I will never forget the summer of 2009, when my unique band, The BSG Orchestra, rocked out on a crowded stage in San Diego during Comic Con, performing my score for Battlestar Galactica, just months after the epic series finale aired. The venue was bursting with my brilliant musicians, many of the cast, crew, writers, producers, and executives, as well as fans from around the world. Together, we experienced a collective euphoria, because we all loved the show with the same intense passion. After the last encore, the crowd erupted into an unprompted chant of “So Say We All,” a moment that remains one of the most magical and memorable of my life. As the house lights came up and the crowd dissipated, I collapsed into a sweat-soaked heap on the couch in the greenroom and realized that, for the first in my life, I had no new cues for the show to write. Battlestar Galactica had been the most significant part of my life for six years, and now, with this concert complete, it was over.
That tour had been the culmination of three years of performances, beginning in 2006 with the release of the Season Two soundtrack album. For that event, I was stunned to see a line out the door as I pulled up to the venue. Beginning with nothing more than my blog entry about the concert, word spread and the fans turned out. That night was the beginning of a yearly tradition. Each year, our concerts became more ambitious, more musicians got involved, the venues got bigger, we added performances, and fans travelled from further.
By 2009, we had entered into discussions for events that would allow the ensemble to perform with orchestras around Europe. Clearly, appetite for BSG music was ravenous, and this put me at a career crossroads. Would I continue to perform the music of BSG every year, touring further and reaching new crowds? Or would I put that time and energy into furthering my career as a composer for narrative? A new life lay ahead, and I simply had to decide what it would be. I had a Dickensian nightmare that summer, in which I stared at my gravestone which read “Here Lies Bear McCreary…. The Guy Who Scored Battlestar Galactica.” My subconscious was not being subtle! I knew it was time to close this chapter of my life and move forward. I doubled down on my scoring career, and aggressively pursued projects outside the science fiction television genre.
Looking back nearly a decade later, I see many careers highs. My only regret is that I did not continue frequent live performances I took for granted the emotional, even spiritual, stability that sharing music on stage provides me. In 2019, after I had two theatrical films in the top ten at the same weekend, I realized I had to return to the stage. I might lose my mind, or my soul, if I didn’t.
In mid-2019, I began work on a series of projects designed for live experiences. I started with an idea to return Battlestar Galactica to the stage. I cracked open the custom concert arrangements I had done each year and realized how distinct they had become. Over the years, each track gradually morphed from being an instrumental cue designed to support narrative to being a song that stood on its own. I realized my favorite version of most tracks was not the recording that had been released on soundtrack albums, but the rock concert arrangement I had crafted. The album versions have been heard by millions, and yet these live versions had only been experienced by a few thousand, over a decade ago. I decided to finally complete the Battlestar Galactica live album I had always dreamed of. With most of the hard drives long lost, I meticulously rebuilt each rock arrangement from scratch and got the band back together in a recording studio to recapture the magic. In early 2020, I rebuilt my website and prepared to launch it with an announcement of exciting new musical works and concerts.
Then… the pandemic happened.
The coronavirus pandemic profoundly affected us all. Even as it unfolded, I strove to reflect on how fortunate my family and I were. My wife and I pulled our daughter out of school, and hunkered down at home, like millions of families around the world. I continued to write from my home studio, while my offices at Sparks & Shadows were cleared out. Perhaps not coincidentally, my career moved forward in unexpected directions – several new videogame and animation projects came to me, even as live action production ground to a halt. I felt overwhelming gratitude during those dark 2020 days for having health, family and creatively inspiring work.
Now, with the pandemic beginning to ebb, I have the emotional capacity to share the work I created over the last couple years, starting with my new website. My website had not been substantially overhauled in well over a decade. I’ve been blogging regularly about my creative and personal life since 2006, but over the last few years, the volume of content had outgrown the structure of the site. As my team and I overhauled the site, I prioritized my blog over all else. I wanted to make it fun to peruse again, and I believe we have achieved this goal. If you’re looking to tumble around the inner workings of my life and my mind, you will find it all here. And I will be updating the blog with increasing frequency as some very cool new projects are unleashed onto the world.
To start this process, the Battlestar Galactica live record that began life over a decade ago is, at long last, complete. I’m thrilled to announce that So Say We All: Battlestar Galactica Live, will be available this Friday from Sparks & Shadows on all streaming platforms, along with limited signed copies available in partnership with La-La Land Records next week. In addition to these newly produced live arrangements, check out your favorite streaming platforms for the long-awaited arrival of my original scores for the first four seasons of the soundtracks!
My new website, and these new recordings of Battlestar Galactica are just the beginning. Emerging from the pandemic, indeed emerging from the life-altering and turbulent years of my late 30’s, I feel that summer 2021 is the start of a new chapter of my life. I have changed profoundly – as an artist, a musician, a man, and a father. My hair is longer, rippling with streaks of white and gray. I’m no longer the baby in the room when I take a meeting. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have channeled everything I’ve learned about myself into my new creative pursuits. This passion and energy will be on display in the work I will be releasing out into the world.
I want to give special thanks to my team at Sparks & Shadows, especially Joe Augustine, my team at Kraft Engel Management, especially Richard Kraft and Laura Engel, to my friends, family and musicians, and to my fans everywhere, to everyone who has followed my art and my career, and supported me as I grow as an artist. I would not be who I am without you.
So Say We All!