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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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I was raised by a novelist, Laura Kalpakian, who instilled in me a deep appreciation of the written word. As a toddler, I would frequently stumble into her office, my footsteps concealed by the relentless cadence of her fingers clacking on the typewriter, and try to get her attention by knocking over one of the many stacks of dusty, hardbound books that formed a labyrinth on her floor. Among those towers of tomes were many editions of the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford was a part of my childhood in even more direct ways. I lived there as a child with my family, when my father was a researcher affiliated with Wolfson College. While we were there, my mom picked up the official Bodleian library board game, which would become a staple of our Sunday evenings for years to come.

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As a I grew up, I quickly realized that musical notes, not words, were my personal favorite form of self-expression. Three decades after living in Oxford, I learned that The Professor and the Madman, the film adaptation of Simon Winchester’s gripping book The Surgeon of Crowthorne, was looking for a composer, and my mom was the first person I called. Breathless with excitement, I struggled to finish my sentences. I felt as if this score were already bursting out of my mind. This week marks the culmination of that journey, as now the film has been released theatrically, and my score album is now available.

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