they decided to make their new album “What Summer Brings” a double CD with 20 songs.

I added some keyboards but the real fun was doing the horn arrangements for the album. Horns are something I’ve always loved and being able to bring that love to the bands latest project was an opportunity I was grateful for.

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During the sessions we had Dan Fornero, Ed Wynne, Mark Hollingsworth, Eric Patterson, and Tom Whaley making up the various sections.

Mike Lennon produced the album and you can grab it from iTunes or the Venice website by clicking
HERE.

Katie Couric Show...

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The fine folks at ABC asked me to write and produce some music for feature segments of the Katie! show. I also created a new version of “Rockin’ Robin” by Bobby Day with the vocal help of Dante Marchi - one of my fav singers in town and always a great hang. The ever capable and charming Kim Oliver of ABC music discreetly looked over my shoulder to keep it all on track.

AHMIR Live In Nashville...

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I was lucky to get called for a really fun project with a group from Boston called AHMIR when they needed someone to arrange and conduct live strings for a gig in Nashville at The Opryland Convention Center.


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We ended up using many of the musicians from the Nashville Symphony and The Nashville String Machine and they really nailed it - great players and really easy to work with.


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Working with AHMIR was cool because these guys can really sing and are a great hang. The rehearsal and show were the same day and it went smooth as silk in large part because show producers Kristy Beresford and Ben Moorsom really ran a tight ship.

I hope to work with these guys again and wish them continued good luck in everything they’re doing. Check them out right HERE.

Worked...

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I wrote the original music for a new TBS pilot called “Worked” that really takes pranks to a new level. The show also drew heavily on music from the Jamnation Music catalog which has become a trusted music source for media companies in the US as well as Europe.

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The show was produced by 51 Minds who I had worked with before on “America’s Next Top American”. If you get some sort of perverse pleasure out of watching people fall victim to someones evil plan then you’ll enjoy this show.

My Wife & Kids...

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Not MY wife and kids - I mean the ones on the hit TV show with Keenan Wayans. I had a good time writing a bunch of music for the international DVD release of the show including a special episode with guest star Betty White.


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It was a fun and easy project and I got to do some music that was a nice change of pace. But it got me thinking… what tv show HASN’T Betty White been on?

Jackson Browne/Gary Wright Show...

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Venice once again hosted the Artists For The Arts show at Barnum Hall in Santa Monica with guest artists Jackson Browne and Gary Wright. I was once again musical director with my partner in crime Mike Lennon and Venice served as the house band.

This is always a highlight of the year and we’ve played so many times with Jackson that it’s really comfortable. Gary Wright was a welcome addition and it was a blast playing his hits “Dream Weaver”, “My Love Is Alive”, and others.

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Having an orchestra and horn section at your disposal is always good and gave us the opportunity to play some pretty cool songs with that instrumentation including some of Jackson’s songs from “The Pretender” album. I just love writing for large groups like that and always look forward to any chance to

This year the demand for tickets was so great they added a second night after the first one sold out so quicky. You can learn more about AFTA by clicking HERE.

GCB...

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I was musical director on 2 episodes of the ABC 1 hour dramadey “GCB”, based on the best selling book “Good Christian Bitches” - a devilish tale of suburban church ladies.


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For the first episode I produced a stripped down version of “Jesus Take The Wheel”. For the other episode I produced three songs including a huge rock/gospel version of “Jesus Is Just Alright With Me”. The songs were sung by cast members Miriam Shor, Mark Deklin, and Kristin Chenoweth (of “Wicked” & “Glee”). This was a pretty involved project and was recorded at several studios including Glenwood Place, Capitol A, Dave’s Rock Shack, and as always - The Cactus Tree Motel.


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The gospel choir was made up of Dorian Holley, Dave Feldstein, Tanya Anton, Alvin Chea, Nayanna Holley, and Janis Leibhart. We had a blast recording it and I kind of wish these folks were just hanging around the lounge for whenever I might need BG vox... but that could get expensive. Mighty Matt Laug totally brought the rock on drums and I played everything else.


But the real trip were the shooting days. It involved a stunt crew, a hundred extras, and wire-fly harnesses for the actors. I’m really glad working in my studio involves none of that.

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The cast & crew were great to work with and music supervisor extraordinaire Frankie Pine was on hand to keep it all running smoothly.

The Mending...

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Every time I get a call from Director Colin Campbell I know I’m in for a good time but probably very little sleep. He asked me to score a project he was doing as part of the Debra Hill FIlm Festival for the Producers Guild of America.


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The idea is to create a film in 48hrs based on some creative direction given on a Friday afternoon. The teams then write the script, shoot, edit, score, and do all post production on the film by Sunday at noon. As you can imagine it’s a breakneck pace, but it’s nice to just move quickly and not get bogged down in opinions and decisions like is so often the case ;-).

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I was totally impressed with the script by John Sylvain which had a nice unexpected twist to it, and by the time I started seeing cuts of scenes (Saturday at 1:30am) I knew this was going to be a good project. Editor Stan Yan did a great job cutting and chopping, and after a few creative phone calls with Colin and FTP transfers to Stan, we made the deadline as the sun came up and then took a well earned nap.

Christian Dupree...

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Working with new artists is always fun and exciting. Finding the sound and vibe of their music is always a cool journey of discovery that you never quite know where it’ll end up.

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Singer/songwriter Christian Dupree and I crossed paths on a gig and decided to try recording some of his music and it was a really great experience and result. I chose one of the songs we had played live called “Try Me Lord” which had a rootsy organic vibe with a tinge of gospel thrown in.

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Christian played guitar and cello and I played percussion, piano, B3, and guitar. Ollie Cornel added a beautiful harmonica track and the BG box were Mark Lennon, Tanya Anton, and Christian.

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Christian and his team are shooting a music video for the song here in Venice, CA. I asked if I be cast in it as a homeless guy, a pedestrian, guy reading the paper, or casual on-looker… but I didn’t get the gig. They did say I have a great look for radio though...

Colour Out Of Space...

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The fine folks of Dark Adventure Theater Company were in again to record two more productions “Colour Out Of Space” and “Herbert West; Re-Animator”. These H.P. Lovecraft stories are great if you like dark, twisted mysteries and they’re produced so you’ll feel like it’s 1940 drama all over again.

I always like working with this fun and talented crew and I hope there’s many more to come.

Grey's Anatomy Music Event

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I was honored & psyched to be hired as Musical Director for the Grey’s Anatomy Music Event - where I produced all 9 featured songs and worked closely with the show’s producers and cast to bring this very unique concept to life. This was a true labor of love - and a long one at that (I hadn’t thought it was possible to spend 3 1/2 months on one episode of a TV drama, but guess what? IT IS!)

I actually started before there was even a script and tailored the production & arrangements to the way the songs were being used in the script to tell the story. But they also had to hold up on their own because the whole thing would also be a soundtrack album.

The episode was a huge success by any measure, seeing a 35% ratings spike with the soundtrack going to number 3 on iTunes within 24 hours of it’s airing. Two of the singles even made it into the Billboard Hot 100(!) and the reviews from critics and fans were generally very positive.

I would do this gig again 10 times because everyone from the producers & cast to the post production team and crew was a pleasure to work with - all at the top of the game and really focused on making the show the best it could be. My only regret was that I didn’t get to work with the show’s composer, Danny Lux. I’m a big fan of what he does and had hoped to work together on some of it but it never worked out... maybe next time.

David Crosby & Jack Johnson Show...

There is no shortage of concert venues in SoCal but the Libby Bowl in Ojai was new to me and I can’t wait to get back there. What a great place…Libby_Bowl


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Venice went there to play a show with David Crosby and be a kind of house band for the day, which was great because we ended up playing with Jack Johnson and a few other folks as well. The show was a benefit for cancer awareness and was a huge success with a sold out crowd of about 1,500.

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We’ve played various gigs with Crosby for years and he has been incredibly kind to us in being such an avid supporter of the band. He’s always a great hang and playing iconic songs like “Ohio”, “Carry On”, “Wooden Ships”, and “Woodstock” with him is always a blast.

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Jack Johnson couldn’t be cooler and is a great player and singer. He jumped in with a few people during the day as well.

This show was a lot of fun because it really had the feel of what a gig in the 70’s must have been like; a bunch of bands in the California sun playing together and hanging to the wee hours. All that was missing were the spinning hippies.

A.N.T. Farm

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A song I wrote called “Play Da Game” was used in the Disney hit show A.N.T. Farm. Originally written for the film “Moron, Loser, & A Coffee Shop” this thumpin’ hip-hop tune has also gotten several placements in other TV shows. Hmmmmm.... maybe now I need a rap name. How about “C-Ho”?

Makin' Mo' Music…

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When not on other projects one thing that occupies my time is creating more music for the Jamnation Music, my boutique music publishing catalog I’ve had for a few years. I recently added over 40 new tracks ranging from radio friendly dance pop and kids songs to dark & dramatic underscore.

You can check out the Jamnation catalog by clicking
HERE.

My Canadian sub-publisher, Music For Productions, also asked for some grandiose sounding inspirational rock. So I created a package of 12 tracks with so much lush sounding/delay soaked guitars that would even make The Edge proud.

You can hear much of the music I’ve done for MFP by clicking
HERE.

Jackson Browne & Glen Phillips AFTA Show...

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Among the most fun concerts I get to do are the shows for Artists For The Arts, and this one was no exception. This is the 9th year that Venice has done these amazing shows and this time our friends Jackson Browne and Glen Phillips from Toad The Wet Sprocket were our special guests, they couldn’t have been cooler to work with.
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Once again I had a 50pc orchestra and a horn section to arrange for and it was really a blast. In addition to our guest artist’s tunes we pulled out some pretty cool stunt songs like “Somebody To Love”, “Live & Let Die”, “Kashmir”, and “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down”. And let’s just say you haven’t lived until you’ve played the last 6 minutes of Abbey Road with an entire orchestra behind you.

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Glen Phillips is a great songwriter and playing his newer material was almost better than playing all the Toad hits. He was completely open to having the orchestral strings on his songs and I was surprised to find out it was the first time he’d ever experienced that because his songs really lend themselves to it.
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We’ve been playing with Jackson a lot over the years and it’s always a great time. We mostly played his hits like and also did “Take It Easy” which he wrote with The Eagles. He has always been incredibly supportive of the band and a great supporter of AFTA, having done several of these concerts.

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Artists For The Arts has raised over $1,000,000 to fund arts education in the face of devastating budget cuts in California’s public schools. Please support their efforts by checking out their website HERE.

The Daily Routine… LIVE!

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I traveled up to Lake Arrowhead for a show with The Daily Routine featuring Charlie Vaughn. Charlie’s songs are what you could call “modern roots rock” or “Folk’n’Roll”. I had the pleasure of arranging some horns for their first album and it was fun to finally get to play live with them.

Mike Lennon and Mark Harris from Venice were in the band and we had a great time playing for about 2,000 people on the main stage of the Arrowhead Summer Concert Series. We also had a great time with a ski boat on the lake for a few days, but I digress...

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Avalon Lennon sang with us and really added a cool dimension to the band, adding some cool harmonies and a couple of nice featured spots including a killer version of “Big Yellow Taxi”.

You can check out the Daily Routine on
iTunes or on MySpace music by clicking HERE.

Playtime…

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I recently spent a few days being exactly what I aspired to be as a teenager in Ohio - a bonehead guitar player - when I did guitar (and some kybd) tracks on 3 CD’s of pop rock songs for the FirstCom Music Library.

The very cool songs were written by Dave Feldstein and were everything from modern radio pop to vibey singer-songwriter singer. Matt Laug (dr) and Lance Morrison (bs) were also on it which made it a blast to play on.

This was a nice change of pace because on almost every project I do, I’m writing, arranging, playing, producing, recording, mixing, and/or ultimately responsible for the whole thing. So having the chance to focus on one thing for 8 hours instead of 8 things in an hour was nice - and I had a chance to really get my callouses back ;-)

Dark Adventures...

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The Dark Adventure Radio Theater was in to record 2 complete radio plays based on the H.P. Lovecraft stories done in an authentic 1930’s vibe. I’ve done several of these shows with writers/producers Andrew Leman and Sean Branney over the years and they really are a blast.


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They always bring the best voice actors who are great to work with and fun to hang with, which makes the 10 hours days way easier.

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On a side note; Sean & Andrew should be tour managers because they’re so incredibly organized. We were never more than 9-10 minutes off the production schedule they created and finished almost 1 hr ahead of time across 4 days. Crazy.

You can check out more about Dark Adventures by clicking
HERE.

Dinosaur Rock...

Creating music for a living may be many things but it’s rarely boring, because no two projects are ever the same.

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The ABC/Henson Studios irreverent hit show “Dinosaurs” needed a bunch of fresh songs for a DVD release and international syndication, one of which had to be sung on camera. But these shows were shot years ago, so the only way to do it was write a whole new song based on the mouth movements of the character Mr. Richfield which was voiced by Sherman Helmsley.

I’d always wanted to try something like this and I must say it was a blast to do. The song I wrote is called “Happy Guy” and is used in two different places in the show. It was kind of like writing while walking backwards through a maze - because the song had to fit the scene and be respectful of the original vibe, but completely different from the song it was replacing, while still being tied to the mouth movements on screen.

A fun way to spend an afternoon and I even did the monster-metal vocal myself... which made me wonder if James Hetfield has a lozenge endorsement.

School's In...

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I was honored to be asked to speak to students of the UCLA Film & TV Music program at Dodd Hall. This was a very sharp group who kept up with a talk I gave called “Composer Conundrums”.


Students were presented with several real world scenarios and had to analyze and navigate their way through both good and bad situations through discussion and role play exercises. I was surprised at how well they did considering they had yet to actually experience any of these examples in real life - they had obviously been well taught by their course instructor Peter Neff.

Thanks to all the students who sent along such kind words about the talk in emails. Remember... send me your good news!

Bed Of Nails

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It’s not often in this business that you read a script or see a pilot that really grabs you and makes you want to be a part of it. But I have to admit this was the case with “Bed Of Nails” - the new tv series from writer director Ben Parrillo.

I’d worked with Ben on two previous film projects and when we were sitting around one day doing not much of anything (as is often the case in this biz) I asked what else he was up to.

Ben_P_And_Girl
That conversation led to me composing and consulting for the “Bed Of Nails” trailer/promo which has been garnering considerable attention and buzz. If you like real life drama and stories you can relate to - go check out the traiier and support the show...

You can see it and get the show info by clicking
HERE.

Rock Of Ages... Still Rollin'

Chris&Gibbs
I once again found myself spending the better part of a weekend in the studio with my good friend Dave Gibbs as we created a new medley to end the London production of Rock Of Ages. I’m not allowed to spoil the surprise but let’s just say there’s a new mash up of mega hits by a band best described as a very “hard of hearing spotted jungle cat” (wink-wink) with a measure of Euro-Pop thrown in for good measure.


Gibbs
Working on this show both live and in the studio has really been a lot of fun and it’s been amazing to see it go from a little show in West Hollywood to Broadway and worldwide success. Got to the show’s site and see where you and your friends can re-live the 80’s hair bands in all their hilarious glory by clicking HERE.

School's In… Again

CH_SHHS3
They say you can never go home again… that may be true but I had a crazy experience that was pretty close. While in Cleveland I made a stop at my old high school, Shaker High, to give a talk on writing music to picture in film & tv for about 150 music students.

I normally give these talks to college students or young professionals, but I was surprised at the level of questions and quick comprehension these students had. Thanks to the band director, Tom Deep and his amazing staff, the award winning music program is alive and well with over 1/3 of the school enrolled in one of the many ensembles they have.

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Amazingly, I ran into Jeff Pattie who was MY band director in Shaker middle school. He’s still there and it was great to chat and catch up.

When I think back to what a handful I was for some of my teachers I can only imagine what they’d think if they knew I was teaching a class there.

Hallelujah!!!

Hallelujah_Session
I had the pleasure of writing and producing a song for the new ABC / Marc Cherry pilot called “Hallelujah!” I knew it was a great project when I read the script - which was fantastic. Though the show had very strong support from ABC as well as unbelievable press, hype, and buzz, it’s currently been pushed back for the 2012 season, with the main star Jesse L. Martin still attached.

The song I did is called “Hallelujah, He Is Here!” and it was done almost completely accapella - which was a blast. It was brought to life by some of LA’s best session singers at Glenwood studios in Burbank. The singers included Dorian Holley, Alvin Chea, Edie Lehman-Boddicker, Antonio Sol, Tanya Anton, Carmel Echols, & Jasper Randall.
Hallelujah_Alvin


The show then hired those singers plus 20 more as the on camera choir for the actual shoot. Dawn Soler from ABC and music supervisor Frankie Pine made sure the choir looked the part with some very nice choreography. A really cool and “small world” twist to this was that my good friend Eve Nelson - who I knew 25 years ago in Boston - was also producing songs for the show so we had some good laughs on the set and in the in-betweens of the sessions.

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Oh, yeah... please notice the nice shiny green choir robes on this already good lookin’ bunch - I think even Tim Gunn himself would surely approve, don’t you?

The Daily Routine...

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I really had a blast doing some horn arrangements for the new Charlie Vaughn & The Daily Routine album “The Offshore Crowd”. The stuff I wrote for the title track was unlike almost any horn parts I’ve ever done. Here’s why...

It was supposed to sound like some drunk and bedraggled second-line band walked into a club in New Orleans and started to play along with the house band - and then stumbled out after 32 bars (probably to go to another bar).

Coming up with ways to motivate the guys to play like that made for some pretty good laughs at the session... but you’ll have to trust me on that part because unfortunately it’s nothing I can repeat in polite company.

Another tune I arranged called “My Neighbor” was featured in the hit TV show “How I Met Your Mother”.

You can check out the album on
iTunes and also HERE.

Artists For The Arts Concert

CJH_AFTA_HNS
As we do every year Venice played another sold out Artists For The Arts show in Santa Monica. This years special guests were David Crosby, Richard Page (Mr. Mister), and America. I once again served as one of the Musical Directors and created orchestra & horn section arrangements for several songs performed that night.

This is really one of the most fun gigs we do every year. Even though it’s a ton of work - playing not only as Venice but being the house band for all the artists - it’s just a blast playing those hit songs and raising money for such a good cause.
AFTA 2011


Artists For The Arts has raised over $1,000,000 to fund arts education in the face of devastating budget cuts in California’s public schools. Please support their efforts by checking out their website
HERE.

Rock Of Ages

ROA_Logo
A few years ago my friend Dave Gibbs called me to help produce some demos of 80’s hair band tunes for some theater show or play or something... which didn’t really sound like a good idea at the time but what did I know? Not much, it turns out.

“Rock Of Ages” is now a hit Broadway show and has productions running from Toronto to Australia. I actually played the show for a few weeks on Keyboards but more recently have done some studio production for them when they do TV shows.
Rock_Of_Ages_Leno


I had a blast doing working on both America’s Got Talent as well as their Tonight Show with Jay Leno appearances. One of the most fun sessions was when axeman Joel Hoekstra from Night Ranger came by to fully bring the rock. Even though his first takes were perfect I kept asking for more because it was so insane watching him shredding the crap out of those songs... but please don’t tell him I told you or he’ll be mad.

Learn more about Rock Of Ages
HERE.

Pretty Frickin' Cool...

ChrissyChris
Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders came by to record some stuff for “Paul Schaffer’s Day In Rock”. I mean, what can you say having a legend like that hanging out for an afternoon? Puleeze... It was a pretty quick session but even better than the actual recording was the hang factor - she’s got such legit rock’n’roll cred - and she’s from Ohio as well.

It was also cool hearing about her new project, “J.P., Chrissie, & The Fairground Boys” which is is totally different from anything she’s done before. All in all, one of those days where you really stop and think “Ya know... this is a pretty cool job.”

Ellen Degeneres Show

Ellen
Things were really swingin’ around here when The Ellen Degeneres Show needed an arrangement of "The Most Wonderful Time" for the hugely successful 12 Days of Giveaways segment of the show. Any time I get asked to do a live Big Band project - I’m in! Especially when I don’t have to personally pay for all those musicians... but I digress.

This was a total gas to do and was brought to life with some of L.A.'s best musicians including Milton Nelson, Chris Tedesco, Mark Hollingsworth, Jim McMillen, and Nick Vincent. Dante Marchi did an amazing vocal and Dave Feldstein, Tanya Anton, & Terri Wood did backgrounds. Talley Sherwood mixed the project at TriTone Studios.

*Note to future clients: Soooo, just to be clear... I’ll do the charts for a reasonable price if you pay for all the musicians, cool?
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