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Godzilla King of the Monsters

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PROLOGUE

Godzilla has permeated global popular culture for over six decades.  His first cinematic appearance in 1954’s Gojira launched the kaiju film genre, “kaiju,” translating literally to “strange beast.” This summer, he has returned to the big screen in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and I am honored to have composed the score for this next entry in cinema’s longest running franchise. Like many fans in the West, I knew Godzilla through television broadcasts of Japanese films and ubiquitous media culture. However, the film that actually introduced me to Godzilla and Ghidorah was not one of the Toho Co. classics scored by Akira Ifukube, but Peewee’s Big Adventure, a quirky American comedy scored by my childhood hero, Danny Elfman.

Nearly thirty years later, Godzilla would emerge into my life again and once again Danny Elfman’s music was playing. I invited a few friends to join me at the Hollywood Bowl performance of Danny Elfman’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, with Elfman himself on stage singing the songs. One of those friends was Michael Dougherty, with whom I share a mutual love of all things “scifi, fantasy, horror genre.” That night, Michael told me he was writing and directing the new Godzilla film, the sequel to the 2014 film, Godzilla, and I thought Warner Bros. and Legendary could not have picked a better guy to expand their “MonsterVerse” cinematic universe.

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Two years ago, my friend, director Michael Dougherty, invited me to join him as composer for his film, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the sequel to the 2014 Legendary / Warner Bros. film, Godzilla. Instantly, an idea struck me: this film could give me an opportunity to produce a new version of my favorite Blue Öyster Cult song, “Godzilla.” Moreover, I could realize it with some of my favorite musicians from the rock and metal community, including Serj Tankian from System of a Down and the rhythm section of the metal band Dethklok. “I’m in,” I told Michael, setting in motion a creative journey that would change my life in more ways than I could guess.  Now, Godzilla: King of the Monsters has opened globally, supported by not only by a sweeping orchestral score, but an end title sequence blasting the version of BÖC’s “Godzilla” that I imagined during that fateful phone call.

To chronicle this creative venture, I chatted with many of the musicians who brought it to life, including lead singer Serj Tankian, guitarist Brendon Small, bassist Bryan Beller, drummer Gene Hoglan, backing vocalist Brendan McKian, co-producer Jason LaRocca, as well as Buck Dharma, the Blue Öyster Cult rock legend who originally composed it.

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