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Tremendous Tirades: Signature Sounds: The Music of WWE
Posted by Larry Csonka on 03.24.2014



 photo Tirades1_zps5757f2f8.gif

WWE In the spirit of full disclosure, the following DVD set was provided to 411 by WWE for review purposes.
  • The DVD was released on March 18th. It is available through Amazon.com for $6.

  • Runtime is about 80 minutes.

  • Product Description: Signature Sounds: The Music of WWE provides a unique insight into the behind the scenes development of WWE Superstar Music and the role it has in a Superstar’s identity. Music has been integral in WWE history, especially anthems for all the greatest WWE Superstars. Since Sgt. Slaughter first made his entrance to the Marine Corp hymn in the early 80's, music themes have become synonymous with the Superstars themselves. Just hearing the first few notes brings the crowd to their feet. They are the songs that let the WWE Universe know that business is about to pick up. Now, get behind the music and learn the inside story behind the timeless anthems of WWE and the superstars. The DVD features interviews with the man behind the music, Jim Johnston, who composes all WWE music, and these 25 tracks.


  • The DVD will feature Jim Johnston, various wrestlers and musicians discussing Johnston’s top 25 theme songs that are featured.

  • Jim Johnston discusses the success of WWE Theme Music CDs.
    Here is the Countdown…


    #25 - Batista - I Walk Alone: Footage of Josey Scott of Saliva meeting with Johnston is shown as they were preparing to record Batista’s music, which turns to Johnston showing where the song originated. Archival footage of Batista from 2006 is shown, discussing how he loved the music. Johnston said this was one of he easiest song he produced, and went perfectly.

    #24 - Fandango - ChaChaLaLa: We get clips of Fandango’s entrances and the audience singing along. Johnston was thinking “Cha Cha” and Dancing with the Stars for the music. Fandango says “ChaChaLaLa” is a way of life for him, and we see footage of the “Fandangoing” craze. Johnston did not in fact admit that the song was a rip off/inspired from the I Dream of Jeannie theme. Come on man…

    #23 - Sunny - I Know you Want Me: Sunny says she always wanted to be remembered as the one that revolutionized how women in WWE were perceived. I approve of all of this archival footage of Sunny. Johnston said he wanted it to be a sexual theme, but knew he couldn’t get crude or cross the line. The “I Know You Want Me” was the hook the song needed.

    #22 - Primetime Players - Making Moves: I have nothing against the Primetime Players, but you’re telling that this really cool enough to make the DVD? Also, seeing the good times where Titus and Darren were friends is tough. Leave the memories alone. Johnston does discuss the difficulty of working with rap artists, since they do not like to recite pre-written lyrics, so he writs what he wants included and allows the rap artists to put it in their own flow.

    #21 - Goldust - GoldLust: Goldust says the first time he heard the theme was magical. He says the theme still works today just like it did day one. The music and entrance together are a powerful combination. No comments from Johnston on this one, which sucks because I wanted more behind the scenes details on the theme and its creation.

    #20 - Brodus Clay - Somebody Call My Momma: Same thing for me here as with the Primetime Players music. Johnston says he spoke with Clay, who is a much different person than you’d think. He’s had a rough life, but overcame, and switching from the monster to the fun character was a risk but worked. He says the theme was “Kool and the Gang” inspired. Johnston plays some funk on the guitar to show us where the original tune came from. Cameron and Naomi discuss how fun the tune is.

    #19 - Ultimate Warrior - Unstable: LISTEN TO ME WARRIORS. Seriously, love the Warrior or hate him, that theme is some iconic, instantly recognizable shit. Should be higher I think. Johnston discusses how energetic the Warrior was and that the music had to fit him.

    #18 - Mankind - Ode to Freud: Johnston said he liked the Mankind character because it made you think. The music was sad and tragic, but yet disturbing, like the Mankind character. He then discusses the music changing in the middle to the pretty part that you don’t get to hear all that often, which he felt went along well with the many levels of the character. Johnston discusses that Mankind was the first to have different entrance and exit music. Foley comments on his he loved that, and Johnston said that the pretty theme at the end was almost a release of the character that was tortured and then was happy that he did his destruction. Foley also comments on the Due Love theme song, also written by Johnston.

    #17 - Brood - Blood: Everyone seems to LOVE the Brood entrance, anytime they are discussed, people always talk about that entrance. Christian says that people still ask him about the music to this day. Edge says it was one of the coolest tunes Johnston did. Johnston recorded all of the guitar tracks, and then went back in postproduction; altered frequencies to get the bending feel the tune has. Christian said he would listen to the music as he packed for the road. Edge adds that the New Jersey Devils used the Brood music to come onto the ice.

    #16 - Randy Orton - Voices: Orton discusses the feeling he gets when he theme music hits, which is an instant adrenaline rush. Johnston never intended for the song to be a rock tune, as he wrote it on acoustic guitar. Rev Theory says hey are thrilled to be a part of Orton’s song. There are over 20 million hits on Youtube for the song.

    #15 - Dusty Rhodes - Common Man Boogie: IF YOU WILL! I love this theme, if one great thing came out of the Dusty Rhodes WWE run it is this song. Rhodes praises Jimmy Hart for his work over the years on various themes, and says that Hart explained that the song perfectly represented Dusty Rhodes. Dusty even sings along, proving his love of the song. No comments from Jimmy Hart or Jim Johnston.

    #14 - Shane McMahon - Here Comes the Money: Not going to lie, I LOVED Shane’s music. Johnston explains that Shane is nice and down to earth, but has a certain bravado about him, and the music was perfect for him. Johnston says the song was about Vince no longer “being the money” and that Shane was here. No comments from Shane, even via archival footage.

    #13 - RVD - One of a Kind: RVD (from 2002) says that the song was appropriate for him, as it complimented him perfectly. Johnston says the song is very different from most rock tunes as there is no straight beat, but instead a shuffle beat to it (changing times and such). Breaking Point explains how they got the tune, wrote it made it into a metal tune.

    #12 - Mr. Perfect - Perfection: Here is another classic and favorite. The first thing that pops into my head is the Mr. Perfect sporting vignettes. They show some of those, well done WWE. Johnston says that the tune is unison and simple, but powerful. He says it feels like a celebration of a God, and Hennig played it perfectly.

    #11 - Mr. McMahon - No Chance in Hell: Vince says that music transcends, and makes performers. He says people want to now which is the real Vince, the one on TV or the one out side, and it is somewhere in the middle. Johnston says that this is Vince; the song is how Vince carries himself. The Vince theme is longstanding and instantly noticeable, I would have thought it would have been much higher. It is perfect for Vince. Vince then says he wonders what is the real Vince; he’s just not sure which one is more real.

    #10 - Trish Stratus - Time to Rock and Roll: Trish (from 2002) discusses loving her music. Johnston says that Trish had met up with Lil Kim, they became friends, and she got involved with the music. Johnston discusses Kim’s stiletto heels, and the fact that they were spiked and marked up the cherry floor in the studio.

    #9 - Rey Mysterio - 619 Booyaka: Booyaka, Booyaka! Johnston said that he had written Rey’s initial tune, but Rey had known the guys from P.O.D., and it led to the creation of “619 Booyaka”. Johnston says they took his original tune they were using, changed it up, and then made it even better to represent Rey, his heritage and of course, the 619.

    #8 - Stone Cold Steve Austin - I Wont Do What You Tell Me: Austin says that from when the glass broke and then onward, it was electric. Johnston admits that the glass breaking is not one glass break sound; it is three different ones, with an explosion and car crash mixed in to get just the right sound they wanted. Johnston plays some of the original riff on his guitar, and explains how the song was driving, but fit Austin’s pace and walk. He said Austin always came out with such purpose, and that the music had to match.

    #7 - The Rock - Electrifying: Johnston said that Rock’s music was tough, he is cross-cultural and that makes him different. Rock and Roll didn’t work, orchestral didn’t work, but when he came up with that basic baseline that is the highlight of Rock’s music, the rest came naturally from there. Johnston says again that the simplest things seem to work and become memorable. Johnston discusses the differences to the theme over the years, due to either updating or face/heel changes, to help accentuate the character change. He notes that the bass always remains the same, which is the most important thing. Rock says that the music always drove him and electrified him when he made his way to the ring.

    #6 - Shawn Michaels - Sexy Boy: Johnston notes that Jimmy Hart and JJ MacGuire wrote the tune, and HBK sang it. Johnston notes that it was very unusual. Shawn Michaels (2002) says he can’t dance, and certainly cannot sing. He admits to studio help to make him sound acceptable. Johnston says the basic tune is simple, which again he feels works best. Shawn says the song is memorable for not just fans, but for himself as well.

    #5 - Undertaker - Rest in Peace: Johnston explains that the Taker’s music was supposed to be mournful, since he is supposed to be dead. He plays some of the original tune on the piano, which is cool to hear the origin and then what it became. We see clips of Taker’s entrances over the ears and that is it. Seriously that is it for one of WWE’s most iconic tunes, no discussion like Rock’s as to how it changed over the years or anything like that.

    #4 - Triple H - The Game: Johnston says Triple H has been around for so long, and discusses the Harpsichord music for his first run as Hunter Hearst Hemsley, and then the My Time music. Triple H (from present and 2002) discusses Motorhead doing his theme, which he loved. Johnston plays some of the original guitar riff, and says it was exciting for Motorhead to record the music. Johnston says they then did the Evolution and King of Kings music, noting that they have a great relationship with Motorhead.

    #3 - John Cena - The Time is Now: Johnston discusses Cena working with DJ Chaos on his music. He says the fans embraced the music and bought it. Johnston says that he cannot remember lyrics he wrote 15-minutes ago some days, so for rappers to do what they do on songs like this is impressive. That segment was also really short.

    #2 - Chris Jericho - Break Down the Walls: Johnston wrote the song prior to the idea of the countdown, which was then added into the intro. We get video of Jericho’s debut on Raw. Jericho admits to not really knowing the lyrics are. Johnston says he got the idea from an old Clark Gable film. Jericho said that the music was supposed to be cutting edge and have attitude, and feels it was perfect.

    #1 - D-Generation X - Are You Ready? : Johnston discusses that the basis for the DX theme is actually funk (and plays it), and then turned into rock when they produced it. Road Dogg says that the great entrance can be just the performer, but when the music matches, it is memorable. For that being number 1, they only spent about 2-minutes discussing it.

  • Johnston discusses that the music created is instantly connected to the characters, which was vital in creating identities.



    EXTRAS
    Shawn Michaels - Tell Me A Lie: Johnston says that the song was not written for WWE or HBK. HBK was leaving and they needed a song about that. He had written the song when his mom was dying, and he thought that they could use the song for the segment and it was used. He plays the melody on the piano. The sing is about telling the lie that you’re really not going. He says it worked because people were so emotionally invested in HBK. HBK says it worked, because they tapped into the vulnerability of the character. Johnston says if he had written a song especially for that angle it wouldn’t have worked as well.

    Val Venis - Hello Ladies: Johnston says that Val’s character was cool, and he knew he had to have a saxophone in the song for it to be cheesy but good. He was writing for an adult star, but couldn’t be too obvious about it. He was happy to pull it off and loves the theme and how Val played into it.

    Hakushi - Angel: Johnston says “Angel” was an orchestral piece he wrote for no reason following that he got a great sample of a choral library to use. When he played the keyboard, it was like playing a chorus. He had wanted to use the music and wanted to use it on a character the opposite of Taker. Hakushi eventually was the guy, and he felt it worked well.

    Billy Gunn - Ass Man: Gunn aid he loved the music, and it was perfect for the time. He discusses the lyrics, saying anything you can do with an ass is in there and he loves it. Johnston says Gunn made the music work.

    Maria - Legs Like That: Johnston says he wrote the song for his wife originally. The song was recorded by Zebrahead, and he loved the finished product.

    William Regal - He's a Man: HE’s A MAN! SUCH A MAN! Regal says that the music worked because it was catchy, and it gets remembered and was only around for 4 or 5 weeks. Johnston says that if you’re willing to be dumb and embarrass yourself there is a payoff. He got 5 opera guys and recorded the song. Regal says he will be remembered for this, and when he is dead, they will play the music and it will be funny because he doesn’t take himself seriously

    The Making of GoldLust: Johnston says when you are not doing rock or piano, it is usually orchestral. He walks us through how he started off the song, and then used orchestral samples to mix in the parts he wanted and then added the backbeat. He then mixes it together and presto, GoldLust was born. Johnston says putting together a piece like this is like putting together a puzzle. The DVD needed more cool stuff like this.

    The Music of WWE Studios: Finally Johnston discusses moving onto doing music for movies, which is very stressful. He thanks Vince for the confidence he had in him by asking him to do music for some of these movies. Apparently Vince was not happy with the music for Legendary, and gave it to Johnston with less than two weeks to finish it. It was a great experience, and loves writing for orchestras. He did scores for five WWE studios movies, and it is cool to see them on cable to see his work elsewhere.


    Have you checked out the Csonka Podcasting Network? If you haven't, you should We run anywhere from 15-20 shows a month, discussing pro wrestling, the world of MMA, the NBA, general sports, popular TV series of the past, bad movies, battle rap, interviews, MMA & Wrestling conference calls and more! Around 10 different personalities take part in the various shows, which all have a different feel; so you'll likely find something you like. All of the broadcasts are free, so go ahead and give a show a try and share the link with your friends on the Twitter Machine and other social media outlets! Running since May of 2011, there are currently over 500 shows in the archive for you to listen to.

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    Larry Csonka is a Pisces and enjoys rolling at jiu jitsu class with Hotty McBrownbelt, cooking, long walks on the beach, Slingo and the occasional trip to Jack in the Box. He is married to a soulless ginger and has two beautiful daughters who are thankfully not soulless gingers; and is legally allowed to marry people in 35 states. He has been a wrestling fan since 1982 and has been writing for 411 since May 24th, 2004; contributing over 3,000 columns, TV reports and video reviews to the site.


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    The 411: The DVD is a 50-minute documentary and essentially tribute to Jim Johnston and the work he has done for WWE. Some may think that it is a joke, but the man deserves it. The man made many of the songs that we grew up on, and made wrestling memorable in his own way. The DVD features the various WWE stars and musical acts involved, but comes off as a bit dull, rushed and going through the motions, and that includes Johnston himself. They start a tune; they talk for 2-3 minutes and then quickly move on with little resolution to their point. It is short, and while we get discussion of the songs, I never felt as if we got anything really that special or intriguing regarding the creation of the music and or any cool stories fro behind the scenes. Also most of the footage of Johnston and the stars is archival, which makes it feel like a thrown together best of tape at times. Add on top of that the fact that I feel the DVD is made for a limited audience, and I feel that it is overall lacking. I say that as a musician, and someone that this DVD is obviously designed for (lover of music and wrestling). If this was a one-hour WWE Network show it would have been worth the time, but as it stands it could have been much more. Take a pass on this one.
     
    Final Score:  5.5   [ Not So Good ]  legend





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